The Madness that is Shake Shack - Is it an Expensive Fast Food Burger? A Cheaper Gourmet Burger? (vs. Golden State) - Review and Pics



thanks for doing the heavy lifting; i gotta get me to golden state!


until i had a belcampo, golden state was my favourite burger in town. great beer selection, too.
that said, there was a line there on weekdays.

Great report @Chowseeker1999!

I think SS has a salting issue because I have had pretty much all of their items salty AF and also perfectly salted. My shroom burger at the Vegas location was a salt bomb while my chix sand was perfectly seasoned. Then, at a location near Time Warner in NYC (or in that area) my fried were absolutely over salted to the point it was inedible.

I need to try that concrete though. Did you notice a line just for shakes/desserts like other locations?

I really appreciate your extremely thorough write-ups on FTC ! You really put thoughtful effort into your reviews, @Chowseeker1999.

You confirmed what I was hoping, that the 'Shroom Burger and the Rainbow Connection concrete are worth trying. I’m always grateful when restaurants are considerate of vegetarians (or the vegetarian-inclined), rather than relying on tired, old veggie patties.

And while I’m not a fan of standing in lines, and this is a town that loves their queues, I’ll try showing up a few minutes before they open on some Saturday. Thanks again!


Never understood the frenzy some Angelenos have for Shake Shack.

For me, the raison d’être of Shake Shack is that they’re open relatively late (midnight), and is en route to my hotel in NYC, so that when I have a late flight into EWR, I can swing by and grab a burger and a concrete to, um, fight off jet lag.

As always, great report. And, yes, Golden State is eons better.


That concrete looks terrifying.

inquiring minds want to know your choice of hotel in the indomitable nyc.
if this is too intrusive, please ignore me.

Mandarin oriental

Thanks @Ns1. You definitely should try it once. And while you’re there, order the Lamb Burger as well. :slight_smile: So good.

@linus oh wow, didn’t know you ran into lines at GS.

Thanks @A5KOBE. Wow, that’s crazy to hear about their other locations and the salt issue. Yah, for ours, the Fries and Portobello were fine, but for yours it was the opposite salt bombs.

Sadly, no, there was no separate line just for shakes / desserts. That would be convenient.

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Hi @MaladyNelson,

Thank you. :slight_smile: Yah, I’d go back for the 'Shroom Burger and Rainbow Connection (with friends LOL). But only if I didn’t have to wait 45 min or more. Give it a try one of these days and let me know what you think. :wink:

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Great points, but comparing shake shack burger to golden state burger is apples to oranges, totally different type of burger despite similar prices. Shake shack will never be medium rare in the center like a gourmet pub burger. They use a smash burger technique until the patty develops a browned crust from mallaird reaction on both sides of the patty. That’s where all the flavor lies.

Having said that, totally agree the portobello burger is the best, followed by the shake stack which includes the portobello and beef-patty.


My nephew took me to S.S in Las Vegas 2014 . I’m sure in LA there is plenty of better burger joints . Not to get all worked up about . They did have dollar beers at the counter . I remember that .

I went opening weekend and they ran out of bacon on a Saturday afternoon. I remember watching Drew Stanton suck up the place against the Panthers.

i think the closest comparison to SS in LA is 5 Guys burger, not in n out.

Agreed that the burger at Golden State is AWESOME, definitely one of my favorite burgers in the city along with the burger from Oaks Gourmet. But to compare it to SS is just not fair albeit their similar prices. Just goes to show you how overpriced SS is.

I love me some Golden State Burger!!!


this was a couple years ago. maybe its calmer now. havent been in a while.

The burgers at Golden State and Father’s Office are objectively higher quality than Shake Shack. They just are. That said, if there were no line, I think I’d still rather eat at Shake Shack. And it has nothing to do with nostalgia.

I really like the classic style of burger for one thing. Nice crust on the patty with traditional lettuce, tomato, and spread. I’m not such a fan of the arugula and aioli at Golden State. And the onion compote and blue cheese overwhelm the taste of beef at Father’s Office. Neither is a bad burger per se, just not my style, personally.

I also like the options at Shake Shack. I generally prefer a smaller burger, so a single Shack Burger is perfect for me. I’m not such a fan of the fries at Shake Shack, so I usually get a Mushroom Shack as my side. I love that kind of flexibility.

My main complaint with Shake Shack (aside from the ridiculous lines) is the cook on the meat. I wish their burgers were a little pinker. Some will say it’s because of the size of the patty, but that’s a copout imo. The burgers at Super Duper Burger in SF are about the same size but juicier with a hint of pink. Almost perfect imo.

I urge people to wait for the other Shake Shack locations to open and the crowds to die down. It’s a great burger, but not one worth standing more than a few minutes in line for. Any longer and I suspect you’ll be wondering what the fuss is all about.


Not to sidetrack the conversation, but is Golden State’s burger (which I love) really 8 ounces? I would’ve said more like 6. One of the things I like about it is it’s a reasonable size at a very reasonable price.