Restaurant Review: Shake Shack vs. Burger Joint

Shake Shack and Burger Joint have a lot in common. They’re NYC burgers with cult followings made in bulk and served to hundreds. Their logos even look sort of similar (I mean, I guess there’s only so many versions of a burger one can make).

Burger joint

These are the two arguably most famous “fast-food” burgers in New York City and the time has come for everyone to know the truth! So I made a pro and con list, but be sure to read the follow up.

Burger Joint:

Pro: Better Fries
Pro: Cooler atmosphere
Pro: Less of a chain (only two locations)
Pro: Going is an “experience” that is beyond the burger
Pro: Meat is cooked correctly
Pro: more toppings

Con: Iceberg lettuce (ick)
Con: the burger overall is just not as good for me
Con: abrasive, sometimes slow service (but part of the experience!)

Shake Shack:

Pro: Better tasting burger
Pro: New and interesting custard flavors
Pro: efficient service

Con: Crowded non-memorable interior
Con: Mediocre fries (put cheese on them to make them better)
Con: Tomato is so perfect it looks fake, like it was injected with hormones (this weirds me out)

Draw: Long Lines
Draw: equally overpriced for a burger
Draw: both serve shakes
Draw: both burgers taste considerably worse if not just made

So Overall, it’s a tough call. Basically if you want an experience Burger Joint is the one (read on for details why). And if you just want a good burger for take out, go Shake Shack.

Burger Joint
Cuisine: American, Burgers
Address: Le Parker Meridien, 119 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

The Burger Joint. Ok so. This inside a hotel. A nice hotel. Behind a red curtain. With that big light up burger pointing your way. You just have to find it. It’s a not so secret secret. It’s like this:

The Lobby of Le Parker Meridien

You walk into this luxurious lobby. You find the slit behind a big red curtain and walk into a dark alleyway only to see a neon burger lit up. And a line. You get in said line. You end up…..

This is inside the Burger Joint.

Here. Inside the above. Which is Burger Joint. A divey crap hole with paper lanterns and old movie posters on the wall. It’s hard to get a seat, you have to wait in line (this is exactly the same at shake shack) but you’re in a fucking cool little secret spot. For this reason, going to the Burger Joint for a sit down experience is worth it. Also make sure you order correctly because they don’t like to wait around for you.

Cheeseburger, medium, the works (this means all the toppings). That is the format.
cheese or no – how do you want it cooked – what do you want on top.

This gimmick is similar to Blimpy Burger in Ann Arbor, my favorite and forever best burger spot in the world, except this one is a more simple ordering process. Which thank god, because watching French people try to order is painful.

Shake Shack
Cuisine: American, Burgers, Custard
Address: There’s like 9. Look it up here

This is the inside of a Shake Shack

That is the inside of a Shake Shack. I don’t know which one, but it doesn’t matter because they all look the same. They are all industrial and crowded. They want to serve you your burger with their little pager that will tell you when it’s ready on a metal tray and you will go get it and then struggle to find a spot to sit (again this is similar at Burger Joint only there’s no buzzer just an angry lady yelling your name). But their burger is really delicious in a greasy, maybe you won’t feel great after, sort of way. It’s good. I say go with the Classic Shack Burger and skip the fries, get the special custard or if you have room a concrete. But seriously, don’t try to eat it there. Take it home, take it anywhere, take it to a stoop outside if it’s nice out, just make sure it’s close so you can still eat the burger while it’s warm and your ice cream doesn’t melt.


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