12 S Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60603
I'll be honest. I didn't know why Shake Shack was a big deal, only that it was. My friend, Nina, who lives in Chicago told me that I should take the monkeys there if we were going to Millennium Park. (Thanks to the power of the internet, I now see that this national chain started off as a hot dog cart in New York's Madison Square Park in 2001. Well, dang!)
The one we went to is across the street from the park in the ground floor of the newly refurbished Chicago Athletic Association.
When we got there, the monkeys (Satchel, 14 and Jiro, 12) weren't actually hungry, so we went to the Game Room on the second floor. There the monkeys played foosball, shuffle board and chess while I listened to baseball and enjoyed a pint.
After an hour or so, we went back down. There was a line, but it seemed to be moving fast. Satchel was still insisting that he wasn't hungry so I told him I didn't care if he ate. The menu is basically burgers, hot dogs, fries and concoctions made from frozen custard.
When Satchel saw that there were actually menu items for dogs, he said he wanted a Pooch-ini (a dog biscuit with peanut butter sauce and vanilla custard).
"Uh, no," I said. (In hindsight I missed an opportunity to make him eat a dog biscuit! WTF!)
He eventually said he'd have a strawberry shake. "Oh, thank you!" I said.
Jiro saw a picture of a double cheeseburger and cheese fries and was sold. He also wanted a Bang Bang Pie Oh My malt. Well, alright!
I was suddenly running short on time before we had to order, so I missed the fact that they had Stumptown Coffee. And beer! And wine! (Both exclusively made for the Shack.) Heck, yeah.
I decided to try the 'shroom burger (crisp fried portabella with meunster cheese) with fries. I went ahead and ordered a regular burger just in case Satchel changed his mind. "I'm not eating that," he whispered in my ear.
"I know. I am," I replied.
We got a number and then started looking for a table. We had to hover for a minute or two before pouncing on a recently vacated booth. Once secured, I went off to find the ladies room (which ended up being on another floor). By the time I got back, the food was ready and the monkeys had been dispatched to get it.
That's what $42 looks like at the Shake Shack, y'all.
Look closely and you can see that Satchel is already regretting his decision to not order any food.
"I'm eating this burger," he said, reaching for the extra one.
"Uh, huh," I said and gave him my TOLDYA look.
Let's talk about the 'shroom burger.
I would say it was a good idea in theory. Portabellas can be hard to bite through and this one was no exception. They have to be cooked just right to be served whole on a piece of bread. I ate about half of it and then polished off the regular burger when Satchel once again declared he wasn't hungry.
The regular burgers, excuse me Shackburgers, are pretty freaking good. Nothing fancy, but just right on. And even better are the fries. Like move over McDonald's good. I have never had such a perfectly crinkly fry. YUUUUMMMM.
Jiro could not finish his cheese fries, so Satchel and I pitched in. Honestly, the cheese just ruins the perfectly delicate crunch of the uber crinkle.
I tasted both shakes. Very good.
And that's about it.
I do need to share one final thing that I learned on the internet. The Shack Shake hosts a free community fitness club on the second Tuesday of every month, called Shack Track & Field. Runs are 3-5 miles and open to all ages and abilities. Runs end with a free drink back at the Shack. That includes beer.