5 Reasons L.A. Should Be Excited For Shake Shack

“If Shake Shack doesn’t announce this year that they’re opening in California, that is a huge slap in the face to Los Angeles.”

- My friend Garrett, 2 weeks ago

Well, crisis averted.  My friend can put away his satisfaction demanding white handkerchief, because this morning New York burger chain Shake Shack announced that it will be opening its first Southern California location in West Hollywood at some point in 2016.  Having lived in L.A. and New York for a practically equal amount of time I have much love for both In N Out Burger and Shake Shack.  I’ve even argued that comparing the two is a silly exercise.  In N Out Burger is half the price and a west coast staple whose awesomeness will never be diminished. But Shake Shack is objectively better. It’s also twice as expensive. You don’t have to like it more than In N Out (there’s no arguing with personal taste), but take the price and nostalgia out of it and Shake Shack is kind of better.

Don’t believe me?  Here are 5 reasons even the most hard core In N Out fan should be excited for Shake Shack…

1. The bun – It’s like the old saying goes: “Once you’ve had a Martin’s Potato Roll, you never go back.”  Oh… that’s not a saying?  Well it should be.  Forget about sesame seeds.  And I’ll tell you where you can stick your brioche. Martin’s potato rolls are the best vehicle for a fast food sized ground beef patty. It’s science.

2. The beef – If you are a burger connoisseur there is no arguing with the fact that taken alone, Shake Shack has achieved fast food hamburger patty perfection.  The crust they get from smashing the burger into the griddle, while still leaving the tiniest bit of pink in the middle, is something all fast food burgers should aspire too. And the burger is well seasoned too. The ability to get your patty mustard fried and topped with grilled onions is a huge plus for In N Out, I won’t argue that. And I do love me some grilled onions. But Shake Shack has bacon.  So let’s call toppings a draw, and just admit to each other that Shake Shack’s patty just tastes better.

3. The concretes – You know what’s better than In N Out milkshakes?  Shake Shack’s concretes. If you’ve ever thought “custard and soft serve are pretty much the same thing, right?” then you’ve probably never had Shake Shack’s custard.

4. The french fries – Ok, here’s where things get a bit controversial- even for the die hard Shake Shack fans.  I will always take fresh cut french fries over frozen. Every. Single. Time.  And I love that In N Out’s fries start the day as whole potatoes. But there’s no arguing that unless you’re rocking your fries animal style, In N Out’s french fries are far from being a good representation of what fresh cut fries can be.  In contrast, if you’re a fan of the crinkle cut fry, you’re not going to find a better version than the ones at Shake Shack.  Sure, it’s not hard to open a mass produced freezer bag and pour its contents into a fryer. But if you are one of those people with nostalgia for that kind of fry, it’s just one more reason to be excited about the arrival of Shake Shack.

5. The vegetarian option – And finally, unlike In N Out burger there is something for the vegetarians.  And I’m not talking about a patty-less burger masquerading as a grilled cheese sandwich.  Or even a veggie burger option for the person who wants to pretend they’re eating a gross burger lunch, but really they’re eating a bunch of healthy grains and shit mashed into patty form.  We’re talking a massive, breaded and deep fried portobello mushroom and cheese “patty” that nobody in their right mind would point to as a “healthy” option (as it should be.) At Shake Shack, vegetarians have to get gross right along side the meat eaters.  And you can’t get it on top of a salad (Sorry Los Angeles!) but you can get it on top of a regular hamburger, and people do.  Which is no better testament to its greatness.  Get excited fat, unhealthy vegetarians.  Shake Shack has got something just for you.

So, is Shake Shack going to put In N Out Burger out of business?  Obviously not.  In N Out is the best cheap, fast food hamburger spot that has ever existed. Most people in Southern California would rather pay less money for something that is still great, and I will always crave it on every single road trip I ever take up the coast or east to Palm Springs. But for those of you who are burger aficionados, and don’t mind paying a little bit more for something a little bit better, get excited.  Shake Shack will be here soon.



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    How’s about In N Out returns the favor and opens up in NYC?

  • Agreed, Shake Shack is vastly superior to In N Out. I used to wait in the rain for Shake Shack. I’m a lot less willing to line up for In N Out.

    In both cases, however, I usually just skip the fries and order two burgers.

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