Shake Shack has finally arrived into the Orlando market! I’ve passed Shake Shack many times during my travels through New York City and there is always an enormous line. Why? Why does this place have such a fierce and loyal following?
I was lucky enough to be invited to the housewarming party Shake Shack threw at their new location in Winter Park. First of all, it is in an excellent location. The restaurant sits right on Lake Killarney, sharing a parking lot with Trader Joes and just down the block from the Hillstone restaurant. A very heavily traveled area.
I was immediately greeted by a smiling and friendly staff handing out burgers. Though I don’t eat burgers often, if ever, I felt compelled to have a taste. The first burger I tried was the ShackBurger– a very simple cheeseburger topped with lettuce, tomato and ShackSauce. It was actually pretty good- the burger patties are not big at all however they do have lots of flavor. All the burgers are made with 100% all-natural Angus beef and are freshly ground at all their restaurants. Even this non-burger nosher was impressed.
I did try the Chicken, Apple and Sage Sausage dog and it was unbelievable. There is no need for mustard, ketchup, relish, sauerkraut- any of a dog’s traditional toppings. The chicken dog stands alone and was wonderful. Again, as I rarely eat meat (usually only for events like this) this was probably my most favorite thing I tried all night.
The fries were good- golden and crisp and served with a generous side of cheese sauce. Just as a note, this cheese sauce was creamy and thick and did not get crusty like other cheese sauces (do you hear me Velveeta)? This was most definitely not Velveeta.
I had the opportunity to try the vanilla and chocolate shakes. Not super thick but also not very thin. Perfect consistency. They were tasty as well, but not much different than a shake at any fast food joint. Maybe I just expected the shakes to be unbelievable since they are the SHAKE Shack.
The one thing I was looking forward to trying was the ‘Shroom burger. It’s the one item on the burger menu for Vegetarians. However, it is not for Vegans. A Portobello mushroom is crispy fried with melted muenster and cheddar cheeses. The patty is then topped with lettuce, tomato and their ShackSauce. It wasn’t awful, but it also wasn’t great. The mushroom itself was very small, basically it was just a big chunk of fried cheese in a crispy coating.
Just as a side note, pickles and onions are offered upon request.
Shake Shack will also offer wine and beer. The wine is made specially for Shake Shake by Frog’s Leap in Napa Valley. The beer is also specially brewed by Brooklyn Brewery exclusively for Shake Shack.
There are many who are concerned about parking. The lot is not large and also serves the enormously popular Trader Joes. Shake Shack will offer valet parking however to make it easier.
I only had a small sampling of the menu and while the food was good, one of the biggest draws for me were the amazing sunset views over the lake. Shake Shack has set up a few tables and a fire pit surrounded by comfy Adirondack chairs. An excellent place to watch the sunset, enjoy a burger and sip on a shake. There is also a ping pong table to enjoy some friendly competition along the lake.
Other items on the menu include their famous concretes- frozen custard with mix-ins such as chocolate chunks, sprinkles and a variety of sauces. There are even things on the menu for your little furry ones including a Pooch-ini, dog biscuits, peanut butter sauce and vanilla custard.
While Shake Shack will be a huge hit here in Central Florida, there is nothing on the menu for a Vegan, except for the fries minus the cheese. And for a Vegetarian, the only option is the fried ‘Shroom Burger. Don’t expect anything healthy here- maybe that’s why it is so popular! However, I give Shake Shack two thumbs up for not offering a frozen veggie patty on the menu like some other well known burger joints in town. It’s better to not offer anything than try to sell me a $12 Morning Star burger. Just my opinion. There are also no salads on the menu.
So welcome Shake Shack– welcome to Central Florida. You are going to make a lot of friends here.
**I did not assign a sprouts rating as this was a special event for the media and not a typical day at Shake Shack.