Shake Shack's Secret Menu, Revealed!

Think you know everything about Shake Shack? Think again

Shake Shack's Secret Menu, Revealed!
Arthur Bovino

It started with overhearing someone ask for extra Shack sauce and discovering you can get pickles on your Shackburger.

Waiting at the Shake Shack window in Madison Square Park, you hear interesting conversations among co-workers, couples, Shack-ployees, and last-minute customer requests. One, "Can I have a side of Shack sauce?" inspired a Shack-quest that required above-and-beyond commitment from The Daily Meal's Eat/Dine section: the secret menu.

Click here for the Shake Shack's Secret Menu Slideshow.

Secret menu? Shake Shack? Yes. Shake Shack has a secret menu — kind of. No, you can't go up to cashiers at any location, ask for items by name, and have them nod and punch in the order. Well, that's not entirely true. They will, for example, readily make a grilled cheese sandwich by name.

 

First, some disclaimers and a primer for the uninitiated. If you haven't had Shake Shack but think you love burgers, you don't as much as you think you do. You would have found this one. It's one of America's best fast-food burgers — better than In-N-Out. But that's another conversation. To those who complain the Madison Square Park line disqualifies comparison to In-N-Out: Other locations don't have the lines. Case in point: Miami, Westport, the Upper East and Upper West Sides, Battery Park City, and you'd have to guess, the Middle East.

To those who complain prices at the chains discredit comparison: Consider that In-N-Out is oft compared to Five Guys. Prices can vary depending on location, but let's take a look at how they stack up for a second. According to In-N-Out's site, a cheeseburger costs $4.12 ($3.75 plus tax). Similarly, looking at prices on Five Guys' site and on Menupages, their "Little Cheeseburger" (one patty, the regular cheeseburger is a double) costs in the range of $4.99 to $5.03. For the record, a Shackburger, which includes cheese, costs $4.50 pre-tax. You're gonna argue over a dollar? Same price range — give it a break.

Now that that's over, here's the dirt on the Shake Shack secret menu. There are official, exclusive, special-menu items at each Shack location that you may not know about (even at the seasonal Shacks like CitiField, Saratoga, and Nationals Park, where menus are trimmed down). Most are concretes ("dense frozen custard blended at high speed with toppings and mix-ins"), not secret menu items per se, but checklist orders for the Shack-obsessed (strange to think they once closed during the winter, huh?). Others, like the corndog and the peanut butter and bacon burger, are special offers you have to get while the getting's good. To be clear, we're not talking about these items (click here for that list).

This goes beyond burgers and ice cream. It means using everything on the menu: burgers, drinks, dogs, ice cream, and all sides and fixings used to compose all conventional menu items. It means rethink everything, especially the sport peppers, which may be the most underrated and underutilized ingredient there.

Will they grill onions and put them on fries with Shack sauce? Shake Shack fries "animal-style" if you will? No. And some things, like Primanti-style (with fries) and an ice cream sandwich, require assembly (they'll also ask if you want the bun toasted). There's a Shack-Cago dog (one of New York's best hot dogs, and one of the truest to the Chicago ethos). Why not a Shack-Cago burger (pictured)? Hey, they do one at Wiener's Circle. Does that technically disqualify them as secret menu options? Maybe.

But they will make a grilled cheese and tomato sandwich by name (left). They'll make you a Shandy (beer and lemonade). Shake Shack does cheese fries — what about a cheese dog? Yup. Once without being asked they even cut up sport peppers to put them on cheese fries!

They'll do a double Shack Stack. And you can go bigger than the triple (on the gluten-free menu) and order a quad. Careful, it's a beast. A Shack rep couldn't be reached for comment about special requests, but when asked how many patties they would put together on one burger, an employee at the window responded, "I'd have to ask, but we want to make you happy." 

The "secret menu" at Shake Shack is really a combination of Danny Meyer's hospitality philosophy, having Shake Shack "your way," and how into your requests cashiers get. Cashiers are key. Getting one behind you is the difference between Shack-ployees making your special requests themselves (which they have done with many of those that follow) and giving you the ingredients needed to make your special request(s) happen.

Stop thinking about the menu the way you always have: limited to what the print declares. Shake Shack seems happy to oblige requests. Take a cue from The New York Times' former restaurant critic Frank Bruni when he noted that he'd been a blockhead for not ordering a double after complaining forever that the condiment to burger ratio had been off. Consider all the ingredients on the menu at whichever of the 13 locations you're at (it will soon be 15 when the Brooklyn and Philly spots launch.) Think about mixing beverages too (they do an underrated float, which is on the menu). Order Shake Shack your way.

 


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21 Comments

savvysearch's picture

How likely are you going to spend $5 on a double-double? Maybe in the most remote locations in California, but speaking as an In-N-Out junkie, the price is likely going to be $3. The Shake shack burger doesn't change. It's $7.

The quality difference between an In-N-Out and SS burger aren't vastly different. But the price is, even when comparing to Bovino's highest cost scenario of InNOut at $5. Is Bovino kidding about "just $2?" That's a price rationalization that's not convincing. It's a $7 burger! Think about that.

savvysearch's picture

How likely are you going to spend $5 on a double-double? Maybe in the most remote locations in California, but speaking as an In-N-Out junkie, the price is likely going to be $3. The Shake shack burger doesn't change. It's $7.

The quality difference between an In-N-Out and SS burger aren't vastly different. But the price is, even when comparing to Bovino's highest cost scenario of InNOut at $5. Is Bovino kidding about "just $2?" That's a price rationalization that's not convincing. It's a $7 burger! Think about that.

elles155's picture

i'm a die hard in n out fan. but i won't discuss which is better. in n out. shake shack. five guys. the list goes on. everyone has their fave.

the only thing i want to correct is that in n out burgers are way cheaper than what was listed. their website doesn't list the price for their drive in or take out menu (a cheeseburger averages $2 give or take a dime or two).

the link that was provided in this article is to In n Out's "cookout" menu, which is basically their catering truck. the truck goes to whatever location it is hired for and cooks in n out burgers on the spot. but it's catering. that's why it costs more money. just as a heads up to those who havent been out west and know the ways of in n out. cheeseburgers will run you no more than $2.50 including tax.

anyways, thanks for writing an article on shake shack's secret menu. always nice to be in the know!

elles155's picture

i'm a die hard in n out fan. but i won't discuss which is better. in n out. shake shack. five guys. the list goes on. everyone has their fave.

the only thing i want to correct is that in n out burgers are way cheaper than what was listed. their website doesn't list the price for their drive in or take out menu (a cheeseburger averages $2 give or take a dime or two).

the link that was provided in this article is to In n Out's "cookout" menu, which is basically their catering truck. the truck goes to whatever location it is hired for and cooks in n out burgers on the spot. but it's catering. that's why it costs more money. just as a heads up to those who havent been out west and know the ways of in n out. cheeseburgers will run you no more than $2.50 including tax.

anyways, thanks for writing an article on shake shack's secret menu. always nice to be in the know!

tdm-35-icon.png

Lazy, shabby article with no fact-checking.

Arthur Bovino's picturetdm-35-icon.png

Sorry, what was lazy exactly? And shabby? Also, do you have place I can anonymously disparage your name without noting anything specific. I'd love to stop by and comment. Thanks!

tdm-35-icon.png

BRGR - enough said. No, it isn't found in as many places but better than all mentioned above.

tdm-35-icon.png

This is a gross misrepresentation of In-n-Out. Shoddy reporting Arthur Bovino. In-n-Out is vastly cheaper (and larger), faster, and fresher. They treat their employees much better, and my only complaint is that it is not on the East Coast.

Arthur Bovino's picturetdm-35-icon.png

I'd love to have In-N-Out on the East Coast too. And as I've noted before, I have it each time I can.

As for the rest of your points... employees may well be treated better. I don't know. Maybe you misread the article, but it wasn't about employer practices.

Faster, maybe. Fresher? You're delusional.

tdm-35-icon.png

In-N-Out sucks. Everyone told me the eat at In-N-Out and I was very very disappointed. Five Guys is the best. Also, prices are different from State to State and City to City.

Arthur Bovino's picturetdm-35-icon.png

Anyone who says In-N-Out sucks just doesn't know what they're talking about.

tdm-35-icon.png

There is no In-N-Out in New York. Also no Shake Shack in California.

Arthur Bovino's picturetdm-35-icon.png

True! But maybe someday soon... We can dream.

tdm-35-icon.png

While we're at it, a Double Shackburger is $7.25, pre-tax. So more than double the price of a Double Double and almost twice the price of a Five Guys Double. So it really goes like this, for a double cheeseburger: In-N-Out @ $3.15; Five Guys @ $4.89 and Shake Shack at $7.25. For a single cheeseburger it is In-N-Out @ $2.05, Five Guys @ $3.69 and Shake Shack @ $4.75 These aren't state secrets and the price differences are not small. Do you actually read the menus?

Arthur Bovino's picturetdm-35-icon.png

This was a comparison of cheeseburgers, not of cheeseburgers to double cheeseburgers. And as noted above:

"Prices can vary depending on location, but let's take a look at how they stack up for a second. According to In-N-Out's site, a cheeseburger costs $4.12 ($3.75 plus tax). Similarly, looking at prices on Five Guys' site and on Menupages, their "Little Cheeseburger" (one patty, the regular cheeseburger is a double) costs in the range of $4.99 to $5.03. For the record, a Shackburger, which includes cheese, costs $4.50 pre-tax. You're gonna argue over a dollar? Same price range — give it a break."

There's nothing factually incorrect or misleading about the above statement. You can check the sourcing for the state secrets yourself. A comparison of prices of double burgers at each place reveals the following:

Double-Double® $4.90 + tax($5.38)
Cheeseburger (two patties) $6.19
Double ShackBurger $7.00

That's a difference in prices for these three burgers of about $2. To paraphrase the article, you're gonna argue over $1.50 for this kind of quality difference? It's essentially the same price range — give it a break

tdm-35-icon.png

No, WRONG. In-N-Out's Double Double is $3.15, pre-tax and a Five Guys equivalent is $4.89, pre-tax. Why not do this novel thing called "fact-checking" before hitting "Enter"?

Arthur Bovino's picturetdm-35-icon.png

See above.

tdm-35-icon.png

Did you guys happen to think the prices may vary by location/state? SoCal In-N-Out is cheaper than quoted in the article, but it wouldn't surprise me if it's more in NYC...

Arthur Bovino's picturetdm-35-icon.png

Exactly, thus the word, "range."

tdm-35-icon.png

See above. No In-N-Out in New York and no Shake Shack in California. The problem is that the article is mixing up prices for single and double burgers and then trying to compare them. The comparisons are all off.

Arthur Bovino's picturetdm-35-icon.png

No it didn't. See above.

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