Sunday, January 31, 2016

Shake Shack Gets Ready for a Spring Opening in West Hollywood

The signature Shackburger: cheese, tomato, lettuce and Shacksauce
Angelenos are highly faithful to their In 'n Out Burgers, but they're also accepting of burger innovation like Umami Burger. So hopefully we won't feel too competitive when New York's Shake Shack opens in West Hollywood in a couple of months, because they make a darn good burger. We had a preview last weekend, including a screening of the original "Star Wars," in the lot next door to the Santa Monica Blvd. at La Cienega location (the former site of the famous Koo Koo Roo), though the actual building won't be finished until about March.
Burger fans enjoy a winter outdoor screening of "Star Wars" on the site of the eventual patio and parking lot
A double cheeseburger, which will cost around $8, is twice as much as a similar In 'n Out Burger. But Shake Shack, which started as a hot dog cart to benefit Madison Square Park in Manhattan 15 years ago and has grown into more than 50 locations worldwide, is a step up in the burger heirarchy. The menu includes burgers, a chicken sandwich, hot dogs and also shakes and concretes -- made with frozen custard that's basically soft serve ice cream, but better. We tried the dense and lightly salty buttered popcorn flavor -- an ode to Hollywood, perhaps?
The Roadside Double with Swiss cheese, onions, Dijon mustard

The all-natural, 100% Angus beef burger is flat and flavorful - its meaty distinctiveness stands out even when folded into a potato roll with cheese and Shacksauce. If that's too basic, they'll also have a Smokeshack and a Shroom burger. The first California location will also get a special L.A. burger that pays homage to the French dips pioneered by Philippe's and Cole's.

The Roadside double adds Swiss cheese and Dijon mustard to bacon-simmered onions. Very beefy and substantial, it was perhaps a little too macho for my taste but Matt was a big fan. I preferred the classic, which seemed to subtly improve on a typical burger stand sandwich without crossing over into pricey gourmet burger territory. Shake Shack will also have locations Downtown, and later this year on Brand Blvd. across from the Americana, close enough to In 'n Out for an easy burger taste-off.

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