details

If you haven’t had Shake Shack but think you love burgers, you don’t as much as you think you do. It’s one of America’s best fast-food burgers. Yes, better than In-N-Out, and yes, it has its own secret menu… kind of (it’s just called Danny Meyer’s hospitality philosophy). What started as a hot dog cart in Madison Square Park in 2001 has made history. In 2004, restaurateur Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group won the bid to open a permanent kiosk in the park, and the lines, buzz, cult following, and even a somewhat begrudging review from The New York Times followed. What’s the big deal? Quality. And one of the juiciest cheeseburgers (100 percent all-natural Angus beef, no hormones, no antibiotics) you’ll ever find on a soft, grilled potato roll (ask for pickles and onions!). Then there’s the Shack-cago dog, which you could argue is the best Chicago-style hot dog outside of the Windy City. Frozen custards (a rotating list of flavors) are super smooth, thick, and creamy, and their "Concretes" (custard blended with mix-ins) are too much fun to be good for you. Shake Shack’s vigorous expansion program — Theatre District, Coral Gables, Abu Dhabi! — might disqualify it from The Daily Meal’s 101 Best Restaurant list in the future, but this original location, though it has apparently spawned an empire, remains a classic. -- Arthur Bovino