Attack of the clones: Shake Shack

Recently opened outposts that are as popular as the originals.

  • Shake Shack; Photograph: Roxana Marroquin

  • Shake Shack; Photograph: Roxana Marroquin

  • Shake Shack; Photograph: Roxana Marroquin

Shake Shack; Photograph: Roxana Marroquin

Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5

The original
Literally a shack in the middle of Madison Square Park, Danny Meyer's new-wave fast-food joint became an object of cult adulation the moment it opened in 2004. Five years later, it still inspires otherwise rational adults to stand in line for an hour or more simply to score a burger and fries. 23rd St at Madison Ave (212-889-6600)

The sequel
The first long-awaited offshoot of the original Shake Shack (a second recently opened at the new Citi Field) moved the proceedings indoors, offering essentially the same menu in a far more efficient and comfortable setting. Instead of hour-long lines, here they rarely exceed 20 minutes. The vast open kitchen sends out the fired-to-order burgers, hot dogs and shakes at twice the speed they're delivered downtown. Expansion of the brand hasn't made the signature Shack Burger—built around a remarkable Pat LaFrieda blend of brisket, sirloin and chuck—any less irresistible, nor has it diminished the allure of the cheese-sauced fries or extra-thick frozen-custard "concretes" (swirled with chunky mix-ins). But while the first Shack caters mostly to a working clientele, No. 2 (with a playroom downstairs and stroller parking) is designed with families in mind. Hungry broods flood in from the Museum of Natural History across the street (it might as well be an official concession). While their parents wash down their Shack Stacks (two cheeseburgers and a cheese-filled 'shroom burger in one bun) with a Brooklyn Brewery Shackmeister Ale, the little ones spoon their way to the bottoms of daunting "Crunch-stellations" (concretes featuring buttery toffee and Valrhona "crunchies," available at this location only, with proceeds going to the museum).

More clones
Fatty Crab | Boqueria | Shake Shack | 'inoteca

See more Restaurant reviews

366 Columbus Ave at 77th St (646-747-8770). Subway: 1 to 79th St. Daily 10:45am--11pm. Average burger: $4.