I QUEUED for almost an hour with my daughter Patricia and her kids Silvian and Sabrina in a stroller at Shake Shack on Madison Square Park in New York City for one of the best hamburgers I have ever had—the Shackburger. It is remarkable how people wait patiently in line just to have a bite of this succulent sensation. New York Magazine named Shackburger the “Best Burger” in 2005.
Hamburger, that quintessential American food icon, is probably the most famous sandwich in the world, one that has been embraced by Filipinos as a staple in their diet. Long before the entry of hamburger fast food chains, hamburger has been prepared and cooked in Filipino households. The word “hamburger” is German, which literally means a native of Hamburg, the second largest city in Germany. A big wave of immigrants to America came from Hamburg and they brought with them the “hamburg steak,” which was simply shredded meat flavored with regional spices and was a standard meal among the poor classes. Today the hamburger patty is now called “fricadelle” in Germany. There is a long history of the American hamburger since the 18th century but the first true hamburger served in a bun was made by Oscar
Bilby of Tulsa, Oklahoma on July 4, 1891.
Shake Shack is a modern day “roadside” burger stand serving the most delicious hamburgers, hotdogs, frozen custard, milkshakes and more. It started as a hotdog cart. Its first outlet opened in July 2004 in Madison Square Park with tables and chairs set outdoor and immediately became a neighborhood fixture patronized by locals, tourists and people from all walks of life. The restaurant was conceived and developed by Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group. Fifty-three-year-old Danny Meyer is one of the great American restaurateurs of his generation. Today, there are nine outlets in New York City, several more outside New York and has gone international in Dubai and Kuwait.
Eating in Shake Shack means queuing and waiting to get a table. So while my daughter Patricia falls in line to order the burgers, I look around for a table with my grandkids Silvian and Sabrina in tow. After all, Shackburgers are worth queuing for. Unlike the fast food hamburgers that are mass-produced, machine molded and frozen, Shackburgers are 100 percent Angus beef freshly ground every day and molded by hand, thicker and cooked to medium unless otherwise requested. Each 4 oz. burger is served grilled on a potato bun with Shack sauce and topped with crispy bright green lettuce, slices of plump red tomatoes, American cheese and costs $4.55. There is also the Shroomburger for vegetarians, made of Portabella caps stuffed with muenster (semi-soft cheese) and cheddar cheese fried to a golden brown topped with lettuce, tomato and cheese. Silvian and I had Shackburgers, Patricia chose to have a Shack Stack—combination of Shackburger and Shroomburger while Sabrina had the equally
famous hotdog on a bun. To complete the meal, Patricia indulged with a frosty glass of Milk Shake —hand-spun vanilla and caramel. I settled for fresh squeezed lemonade since the milk shake was too rich for my taste buds. For those who dine with their pooches (dogs), the menu offers Poooch-ini—a chilly treat for those with four feet—Shackburger dog biscuit, peanut butter sauce and vanilla custard.