In a city that boasts some 24,000 restaurants—serving everything from “world famous” pizza to “world famous” bagels to “world famous” cheesecake, ad infinitum—it’s worth noting that one of New York’s most enduring exports began as a modest hamburger joint in the Flatiron District. Since launching in 2004, Shake Shack—today one of the undisputable champions of American fast-food—has remained a point of pride for New Yorkers, famous for its long, snaking lines through Madison Square Park, and revered for its cult-like status among burger fanatics.
Over the years, the company’s founder, Danny Meyer, has opened 100 Shake Shack locations worldwide, setting up camp in countries throughout Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. And while the chain’s rapid expansion has often meant new, regional menu items (Los Angeles’ French dip-inspired Roadside Double, Austin’s jalapeño sausage-stuffed Lockhart Link, and Boston’s mortadella-topped Coppa Burger), New Yorkers are still willing to brave the crowds for its classic, crinkle-cut fries and indomitable ShackBurger.
The restaurant’s prominence has often been a topic of heated debate when it comes to burger supremacy, however, with fans most commonly pitting the chain against California’s In-N-Out Burger whenever West Coast-ers fly into town. But to truly examine what makes Shake Shack tick, one must carefully dissect the chain’s own standard, Manhattan menu, holding a magnifying glass up to each of the restaurant’s menu items.
While we could argue the merits and faults of the ShackBurger and the In-N-Out Double-Double all day, what’s more interesting is how Shake Shack’s ‘Shroom Burger stacks up against its Chick’n Shack. Sure, the fries are great, but are they better with or without cheese? Is a single ShackBurger enough, or should you make it a double? After much deliberation, First We Feast set out to answer these questions, and more, in a definitive ranking of the greatest Shake Shack menu items.