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If you’re a fan of a great, seared hamburger, you might know a bit about Shake Shack! This national chain of fast-casual restaurants that’s known for its high-quality burgers, fries and shakes has finally made it to the Triangle at Waverly Place in Cary (Opened on August 21st). And yes, the place is popular and the lines are a bit long right now. But I can say that for the most part if you haven’t tried out Shake Shack yet, it’s worth the wait. Here’s why!
Located in a stand-alone jewel box building at Waverly Place, Shake Shack totally sticks out as the centerpiece of this plaza. Brick building with a lot of plate glass windows and wrap-around patio seating, it’s a modern looking space for a restaurant with such a simple menu. In its opening week, there was probably a 30 minute to 1 hour wait to get your food here but the crowds are slowly dying down now.
The Shake Shack menu is super simple offering up a handful of burgers, chicken sandwiches, hot dogs and fries along with shakes, custards, beer and wine (all under $10). Shake Shack Waverly also offers up some local specials for its shake and concrete flavors. Order at the counter, you’ll be greeted by a friendly Shake Shack employee and handed a black plastic buzzer. Your food will probably take 10 to 20 minutes. While you wait, self-serve your drink, grab some condiments, napkins and find a seat in the dining room! The Shake Shack patio overlooks the main Waverly Place plaza where you can sit back and watch the pedestrian traffic for entertainment!
Hopefully your buzzer goes off pretty quickly and you can grab your food at the front counter. Shake Shack serves up its food on aluminum trays and in paper containers and baskets, take-out eats are neatly packed together in a paper bag. And I can tell you that getting your food at Shake Shack is pretty exciting given the wonderfully, savory aromas emanating from the building. When you get back to your table with your eats, you’ll immediately notice some nice little touches. Shake Shack uses soft, Martins potato buns for their sandwiches and they are grilled on the insides. All the cheese is very nicely melted over your burger and the lettuce and tomato is sliced perfectly to just cover up your patty and make for easier eating. I recommend going with the double for any burgers, Shake Shack use 1/4 lb. patties of an Angus beef blend. And 100% cage-free chicken for its chicken sandwiches, the quality of ingredients here is obvious.
Just be aware that you can’t customize your burgers, it’s either the standard Shack Burger or Smokehouse Burger to keep things simple and orders flowing. When you bite into a Shake Shack burger, you can taste the tender, well seared beef along with a bit of salt on the edges. The cheese, lettuce and tomato make for great balance and the first burger I tried was cooked a perfect medium well. The beauty of a Shake Shack burger is its simplicity, no need for toppings piled on high.
The SmokeShack burger is your other beef option and it adds in crispy bacon, peppers and savory Shack sauce! While I liked this burger, my 2nd visit resulted in a patty that was a bit over-cooked. If you’re not in the mood for beef, Shake Shack’s Chick n Shack is a wonderful take on the classic Southern chicken sandwich and features a thick, seasoned chicken breast with mayo, shredded lettuce and fresh bread and butter pickles with just enough snap and tang. A great alternative if you’re not up for a hamburger. And yes, those Shake Shack crinkle fries are quite good with crispy edges, perfect for dipping in the condiment of your choice.
So while the hype may be really high for Shake Shack, for the most part it meets expectations. The burgers at Shake Shack are top notch, perfectly made and well-constructed. And while the grill concept is super basic, it’s really well executed and delicious. I’ll be back to try more off the Shake Shack menu but call me impressed so far! I hope you will be, too.