Shake Shack Gets One Star From the NYT

When’s the last time THE New York Times restaurant review also qualified as a Midtown Lunch? Apparently, Pete Wells has discovered Shake Shack and awarded it one star in today’s dining section. I can’t decide of it’s badass or just bizarre to review it … now. While Mr. Wells was “never let down by the hot dogs,” he was brutal when it came to their fries, calling them “pretty awful,” among other things. But for the main event, the burgers, he found the doneness unpredictable. “Shake Shack wasn’t even consistently inconsistent,” he wrote when two patties in the same sandwich were cooked differently. We are certainly fans of Shake Shack on this blog, but it’s hard to defend the place when Mr. Wells isn’t exactly wrong. Sure, I’ve had inconsistently cooked food from Shake Shack, but when you get a really good Shack burger … it’s just SO GOOD.

But even stranger might have been the companion blog piece comparing seven other NYC burgers to the Shack, including several from Midtown. He bestowed favorable words to both the signature burger from Steak N’ Shake and Schnipper’s Quality Kitchen‘s burger while mentioning that Bill’s Bar & Burger was greasy. True. But the fact that Mr. Wells didn’t even address Five Guys or Burger Joint at all is pretty inexcusable.  What do you guys think?


  • I don’t even care about what he said about the burger….I am vindicated about the fries! Pure and utter rubbish! Crinkle cut Oreida pieces of shit fired badly. Yes. Vindication feels good.

    Still like their burgers though.

  • Kind of surprised he also left out Goodburger

  • He probably left out burger joint because it’s not good. And he’s right about the fries, they are just terrible. I go with a burger and hot dog and skip the fries.

  • I’m a Shake Shack fan and I think this review is spot on. SS made better burgers when they had just the first location. The second location was good…after that…inconsistant. I often find myself torn between SS and 5Guys. I love them both, but for different reasons.

  • Yea I think Pete was pretty on point with his Shake Shack assessment. The fries are the exact same ones that were in your parents freezer for months on end and I never liked them then. I’ve had a couple really good burgers from there and a couple very bland burgers. It’s really a toss up for me between Shake Shack and Schnippers but I think I would give the edge to Scnhippers.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    i dont really like shack burgers or their fries, both were underwhelming compared to the rave reviews here.

    also five guys i think has gotten well passed the point of franchise so i think they don’t need to be in a conversation about burger places. once you open up a 10th location they are allowed to be excused from such conversations as are mcdonalds, wendys, and burger king

  • Not a fan of the Shack burgers and fries either. It tastes like the burgers are steamed. I think they are trying to go the health route with the fries. ice Cream creation are good though. In Manhattan, it’s JG Melon, Burger Joint.

    The Shack is for tourists anyway

  • Where’s Goats?

    Burger Joint’s burgers are really quite good – but waaaay too expensive for a regular stop. Supply and demand drove that burger up to where it’s got to face backlash.

    Their fries are superior, however. And I’ve never once heard someone defend Shake Shack’s prefab crinkle fries.

    • I don’t mind SS’s fries – they’re consistently crispy and hot, which is more than I can say for some burger places, both chain and high end.

  • HAPPY DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! VINDICATION!!!!!


  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    Here is what I gathered from the review: The burgers are only occasionally really good, the fries are always terrible, the lines are often long, and prices are fairly high. (Did he remember to mention that there is often scant or nonexistent indoor seating?) But somehow that adds up to a ONE STAR rating, basically because they address you by name. By the transitive property of star-rating, it would seem that Wells is obligated to give one-star ratings to Steak ‘n Shake, FoodParc, and Schnipper’s, if only those places would start addressing you by name.

    • User has not uploaded an avatar

      Don’t forget the glowing review of the hot dogs.

      But it’s actually funny that you feel the calculation shouldn’t add up to a single star–my feeling is that his average should be more like 2.5 stars. If the burgers are decent, hot dogs are incredible and fries suck…two out of three ain’t bad. So why only one star?

      Maybe I’m missing something with his rating system…

      • That’s the antiquated NY Times restaurant rating system. It’s not like a normal star rating system used by movie critics, etc. One star means “good” and it goes up from there. The really, really bizarre part is how they don’t deign to differentiate between “poor” and “satisfactory” — both get zero stars.

      • The rating system is cousin to Michelin’s star ratings, but with a higher high-end and a lower threshold on the low-end. Most sneetches don’t warrant any stars on their bellies, but the select few do.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    I think Shake Shack is overrated, and their fries leave much to be desired… although I’ve really enjoyed a Shack Burger after a night of drinking.

    A truly great burger in Midtown is at Cassidy’s Pub on 55th between 5th and 6th… it’s an unassuming irish bar, and their burger consists of a thick, juicy patty covered in melty American cheese. I add their cajun mayonaisse.

    It’s one of the best burgers I’ve had in NYC.

  • If Pete Wells wells thinks Steak n’ Shake is “fantastic” it shows that he’s clueless and his opinion is worthless.

  • The last time the rag reviewed a ML lunch was probably Szechuan Gourmet

    But let’s not forget that their opinion is usually on par with Zagat and Chowhound in the worthlessness sweepstakes

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