Is Shake Shack Finally in Reach for Midtown Lunch’ers?

Photo by Food in Mouth

One question has always plagued me (and no doubt many other hamburger lovers who work in Midtown):  Can you make it down to Shake Shack and back in 60 minutes from Midtown during lunch.  The short answer is no.  The longer answer is no… definitely no.  Sure there are going to be those few miraculous exceptions, but for the most part- if you want to eat at the Shake Shack in Madison Square Park during a time that would acceptable for lunch’ing, the wait on line is too long to make it down there and back to your desk in Midtown proper.

But what about the new Shake Shack?  That’s right… the Shack has expanded, opening their long awaited Upper West Side branch this past weekend on Columbus Ave. btw. 77+78th Street… a five minute walk from the 79th Street 1 station, and the 81st B/C station.  My hunch is, with fewer large office buildings on the UWS, and the Shake Shack’s new technology (which will surely decrease wait times for your food) this could be do-able for the Midtown Lunch’ers whose offices are close to the 1, B or C lines. 

Photo by Food in Mouth

Hop stop says the B train from Rock Center to 81st Street takes 8 minutes.  With a 5 minute walk to and from the subway, and not having to wait for the subway, you’d have about 30 minutes in Shake Shack to order and get your food (and maybe even eat.)  Wild cards… the number of strollers you will have to navigate through on a weekday, and of course, the fact that it is behind the Museum of Natural History. I might have to test this out tomorrow…


More on the new UWS Shake Shack at Food in Mouth, Serious Eats: New York, and Eater.


  • Well this week will probably be a rough idea to test the hour trip out, since the buzz will be huge…then again, it’s not like the lines will suddenly disappear anytime soon, so I suppose you should go for it. Good luck!

  • I went there yesterday. Line out the door and we still only waited about 15 minutes. Food came out much faster than Mad. Square Park location. Fantastic food! Welcome addition to our neighborhood.

  • I saw a shake shack deliver to 52nd and Park.

  • You should totally try it and let us know ;)

  • Under-60 minute return trip to Madison Park from 49th & Bwway via the R train at 11:25am can be done very easily with little waiting for anything. 4 stops each way and the Shack is right outside the subway exit – no walking crosstown.

    Added bonus: much reduced chance of running into upper west siders

  • 67 minutes from desk at 1 Rock Plz and back again, leaving at 12:14PM. Timeline to follow

  • 1214PM: Leave Desk at 1 Rock Plz
    1217PM: Arrive at Uptown track for B train
    1224PM: Get on the “1219″ B train
    1234PM: Arrive at 81st street
    1238PM: Get in line at Shake Shack
    1252PM: Order single cheeseburger and fries
    1258PM: Receive food
    0103PM: Just miss B train and take C train instead
    0112PM: Arrive at 50th and 8th Ave and walk back to desk
    0121PM: Arrive at desk
    0130PM: Regret not getting the double

  • Just went down to the Madison Square Park location to meet some friends. I work in the Rockefeller Center. Took the R/W down from 49th/7th. Waited in line, got food, ate, chatted, total time: 1 hour, 5 minutes. Includes travel time.

    It’s not bad – I swear! It’s totally do-able. Esp if you consider take-out.

  • The trick with the Mad Park Shake Shack is going at the right time, a little earlier or later in the lunch time period. If you work by the N/W/R, it’s totally do-able, I did it a few times when working over that way.

  • The trick to Mad Park Shake Shack is cut the line :) sort of.

  • Joanna, I wonder if your time spent in line can be attributed to weather. When I visited in May the line was around an hour and a half.

    In any event, I cant wait to get a concrete!

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