Ever since I heard Shake Shack had opened its newest location in San Diego, I wanted to visit and see for myself if the chain’s famous burgers and shakes are as great as everyone says. The Shake Shack I visited in the Westfield UTC shopping center was the first of two San Diego locations; the other will be in Mission Valley.
I managed to find the crowded restaurant with no empty tables either on the patio area or inside. A huge glass wall separated the outside from the inside, allowing natural light to enter, making it bright and welcoming. All of the tables and benches were wooden, adding to the rustic atmosphere of the location.
Based on how popular Shake Shack is, I was surprised the line of people waiting to place their order was pretty short. After briefly studying the menu on the right side of the restaurant and examining the prices, which seemed to be on the expensive side for fast food, I approached one of the cashiers and asked to try the most popular items on the menu. She recommended the ShackBurger ($5.69), the Shack-cago Dog ($4.79), the Crinkle Cut Fries ($2.99) and the Christmas Cookie Shake ($5.99), which is only available during the holiday season.
I was given a buzzer and told to wait for my order to be ready. Just six minutes later, my buzzer alerted me to approach the counter where an employee waited with my food and shake on a metal tray. Since all of the tables were occupied, I had to wait a few minutes for one to open up before beginning to taste my items. I also went to get my own condiments, utensils and napkins at a separate counter.
I first tried the fries, served in a paper tray, which turned out to be one of the better items in my order, as they were nicely crisp on the outside and the potato on the inside was soft and fluffy. I loved the combination of contrasting textures of the fries and they were perfectly salted, making it very easy to finish all of them. Next I tried the ShackBurger, which did look appetizing, but also disappointingly small, since it was the most expensive item I ordered. But, the burger was very tasty. The tender beef patty wasn’t too overcooked, the melted cheese was just the right texture and the special ShackSauce that was just the right amount of sweet and salty brought everything together in a satisfying way. The lettuce and tomato also seemed very fresh, but the buns were a bit greasy.
Next I tried the Shack-cago Dog, Shake Shack’s most popular hot dog, which turned out to be my least favorite item of my order. Its appetizing presentation was misleading, as the meat was cold and all of the strong flavors from the different ingredients on top of the dog, like the peppers, pickles, and tomatoes that were too overwhelming and didn’t mesh well with one another. The Christmas Cookie Shake was also a bit disappointing, as it lacked any flavor besides being overly sweet. The amount of shake also did not seem worth the price, although it was presented nicely with whipped cream and Christmas colored sprinkles on top.
Overall, I found myself somewhat disappointed by my experience at Shake Shack. While some of the items I ordered were indeed delicious, others did not taste as good and the average service was not sufficient in making my time at Shake Shack memorable enough to justify a return anytime soon.