Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Manhattan Burger Battle

Friends, I have to tell you: I am a little disturbed. Here's why:

My wife had business to attend to in NYC, and I went along, planning my own business - Burger Business. I wanted to try Shake Shack, which I have heard so much about on the Burger Blogs Circuit, and then follow it up with a NYC Five Guys, as a taste test.

I wanted it to be a clear victory for the Guys. I wanted affirmation of my faith. I wanted to not like Shake Shake too much.

These things did not happen.

If you know about Shake Shack, I don't need to tell you. If you don't, see here, here, and here. And go there.

Here is my official Shake Shack review:

Holy Crap, that's a tasty burger!

It was love at first bite. Wonderful flavor, great crust, lovely bun, great toppings. (They fit, for instance. Nicely sized.) The store was clean, the line that I have heard so much about was fast, and I got in and out in under 15 minutes or so. I ate on a bench outside the American Museum of Natural History, and it was a transcendent burger experience.

I killed some time looking at dinosaur bones, then went to Five Guys, on West 55th Street. I knew that this was going to be tough for the Guys, but I had hopes, and faith. 5G is a magnificent burger, and while it may not blow Shake Shack away as easily as others, certainly it could hold its own, right?


This would be, of course, the first time I've ever had problems with a Five Guys. This location was worse than any other I have visited. Maybe it is NYC, but having just had proof of how nice a place could be, I can't give it a pass for that. The line was shorter but took longer to move through. The store was dirty and cramped. The burger was its normal 5 Guys good, but I couldn't help but notice that the toppings were oversized - the lettuce and tomato just didn't fit right. Also, the burger cost $2.50 more. This extra pays for bacon, though, and I do like bacon.

So. Shake Shack is really really good. I add my voice to the chorus there. Also, at least one 5G in NYC needs a little work. I'm certainly not off the 5G bandwagon, and not just because there are no Shack Shacks anywhere near me yet (apparently they are planning 20 up and down the East Coast in the next 5 years).

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