Talk to hipster burger fanatics from New York City and they’ll likely rave about the food at Shake Shack. What started as a hot dog cart at Madison Square Park just over a decade ago has become a formidable fast-casual restaurant chain with brick and mortar locations in the Northeast, South Florida and several international shops in the Middle East, UK and Russia. Following the success of the South Florida stores, Shake Shack opened its first location along the I-4 Corridor a few days ago in Winter Park. Located in Lakeside Plaza next to the recently-opened Trader Joe’s, this place already seems to be as popular as the stores in the Big Apple.
I visited on Sunday just before noon and found a line of people already out the door. The menu is small and purposely kept simple. Burgers come in single and double sizes and are cooked at a medium temperature, unless requested otherwise. Hot dogs are also a staple at The Shack. The dogs are split, cooked on a griddle and served on a fluffy bun. I chose the single-patty SmokeShack Burger topped with Applewood smoked bacon, cheese, chopped cherry pepper and the special sauce. I also had a side of the crinkle-cut fries. After a lengthy wait for the food, I couldn’t wait to dig in. The combination of the pepper and ShackSauce gave the burger a nice, unique flavor with a little kick. While the bacon was cooked to perfection, the patty itself could have spent a few more seconds on the grill for this always “well-done” meat lover. The crinkle-cut fries were very plain, but good. They deserved some seasoning to truly make them a standout. By the end of lunch, I was full and chose to forgo any of Shake Shack’s homemade custard desserts.
Overall, the Winter Park Shack Shake gave a good first impression and I’ll definitely be back, possibly for one of the flat-top dogs and some custard. But, I must say, the true star at this Shack Shake has nothing to do with the food at all. Out back is a large seating area complete with fire pit, ping-pong table and a killer view of Winter Park’s Lake Killarney. I guarantee you won’t find another burger joint with such an inspiring vista. Ultimately, the view is what will set this place apart from all the others.