Thursday, February 25, 2016

Shacking Up In Las Vegas

Shake Shack
3790 South Las Vegas Blvd. 
Las Vegas, NV 89109

It's funny that whenever a burger concept moves west, it immediately makes people want to compare the invading concept to In-N-Out. People act like it's blasphemy that any burger concept could be better than In-N-Out. They are so protective over this iconic California chain, it borders on the insane. People are somehow offended that another burger concept has the gall to move into In-N-Out's turf.

You can count me as one of the people that doesn't get the fascination with In-N-Out. As a native Californian, maybe I have taken it for granted, but I find In-N-Out kind of plain and boring. Yes, they use fresh ingredients, but that's not enough for me. Their patties are under-seasoned and way too thin, they are way too limited with their menu, and their fries are not very good, unless you ask for them to be well done, then they are edible. So, I guess you can say that I get pretty excited when a new burger spot comes closer to the left coast. We were visiting Las Vegas for the first time in two and a half years, and it's been five years since we have last experienced New York's famous Shake Shack, so a visit was definitely in order.

For the three of you out there that are not aware, Shake Shack is a legendary burger chain, which started in New York City's Madison Square Park as a food cart. They eventually grew out of that cart, and opened a stand in the park. With lines reaching upwards of an hour or more, the owners eventually decided to expand throughout NYC, and finally to other parts of the globe. They now have restaurants in 12 states and five countries. For Southern California burger fans, the good news is our Shake Shack drought is about to come to an end. They have announced three locations so far, Glendale, Downtown LA, and West Hollywood, which should be open in the spring of this year, so the wait is almost over.

Back to this Las Vegas Shake Shack though. We had just got to town, and after eating a big dinner in Barstow, checking into the hotel, and quickly losing $20 in a slot machine, neither Katie nor I was too hungry, but we definitely had to squash our Shake Shack fix. I kind of had a rough outline of where we were going to be eating on this trip, and I knew this would probably be the only time we'd be by this way, so it was basically now or never. Shake Shack is appropriately located in front of the New York, New York Hotel on the Vegas strip. Be warned that there's no access from the hotel, so you do have to enter from the outside.

Even at 11pm, the restaurant was pretty packed. Judging by the way they have their line set up, I can imagine that this place gets pretty packed for peak meal times. Ordering is done at the counter and then you are given a pager and pickup the meal when it's flashing. The menu here is of course burger driven, but there's also one chicken sandwich to choose from, along with hot dogs and their famous frozen custard, which they will make into a cup, cone, shake, or concrete for you. Unfortunately I don't do good with dairy this late at night, (when did I get so old?), so I would have to settle for just a burger and fries. Let's see if this would be the same experience we had when we ate Shake Shack in NYC.

Up first is the burger. They have five different burgers to choose from, but I was no doubt going to have this Double Smoke Shack ($9.64), which I hoped would help me sleep once we got back to our hotel. This burger was great. The potato bun was soft, but still held the contents of the burger together. The all natural Angus beef was juicy, tasted fresh, and was seasoned subtly, allowing the cheese, chopped cherry peppers, Shack Sauce and bacon to shine. The insides of the burger really melded well together. If I had to complain about one thing, it would be that I needed a little more sauce on my burger, but I'm always partial to having extra condiments included on burgers. The burger was not overly huge and I had no problem finishing it. Very satisfying.

Crinkle Cut Fries ($2.99) were up next, and these are made with Yukon potatoes. They brought to mind the old Carl's Jr. fries from when I was a kid. I don't know what it is, but I always enjoy crinkle cut fries better than others. These were fried crisp, and lightly salted. Next time I'm going to be trying their cheese fries.

When I was leaving Shake Shack I was a little sad that I did not get one of their frozen custard treats. I should have bit the bullet and had one, but I wimped out. I did have a little solace that they would be moving into Southern California soon, so I could have one whenever I wanted to head to LA. The burgers here are good, and in my opinion way better than In-N-Out. Yes, you people that are loyal to In-N-Out will knock Shake Shack, and say that it's not as good as your beloved burger chain, but I really enjoyed this burger. To all of you In-N-Out fans out there, don't  feel threatened by a new burger spot opening up. In fact, stay true to your burger passion, it'll be less of a line for the rest of us when Shake Shack finally opens.

Out of five flatirons, (because Shake Shack started in Madison Square Park, and the famous Flatiron Building overlooks the park), five being best to zero being worst, Shake Shack gets 3.5 flatirons.

For more information about Shake Shack Las Vegas, head to their website here:

Shake Shack Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato  


  1. the cheese fries are DEFINITELY the best thing they have here, and the chicken sandwich is actually really good. Didn't know they were coming to SoCal, so I am excited to learn they are! Can't wait to get my hands on another burger soon!

  2. Adventure Seeker - Thanks so much for reading the blog. I'll definitely give the cheese fries a try, and my wife will probably try the chicken sandwich. I don't think I can come here and not get a burger.

  3. This is my least favorite post on this site. Sorry but I still love you

    In N Out is great in its simplicity. It's just a simple burger yet they seem to make it taste delicious. They don't need to doll it up with bacon or avocado. It's great especially for the price

    The price point is why this review is rather unfair. Give me a 3 buck double double over a 10 dollar Shake Shack burger any day. I can't afford a 10 dollar freaking burger on a consistent basis. The Shake Shack burger may taste better than In N Out but its at 3 times the cost! You can't compare In N Out with a Shake Shack or a Slaters 50/50. Those are 3 times the cost of an In N Out burger. You compare it to the burgers that cost about the same. That's why it's so popular: great taste at a great price.

    BTW, aren't Shake Shack fries frozen?

    I thoroughly disagree with this and my In N Out brethren are going to riot at your door!!!

    But I still <3 you ;)

    - TQT

  4. TQT - I feel the love! I knew there would be some backlash from this post. The In-n-Out army did not let me down.

    I guess we're going to have to agree to disagree. My main complaint with In-N-Out is that their menu is too limited, and I'd like some other options. I'd gladly pay an extra dollar or two to have the option to have bacon or avocado. If this was the only burger chain around, I'd definitely become bored with their limited menu.

    I'm basing my opinion of these two burgers on the taste, not how much they cost. I'm definitely willing to pay the extra money to have a burger which I feel is seasoned better, and offers more options than just grilled onions and extra pickles. Three times better than a double double? I'd say yes, but that's just my opinion.

    Comparisons to In-N-Out are always going to exist, because people are so passionate about this place. Maybe it reminds them of their childhood, or they like not having too much too think about when it comes to what to include on their burgers. I don't get it, and I don't think I ever will.

    As for the fries, if they are frozen, they are way better than In-N-Out's version, which are limp, and do not hold up well at all. That's probably why most people will only eat them animal style, or well done.

    I'm looking forward to you rioting at my door, but I have put up a Shake Shack sign on it, so that should keep most of you away.

    Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, and reading the blog. I really appreciate it, and I promise I'll keep the anti-In-N-Out remarks to a minimum for awhile. Can we at least agree that Chipotle is awful?

    I love you too!