Awake Shack 2007 (by Slice)

Awake Shack 2007 (by Slice)I don't just talk the talk when I say "Take a chill pill—it's just burgers, people!" Check me out at left here. That's a Chicago Bird Dog. I hit the Shake Shack reopening today and didn't even eat a burger there. I walk the walk, suckas.

Actually, as I've said on AHT before, I gave up red meat for Lent. So damn if I can't have a Shackburger—until Sunday, when, as I understand it, the regular Lenten rules rest for the day. (This masochistic self-deprivation may explain my earlier-than-usual onset of Shacklash this year.)

Anyway, the rest of the Serious Eats crew dug in to the salty-crusted meaty goodness. And speaking of the salty-crusted meaty goodness, if you couldn't taste it, you could certainly smell it a good 20 feet or so from the order windows. It was tempting, indeed.

Awake Shack 2007 (by Slice)The new technology that Eater first reported on, the little vibrating pagers (right), worked like a charm. As I told Gothamist earlier today, "I think the new tech things are great. They'll go a long way to alleviating the pile-up around the pick-up window. And, instead of waiting to hear your name—while secretly worrying that someone will identity-thieve your order—you now have a secure wireless burger-notification system. Bravo!"

Awake Shack 2007 (by Slice)Plus, the magic wands allowed the Serious Eats crew the luxury of staking out a table and relaxing with some chit-chat while we waited. While I posed with the burger-pager (right), Richard Coraine (to my right in the photo), partner and COO of Union Square Hospitality Group (the Shack's parent company), approached Ed and the two started talkin' burgers, fries, and dogs.

Awake Shack 2007 (by Slice)Some nuggets from today's sojourn:

  • Coraine says the folks at USHG tried 32 kinds of frozen french fries before they settled on those now being served

  • The Shack gave out chocolate custard to the hearty folks waiting in line (right)

  • The steamed-and-then-griddled hot dogs (which were definitely better) were inspired by a trip to Birmingham, Alabama, that USHG's Coraine and Meyer took. While there, noted chef Frank Stitt (Highlands Bar and Grill) took them to Pete's Famous Hot Dogs downtown, where Pete's has been making hot dogs that way for since 1915

  • The Shack no longer has kiddie cones, so you can't even pretend to practice portion control any more when you order frozen custard

  • The buzzer system seemed to work

  • The place needs coffee or hot chocolate until the weather warms up (and will need it once it gets cold again in fall)

Awake Shack 2007 (by Slice)The fries were much better than what they were serving last year. Mr. Coraine pointed out that the Shack made the switch ahead of the trans-fat ban in New York City. These are organic, artificial-trans-fat-free fries, and they were noticeably darker, more airy, and more crisp (without being crunchy) than last year's model.

As for the burgers, lemme ask Ed ... "They were good. I wish I had ordered mine medium-rare, but they don't make them medium-rare, anyway. They had the crust, they had the salt. What more do you want? Everything else is punctuation."


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