Delicious burgers, the best hot dogs in the business, frozen custard, and beer to go: Shake Shack may just have nipped Vegas’s burger wars in the bud.
Shake Shack, the decade-old restaurant that began as a stand in a New York City park and exploded into a 31-location company that just filed for an initial public offering, is famous for its lines. Las Vegas, on the other hand, is famous for its innovative new ways to avoid lines.
There is no hookup here, however. You too will wait to gain entrance to the Vegas outpost. And you’ll be happy you did, because the juicy, all-natural Angus burgers, frozen custard “concretes,” crinkle-cut fries, and griddle-seared hot dogs (completely free of all the things you fear in hot dogs) are that good. This is the first face-off between the East Coast– based Shake Shack and the West Coast–dominating In-N-Out Burger, and while I expect that local burger specialists are already hard at work empirically proving patty dominance, Shake Shack has features inarguably in its favor. Only here can you order local beers like Bad Beat and Tenaya Creek on tap and wines made exclusively for the eatery by Frog’s Leap. Stand in the express C-Line outside and you can order your custard and drinks to go, including beer in a 32-ounce Roadie, which visiting PR director Edwin Bragg charmingly describes as “modestly sized.”
The newest Shack has some razzle-dazzle you won’t find in other locations, as in its Jackpot concrete, which adds Belgian waffles, strawberry purée, marshmallow sauce, and zippy rainbow sprinkles to vanilla frozen custard, and the All Shook Up, which contains banana peanut-butter cheesecake from the local bakery Gimme Some Sugar. “Our food is a splurge,” says culinary director Mark Rosati, but “you can feel good about it.” Indeed, even the vegetarian burger—a slow-roasted, crunchy-coated portobello that oozes with cheese—is sort of wicked in the best way possible. Don’t miss the ShackMeister, a cheeseburger topped with its own ShackMeister Ale–marinated shallots and ShackSauce
And if you prefer a bit of moral high ground with your cheese-smothered fries, consider your convivial surroundings. You’ll dine at tables made from reclaimed bowling alley lanes, or sit on stools fashioned from upcycled Pacific Northwest telephone poles. And next year, when the Strip’s first green space, The Park, opens to connect New York-New York and Monte Carlo, that line you’re standing in may even feel comfortingly like the original. New York-New York, 725-222-6730