Chicago Gets a Shake Shack!

November 17, 2014

The day has finally come and Chicago's very own Shake Shack is officially open! Shake Shack, which dubs itself as "a modern day roadside burger stand,"first opened in NYC's Madison Square Park in 2004 and has since expanded along the East Coast, Florida, and also has several international locations. Shake Shack is known for its beef burgers, hot dogs, housemade frozen custard, and crinkle cut fries, all of which have earned it a cult following.

The Chicago outpost recently opened in River North at the corner of Ohio and Rush. I stopped by with the BF for a hearty lunch during opening week. The lines are long. There's no doubt about that. But they are worth waiting in and move quickly!

Part of the Line Inside
While Shake Shack technically serves up fast food, the ambiance is no indication of that. The interior walls are covered in reclaimed local brown bar board, and booth tabletops are made from reclaimed bowling alley lanes from Brooklyn, NY. Shake Shack Chicago also features interactive sliding puzzles, and posters designed by local Chicago artists.

Seating in the Dining Room
We wanted to try a little of everything on the menu, so we ordered two burgers, a hot dog, fries, and a concrete...just a little light lunch for two. The BF tried the original ShackBurger, a cheesebuger topped with lettuce, tomato and ShackSauce. ShackSauce is their signature mayo-based sauce that's a little sweet and a little tangy. I liked it and thought it added a nice little zip!

After reading several raves of the SmokeShack Burger, I knew I had to try it. The SmokeShack Burger is a burger topped with applewood smoked bacon, chopped cherry pepper, and ShackSauce. The peppers had just the right amount of heat and acidity to cut away at the gooey richness of the cheese, beef, and bacon. It was so damn tasty!

Burgers are served medium but can be customized and come in single or double options. I was a big fan of the size of the burger (not too big) and the soft pillow-like buns. I was expecting the burgers to be on the greasy side, but I was pleasantly surprised they weren't overly greasy.

SmokeShack Burger
Next, we tried the Publican Pork Sausage, a collaboration between ShakeShack and Chicago's very own The Publican. The pork sausage is topped with Shack cheddar and American cheese sauce, and ShackMeister-marinated shallots. ShackMeister Ale is brewed exclusive for Shake Shack by Brooklyn Brewery! I LOVED the fried shallots because you could really taste the ale! I don't think I'd normally order a hot dog at Shake Shack, but I'm so glad we tried this! I'd definitely recommend it.
Publican Pork Sausage
We also ordered some crinkle cut fries which I had heard mixed reviews about. I actually thought they were well seasoned and nicely crispy on the outside without being too dry on the inside. My only regret? Not getting some of that cheddar and American cheese sauce on top!

Crinkle Cut Fries
No trip to Shake Shack is complete without a shake, or custard dessert. Shake Shack makes its own frozen custard in house, and flavors change weekly. The Chicago location serves three concretes (custard blended with mix-ins) that you can only get in Chicago. Shack Attack features chocolate custard, fudge sauce, chocolate truffle cookie dough and Vosges black salt caramel chocolate, and is topped with chocolate sprinkles. Da S’mores includes vanilla and chocolate custard with a slice of Bang Bang Pie s’mores pie. And last but not least, Salted Carame‘L’ includes vanilla custard, banana and bits of Glazed & Infused salted caramel old fashioned doughnut. We tried the Salted Carame'L' and I was a HUGE fan of the creamy custard. It was dense and creamy and just all around delicious. The concretes come in a perfect size, but my only complaint is the lack of mix-ins. I think I counted three tiny bits of doughnut, and two banana pieces. 

Salted Carame'L' Concrete
All in all, Shake Shack lived up to the hype in my opinion. They have a wide variety of options, including Chicago exclusives, and the quality and ingredients are on point. Welcome to the neighborhood Shake Shack!

Note: my meal at Shack Shack was complimentary; however, the opinions expressed herein are my own.

Shake Shack
66 E. Ohio St.
Chicago, IL 60611
Shake Shack on Urbanspoon

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