Shake Shack, Shack Stack

Last week Shake Shack, the widely popular burger joint from New York City, opened in Center City. I braved the 40 minute sweaty wait in order to experience an old favorite of mine from my days living in NYC- the Shack Stack. Shake Shack has a very special place in my heart; before I had my first Shake Shack burger about 5 years ago, I didn’t actually ever eat hamburgers. Shake Shack’s patty converted me. That’s big time.

I can’t imagine trying any other burger besides the Shack Stack ($8.60). The soft bun contains a cheeseburger and portabella mushroom. That might seem like a healthy addition to any burger. But that isn’t what it is at all. The mushroom cap is injected with chedder and munster and then casually deep fried. The whole thing is topped with shack sauce, lettuce, and tomato.

So was it all I remembered it to be and more? It had been years since I last got to sink my teeth into my beloved thick stack. The decadence of the oozy cheese still managed to rock my world, but it could have been a little saltier. The burger had the classic burger flavor I was hoping for, but it was not as big as a recall. I remember feeling like I would die of fullness after finishing the Stack a few years ago. I was certainly full, but not deathly stuffed. Maybe the patty size has been downgraded? I could have also used more Shack sauce. Though I can’t say it was as exceptional as my memory, I advocate for this monstrosity of a burger. The experience of a fried cheese stuffed mushroom on top of a cheeseburger is an experience everyone should have.

I also had fond memories of the Concretes (shake with mix ins) back in NYC. The seasonal flavors were always rocking;I particularly remember an exceptional Basil shake that was offered one summer. The Philly Shake Shack has embraced local specialties in their Concrete menu. I tried the Center City Pretzel which contains vanilla custard, soft pretzel pieces, caramel sauce, marshmellow sauce, and banana. It was really amazingly delicious, the banana flavor stood out the most. I was happy to find that the pretzel pieces held up and did  not become soggy salt balls. However, I can’t fool myself into thinking the  $6.50 price tap for a regular is not really steep. It was a smaller cup than I expected.

Besides the burgers and shakes, there are many things to love about this Shake Shack. One cool thing about Shake Shack is that they have no problems with customizations. They want you to be happy and get exactly what you want. I was even told that you can order an off the menu grilled cheese. They also have a green roof, recycled products, beer (including an exclusive Brooklyn Brewery Ale), Abita root beer, snacks for dogs, and will soon be offering outdoor seating.  And I bet the lines will shorten soon, so the wait to get your stack on will be less sweaty.

THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • Fried mushroom stuffed with cheese (decadence for vegetarians!)
  • Fried mushroom stuffed with cheese on top of a cheeseburger
  • Great shakes

THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • Steeper prices than other fast food type burger places

Shake Shack, 2000 Sansom St, 215 809-1742



  • Love, love this place. I was unaware of the fried mushroom stack. I now have another reason for a 10,000 calorie lunch.

  • I visited on Saturday night at about 10:30, and they were still going strong. Credit to them for that; stuff in Philly tends to close too early, so I’m glad that when they say they’re open until 11:00, they mean it.

    Aaaaanyway, our burgers were really good, and I’m happy Philly now has a burger option that’s better than the *slightly* disappointing Philly location of Bobby’s Burger Palace. (The Long Island Bobby’s location is far superior to the one in Philly. Even the Paramus and Monmouth locations are better than Philly.)

    We did NOT try the concretes / custard / shakes / ice cream / dessert of any kind at Shake Shack. Why? CAPOGIRO is *right across the street.* I’ll try something at Shake Shack one of these days, but with Capogiro staring me down, it’s hard to justify a concrete. Gelato calls.

  • I’ve never been particularly impressed by the burger at Shake Shack, though I’ve never had that Shroom Stack, which really does look delicious. I might need to revisit it and give it another shot by trying that one.

  • By the way, to those who want to try Shake Shack, but don’t want to wait on a long-ish line, go late. At 10:30, the line ended *inside* the building. That said, they do move people through pretty quickly. A coworker who visited on the 7th texted me that she was getting on line at 6:40, and she texted to tell me how her meal was at 7:35… so she had waited on line and had eaten, all in under an hour. When she got on line, it was still the entire length of the building. So credit to Shake Shack for being pretty damn efficient for a place that just opened.

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