Sometimes it seems all I ever talk about is cupcakes. As Philly’s unofficial “King of Desserts,” I have to ensure that no cupcake goes untasted in our busy Philly market. Someone this weekend actually walked by me, pointed and said, “Hey, there’s the cupcake guy!” While I do love (L.O.V.E.) my cupcakes, I have a lesser known but life-time long sweet tooth for all things ice cream. (In fact, in between cupcake feedings, I can often be found lurking at PYT, Franklin Square’s Square Burger and Bobby’s Burger Place slurping down alcoholic and non-alcoholic shake concoctions filled with Tastykakes, birthday cake, candy bars, real pistachios and graham cracker. Needless to say, when I therefore heard that this Shake Shack place from NYC was moving to Philly I was excited! I heard only good things about them – and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on one of their cool treats.
Finally, it’s opening day and a new shack is in town! With loud buzz and much fan fair, Shake Shack opened its doors today with it’s delicious menu of burgers, hot dogs, fries, shakes, custard and “Concretes.” They even have specially made dog treats. I was fortunate enough to attend two previews – and here’s my full report!
When I first entered Shake Shack I was first power greeted by the super friendly hostess right at the door. She was joined by a team that would then welcome me, find out if I had any questions, provide recommendations and move me in and out of the line in a timely manner. (Sometimes that is no small feat as I can dilly dally!) The crew’s high spirits, hand shaking and enthusiastic voice set the tone for what would be a fun experience. As I worked my way towards the menu I was greeted by delicious but much smaller menu than I expected. Apparently, the menu is not enormous but what they do, they do well! After great inspection, I placed my order with the super friendly and helpful cashier. She provided me with a buzzer and directed me to the back of the restaurant. Then I waited, for what seemed like an eternity. It wasn’t in fact more than 10 minutes, but I was so hungry and so excited I nearly burst from my chair and ran track-style down the corridor to pick up my first tray of treats. (No, seriously!)
From first glance, they didn’t look like anything out of the ordinary. Then I tasted then and realized why Shake Shack had such a magic hold on New York City. The stand-outs in the bunch are the Liberty Shell Concrete, the Shack-cago Dog and the Caramel Shake. The Liberty Shell Concrete was a blend of vanilla custard with strawberry pure, lemon ricotta and Termini Bros. cannoli shells. The shells added a nice crispness to the blend — and the lemon ricotta mingled with the custard was something dreams are made of. The Shack-cago far exceeded my expectations! In fact, it actually took my prize for best item on the menu — which is a lot coming from someone who doesn’t often order hot dogs. What made it so special? It was topped with everything I love: Rick’s Picks Shack relish, short pepper, celery salt, mustard, onion and pickle all literally. It even had a cucumber on it, which provided some interesting texture against the dog itself.
Additionally, I enjoyed the fries, cheese sauce, Black and White milkshake and the Fair Shake. The ShackBurger was delicious, but the overly pink center ruined the tasty toppings for me. (Crew reported that all burgers are cooked medium, so make sure to ask for it medium well or well if you don’t want the pink.) I definitely would order it again with special instructions next time. The Center City Pretzel was probably my least favorite item. It was super sweet but none of the flavors stood out. This could have been due to all the Marshmallow sauce. While it wasn’t on my list to order again, I could see how someone who loved caramel and banana would be a fan!
While I ate my meal and took photos, the staff surprised me yet again with a small touch that went a long way! My cashier came out from behind the counter and addressed me by name. She wanted to know about my favorite item and how my experience was. I later learned that the cashiers are actually trained to remember customers names and connect with them again during their visit. Due to the high volume in the Shack, it was amazing to think they can juggle this on top of providing great food in a timely manner. Bravo to her and the whole team!
Overall, my experience was a good one! I definitely will be dreaming of Liberty Shell Custards and Shack-Cago dogs this week. I might even need to stop for another on my lunch break. If you go to Shake Shack opening week, tell me what your favorite item was and how your experience was. I would love to hear..
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- It’s Official: Shake Shack To Open Next Wednesday, June 6; Take A Sneak Peek At The Opening Menu (uwishunu.com)
- Shift Design creates living wall for Philly’s Shake Shack (ecofriend.com)
- Shake Shack, known for its frozen custard, plans to open first Massachusetts shop in Chestnut Hill (boston.com)
- New York’s Shake Shack coming to Mass. (bizjournals.com)