There may be a rivalry between New York and Chicago, but it clearly doesn’t extend to burgers. Popular New York-based fast-food chain Shake Shack confirmed its expansion into the Windy City in May, and the hype behind it finally came to a head on Nov. 4 as hundreds of hungry Chicagoans flocked to the corner of Rush and Ohio for the store’s grand opening.
I arrived for lunch at precisely 12:12 pm, only to see a line stretched all the way down the block. However, the hour-and-a-half wait (all in the name of journalism) was well worth it. The restaurant itself gave off a pleasant vibe, with a modern wooden interior, warm lighting and upbeat music. And the food, of course, was stellar.
I ordered the ShackBurger: an all-natural Angus beef cheeseburger topped with lettuce, tomato and the restaurant’s signature ShackSauce. It was definitely simple, but absolutely delicious, with a fluffy bun and juicy, flavorful meat. I was deeply saddened once it was completely devoured — the true sign of a good meal.
An order of crinkle-cut fries, made with Yukon potatoes, was the perfect complement to my burger. (What is it that makes crinkle-cut fries so good? The larger surface area perhaps?) Although I ordered the cheese fries, I would recommend the regular option, as I found the cheddar and American cheese sauce somewhat disappointing.
The Shake Shack menu boasts several other enticing options. Serious meat-lovers can indulge in the SmokeShack, a cheeseburger with applewood-smoked bacon, while the cheese-filled portobello ‘ShroomBurger is tempting for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. Not in the mood for a burger? Try the Publican Pork Sausage, a Chicago exclusive made with meat sourced from Publican Quality Meats.
Dessert is a must at Shake Shack, and visitors can choose which creamy hand-spun milkshake flavor suits them. There are also three special concretes featuring ingredients from local businesses: the Salted Carame’L’, with a salted caramel doughnut from Glazed & Infused; Da S’mores, with a slice of s’mores pie from Bang Bang Pie Shop; and the Shack Attack, with Vosges black salt caramel chocolate.
The buzz behind Shake Shack is well deserved, and with nothing on the menu over $10, it’s a great place for college students to grab a bite. Head over once lines die down, or brave the windy wait now (for your stomach’s sake).
Location: 66 E. Ohio St., Chicago, IL 60611
Hours of Operation: Mon-Sun 11am-11pm
Looking for other great burger joints? Check these places out: