Slowly, steadily, Danny Meyer is changing the landscape of the burger world with Shake Shack. It all started in Madison Square Park in 2004 when he opened the first of his "roadside stands" serving burgers, hot dogs, and custards, which if you recall, closed during winter. Now there are six more locations in New York City (one in Brooklyn, and one introducing legions of Mets fans to the best thing to do in CitiField given the state of the team), and six more in Miami; Connecticut; Washington D.C.; Saratoga Springs, N.Y., Dubai, and Kuwait, with rumored plans for more on the way.
This was the year that I started beating the Shake Shack drum, noting to Californians and anyone else I could find, that Shake Shack is better than In-N-Out, better than Five Guys, and better than most other burgers you'll find in New York, and anywhere else in the country.
It's a hard sell, but most people, if they're open-minded and honest, usually do come to the same conclusion (unless you're The New York Times restaurant critic, in which case you trash on it but still give it one star). It was also the year that more of Shake Shack's nuances (and "secret" menu) were revealed. You can for example, ask for you burger with pickles and onions, for an even better burger, one with crunchy tang and vinegary flavor. And for these reasons this dish made my list of most memorable meals of 2011.