Vegas Bright writer Kenzie Marie reviews the much raved about Shake Shack at MGM’s New York-New York Hotel.
Shake Shack…Redefining Fast-Food? These days I am fairly picky about what I put in my body, so when my parents watched a 60 Minutes segment on Shake Shack I was pretty reluctant to tag along and check it out. I really am not interested in eating at a fast food place. My mom fought back. She said “they are supposed to be really good. All natural beef, great customer experience, and supposedly the buns are to die for.” Okay…this is Las Vegas. Who am I to say “NO” to a great set of buns?
Before I could go to lunch, I had to watch the 60 minutes segment with Shake Shack’s founder, Danny Meyer. Meyer’s refers to Shake Shack as “fine-casual.” Fine-casual? I don’t think I can take this seriously. According to him, fine-casual is “marrying together the ethos and taste level of fine dining with the fast food experience.” The segment also showed the incredibly long lines people are willing to stand in for the experience of a Shake Shack burger. Call me a skeptic, but I won’t wait in an hour-long line for a burger, I don’t care how “fine” it is.
The Las Vegas Shake Shack is appropriately located strip side in front of the New York, New York hotel. We opted to valet our car at the Monte Carlo. As we handed our keys over the valet asked if we needed directions. I said, “we are headed over to Shake Shack.” He instantly got excited, “I love Shake Shack. As a matter of fact, we are going there for lunch today.” I said, “we have never been. What do you recommend.” He said “You have to get the double ShackBurger because you will be disappointed if you get the single. They are that good.” He went on to suggest the cheese fries with ShackSauce, and the salted caramel shake. At least now I knew what I was going to order.
The walk over was nice. I love being on the Vegas Strip and haven’t had many opportunities to see the Park. We arrived about 11:30 am and Shake Shake was already getting busy. There was a short line, about five minutes, and many of the tables were in use. In addition to the Valet’s suggestions, we also ordered a single ShackBurger, a regular fry, a Chick’n Shack, a chocolate shake, and a root beer float. After we ordered they handed us a buzzer and off we went to find a table. I don’t know, but that doesn’t seem like an above standard customer experience. Seemed about average for fast food, and below standard for fine fast food.
When we sat down I set the receipt on the table. Dad took a look and said “$48.00, that isn’t too bad.” Really? $48.00 for a fast food lunch. I said, “this better be one hell of a burger.” We waited about 5 minutes for our buzzer to go off and I walked up to get the food. While at the counter I also grabbed two containers of ShackSauce. There were a lot of people getting the sauce and I was ready for it to be great.
I don’t really know what to say from here, except…well…it was just another fast food dining experience. I wasn’t impressed and barely touched my meal. My dad ate his burger but was clear he wouldn’t eat at Shake Shack again. My mom didn’t eat much of her meal but loved her shake. I will admit the shakes were pretty good, very rich and creamy.
Call me crazy, but I like my food with crunchy vegetables, bread baked from scratch, cheese that isn’t some shade of neon orange, and meat that hasn’t been through a grinder. Perhaps I am not the right person to rate fine-casual, but please do me a favor. If you are in Las Vegas for the weekend don’t blow $48.00 for “fine-casual” when you are surrounded by some of the best dining in the world!
The best part of Shake Shack was it got me down on an end of the strip I don’t often visit. My adventures don’t usually go further south than the Aria. We took the opportunity to stop by the Hershey Store, wander around inside of New York, New York, and I even took a pull on the Shake Shack one-armed bandit. Overall it was nice to spend an afternoon on the strip with family. Next time I make it down here I will fill you in on my favorite burger place.
[Photo Cred. Kenzie Marie]