New York transplants and hungry Angelenos alike have been counting down the days for over a year. But the wait is finally over—Shake Shack opened its first-ever Cali location right in the heart of West Hollywood. Here comes the blasphemy: you’re about to savor one of the most burgerlicious meals in the city. It’s not only going rock your world, but may even leave you rethinking your family’s deep love of In-N-Out. (Yep, we said it!)
What’s So Swell About Shake Shack
Shake Shack started in 2004 as a simple roadside burger stand in the middle of Madison Square Park in New York City. Word of mouth spread quickly about their mind-blowingly good burgers, hot dogs, shakes, frozen custard and beer. So much so, that New Yorkers and tourists from around the world didn’t mind waiting in never-ending lines just to get a taste. With all that popularity, one stand turned into two, which turned into three and then a restaurant. Shake Shack began popping up around the globe slowly making its way to LA for what some say is its most anticipated location yet. Because you better be darn good to bring an outside patty to the land of the burger.
Oh, The Food
With a thoughtful and varied menu, you’re biggest problem will definitely be deciding what to try first. But the burgers, oh man, the burgers are really where it’s at. Made from freshly ground, 100% all-natural Angus beef that’s completely free of hormones and antibiotics and served on a heavenly potato bun, you can’t go wrong with the Shack’s signature burger, the ShackBurger. A cheeseburger topped with crisp lettuce, juicy tomato and ShackSauce that you can make a single or double. Or you can always check out the Roadside Double—a burger especially created just for LA, inspired by our city’s longstanding love affair with the French Dip. (LA likes our meat, we not only pioneered the burger culture, but either Cole’s or Phillipe’s is the inventor of this tasty sammy; that’s another food controversy we’re not touching!) It’s a double Swiss cheeseburger, topped with Dijon and onions simmered in bacon and beer. Pretty sure we hear your stomach growling.
If one of your little munchers isn’t a burgers fanatic, there’s plenty to delight them. The Chick’n Stack or one of the Flat-Top Dogs might be more their jam. Every meat served, be it beef or chicken, is all-natural (which mom and dad will love) and bursting with flavor. And don’t forget an order of crinkle fries on the side. We’ll warn you, they’re addictive. The way they hold extra ketchup worms their way straight to your little dippers heart.
Oh, the Drinks
Shakes are the name of the game here with mouthwatering flavors from hand spun vanilla and chocolate to salted caramel and peanut butter. They also offer a great selection of sodas, lemonade, Stumptown Cold Brew and Honest Kids Apple Juice. And if the parentals need something with a little kick, Shake Shack serves a small selection of wine and a fab selection of local craft beer from brewers like Angel City Brewing, Firestone Walker Brewing Co. and Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. Because we’ll take a NY patty, but leave us to our spectacular Cali beers and wines.
Don’t Forget Dessert
Shake Shack is well-known for its rich and creamy frozen custard served in a cup, cone or as a Concrete— frozen custard blended with your choice of mix-ins like chocolate toffee, strawberry puree, peanut butter sauce and salted caramel chocolate brownie. There are also three signature concretes to choose from that feature ingredients sourced from local LA bakeries and chocolatiers. Like the Rainbow Connection, vanilla custard mixed with Cofax spiced crumb donut; Sqirl Seascape Strawberry & Rose Gernaium Jam and rainbow sprinkles. If you’re not drooling yet, check your pulse. Those local flavors will delight you, but the kids love to pick their own mix-ins.
Where to Sit
The bright and cheery front patio is decently shaded and filled with long picnic tables and high top tables that offer ample seating overlooking the hustle and bustle of Santa Monica Boulevard. There’s also plenty of seating indoors as well at smaller tables and along the bar. Indoor and outdoor spaces are spacious enough for strollers.
Shake Shack has its own designated parking lot next to the restaurant, but in case it’s full (good chance in these early days, especially), there’s metered parking available along Santa Monica Boulevard and neighboring streets. Just keep an eye peeled for any permit and no parking zones. The burgers are fantastic, but not worth getting your car towed.
Early Bird Gets the Burger
We’ve heard the average wait time in line right now is running about an hour depending on the time of day. Our advice, especially with antsy kiddos in tow, is to get there right when they open at 11 a.m. for an early lunch and try to beat the crowds. We also recommend following Shake Shack on Twitter as they post their line cut-off times when it gets crowded before closing at night. This place is freakishly popular, so we imagine the large crowds will be a thing for quite some time. But we promise, it’s worth it. Even if you love our LA options (and there are plenty of reasons to adore the LA burger scene), this is a great addition to the landscape for babes that adore burgers.
Hours: Sun.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. and Fri. & Sat., 11 a.m.-11:30 p.m.
New locations: New Shake Shack locations are rumored to be coming soon to Glendale, downtown LA and more spots, too. We’ll keep you posted!
8520 Santa Monica Blvd.
Are you Team Shack or Team In-N-Out? What were your tots fave items on the menu? We’d love to hear about your experience below!