The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

Some Burgers from June: Shake Shack, Joe Junior, and Tournesol

Shake Shack-ing originally took place on June 6.


When people ask me something about Shake Shack, their first question is usually, "Is it worth the wait?" You mean that ridiculous 45 to 90 minute wait? Oh, god, of course not. New Yorkers are just insane. Also, we don't have In-N-Out.

But I have to take that back (or add myself to the "insane" pile) because, for the first time, I subjected myself to an hour+ wait (90 minutes, perhaps)—admittedly, while passing the time talking to my friends on a nice, sunny day, but still a long enough time that I can see why non-Shake Shack lovers think those of us who are willing to queue for that long probably had lobotomies. And now that I have that experience under my belt, I would probably do it again. Because, as proven visit after visit, Shake Shack still makes my favorite burgers in New York City. There isn't even really a second option; for me, there's Shake Shack, and then there's everything else that fails to fill that void in my heart that says, "VACANCY FOR DELICIOUS BURGER ONLY."

Mm, innards.

Get the Shackburger (as opposed to the naker-er hamburger and cheeseburger, and unless you're ravenous enough to gnaw your arm off, you should only need a single patty). It's salty. It's greasy. It's moist. The meat has a flavor and a slight crust around the outside. The toppings are fresh and crisp. The cheese is gooey. The buns—good ol' squishy Martin's Potato Rolls—are buttered and toasted. The meat-to-bun ratio is spot on. I didn't know what my ideal burger was until I ate at Shake Shack and, after eating other burgers around the city, realized that most other burgers fail to adequately meet one (and sometimes all) of the aforementioned components.


And the burger accompaniments are also part of the "Why Shake Shack is Awesome" experience. Even though the fries are frozen and not freshly cut, I still like them. Because I'm not very picky when it comes to my deep fried carbs as long as they're crispy and salted.

mint chocolate chip ish

Their frozen custards have to be the best in the city—creamy and smooth, maybe the same texture as an angel's butt if their butt is made of frozen dairy products. They also keep things interesting by rotating different, mostly unconventional flavors each month that tend to taste unexpectedly...real. Like, "Whoa, this salted caramel actually tastes like salty caramel." I wasn't a big fan of the mint chocolate chip pictured above (it was one of their flavors in June), but their vanilla is probably my favorite vanilla-flavored anything at the moment. If their flavor of the day doesn't appeal to you, get the vanilla.

And the milkshakes are awesome. Thick creamy wondrous aahrgrahjayussfufucream (insert drool sounds).

I kind of trailed off at the end there.

Happy eaters, Greg and Terry.

In conclusion, I, like buttloads of other New Yorkers, love Shake Shack. In Madison Square Park, at least. I'm sure the Upper West Side location offers burger magic as well, but it loses a gazillion points for being park-less. (A good place to go if it's raining though. Or if you're in the Upper West Side, which I rarely am.)

Joe Junior

This originally took place on June 10.

Joe Junior
Joe Junior
Interior. Nice mirror action.

I have a soft spot for diners. They may not present the best deals or the best food, but they'll make just about anything you want (well, within the realm of "basic American food") and carry no pretensions. You can hang out with a group of friends while munching on french fries and chicken fingers until the wee hours of the morning and, unless your group is acting like a bunch of douchebags, they probably won't give a damn. Although I grew up in New Jersey, aka the Land of Diners, it's only been since I lived in New York City that I realized how valuable it is to have these establishments that are open until late at night, if not for 24 hours a day.

Joe Junior has been on my "to eat" list ever since reading Nick Solares' glowing review on AHT. I knew I wouldn't find Shake Shack-level deliciousness, but that wasn't what I was looking for anyway. Just a simple burger in a simple environment where I wouldn't have to wait an hour for my food.

Also, I wanted a milkshake.

cheeseburger (american cheese)
Burger and fries.

My cheeseburger wasn't as transcendental as Nick's, but it wasn't bad considering it was cooked to medium and still fairly moist. The double cheese action—one gooey slice on each side of the patty—helped in the non-juicy department. Sandwiching meat between layers of fatty processed cheese food = good idea. Sandwiching meat between layers of fatty processed cheese food stuck to soft, squishy burger buns = even better.

strawberry milkshake
Milkshake time.

The strawberry milkshake was great for the price, around $3. The texture was sufficiently thick and frothy, and I'm a fan of those huge metal tumblers they come in, aka "personal milkshake bucket."

Diana and Olia
Girls' night out..DINER-STYLE!

Diana and Olia seemed to like it too. Three out of three girls approve!


This originally took place on June 7.


Karen and I ate brunch at Tournesol in Long Island City before boarding a bus to attend Carol and Bryan's wedding in Long Island. (OMG, they're so married now. Check out my photos if you feel inclined, or this potentially tear-inducing video.)

BURGER with swiss

Of course, I ordered a cheeseburger. It didn't matter that it was a French restaurant; I feel some strange sense of obligation when it comes to burgers—that is, if I see it on a menu I should try it unless I have the inkling it's going to suck hard. Happy surprises can come out of this burger obsession, such as the garlic burger from Hon Cafe, although there was that one time I got a burger from a food truck in Manhattan that unfortunately filled every nook and cranny of "sucked hard."

Cheese...molten...pile of.

My burger came in a pool of molten swiss cheese. Can't say I was expecting that. Nor can I say the extra cheese around the edges really added much to the burger-eating experience since I didn't attempt to push it back onto the patty. Perhaps I should have.


Although this burger, like the Joe Junior burger, was also overcooked (got a medium when I asked for medium rare), it was less satisfying. It's not like it lacked fat—there was some meal liquid pooling action going on—but the meat's flavor wasn't enough to make up for what I felt was an unbalanced meat-to-bun ratio. I prefer fairly thin patties to unwieldy balls of meat (a contributing factor to my "muuuh" feelings towards Dumont Burger, even though the meat is flavorful). There may have been other reasons behind the dissatisfaction that I've forgotten by this point, but the overall impression was that, for $12, it didn't fill the burger void in my heart.

Mm, poached.

I wouldn't rate Tournesol on its burger alone. The eggs Florentine, two halves of toasted English muffins topped with spinach, poached eggs, and Hollandaise sauce, fulfilled all the good aspects of "bloated yolk-filled egg sacs coated in buttery emulsion on a bed of soft and crispy wheat matter." (Every part is a good aspect.) It's a good deal for only $8.50 considering it comes with a salad of baby greens and a pile of okay fries.

Tournesol seems like a nice neighborhood spot for the LIC-ers. Alas, I live in Bed-Stuy. Around the corner from a KFC.

Mm, Snickers.

Karen and I followed our meal by splitting a Snickers ice cream bar from a nearby bodega. Random craving perhaps, and a desire for just a small bit of something to satisfy our sweet tooths/teeth.


Shake Shack
Madison Ave and East 23rd St. Southeast Corner of Madison Square Park
New York, NY 10010

Joe Junior
167 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10003

5012 Vernon Blvd
Long Island City, NY 11101


John / July 19, 2009 10:00 PM

I am SO with you re: Shake Shack. To me, it is the undeniable king of NYC hamburgers. The "top burger" lists that don't have Shake Shack at or near the top instantly lose credibility for me. I recall this nytimes article about some burger club that meets to rank the burgers they ate and they had shake shack near the bottom. That pissed me off to no end.

michelle / July 19, 2009 10:47 PM

omg - can you imagine the line in front of In N Out if they ever came to the East Coast????? It would be monumental.

rels / July 20, 2009 12:19 AM

Yo girl,
Check out Black Iron Burgers in the east village if you haven't yet. Mighty fine.

roboppy / July 20, 2009 12:41 AM

John: I feel the same way. I wonder..if the haterz ate the same burger as me. :( Even when I don't eat the burger right away (sometimes we've gotten interns to bring burgers to the office...hehe) they're still freakin' awesome.

Christina: I love the pink. I hate it when people hate on the pink. Which happens. Then they all tell me I'm going to get food poisoning. And I probably will, WHATEVER I like my medium rare - rare burgers.

Michelle: It would be a mob. I'm alright with keeping it in the's a nice treat whenever I head out there! (I've only eaten at In-N-Out twice in my life, haha.)

rels: I went there with three friends and we were all lukewarm about it :( But I wouldn't mind trying it again! People seem to be mixed about it.

Elizabeth / July 20, 2009 11:25 AM

have you tried the 'shroom burger?! deep-fried puck of portobello mushroom with cheese oozing from the insides... omgoodness... then there is the double stack which is a mushroom puck on top of a burger patty.... and THEN for the crazies, there is the shack stack which has TWO burger patties and a mushroom puck. HEAVEN

Susan / July 20, 2009 12:27 PM

I just had double stack for the first time on Saturday. So crazy good! And we only had to wait 15 min at 12:00. A little too much cheese sploodge, but still delicious.

Margaret / July 20, 2009 7:13 PM

OOoomigawd, this post was total unashamed Patty Porn!!! Those Shake Shack crinkle fries are super cute. I never think of eating burgers when I visit NYC ... the Shack is on my list for next time.

roboppy / July 21, 2009 12:15 AM

Elizabeth: YES! The shroom burger is awesome! But I haven't had the shroom + meat burger..that sounds scary. (Someday. Maybe.)

Janice: I think I'd like the Dumont burger more if it came on a squishier bread...mine came on foccacia at least. Which seems wrong!

Susan: I tried a double once and while I did eat the whole thing (durh..I can't stop myself), I was ridiculously full afterward. Doh!

Margaret: NYC has so many burgers! Definitely check out SS next time you're here. I'd also recommend Diner in Brooklyn.

june2: It's yellow...or maybe it was yellow-er in real life.

janet / July 22, 2009 12:37 AM

lordy, what i would do to have a shake shack burger in front of me. or be in ny. or even a diner in nj. or even a dunkin donuts in nj. LE SIGH.

Cheryl C. / July 22, 2009 1:56 PM

Hey Robyn! My god,'ve had one burger-filled month! I finally made it to Stand near University and Royale in the E. Village, and the only thing that I really remembered was the fried pickles that accompanied each burger at Stand! I think I let my Stand burger sit too long (and therefore suffer in taste), as I was so entranced by the genius of the pickle! I also think both places made my burger too well-done. I wanted to try the 3rd Ave. Joe Jr. since I pass by it all the time, and since there was so much hoopla about the Greenwich/West Village location closing. The double-cheese-burger-sandwiching idea was really could I have never thought of that? Maybe I'll try it out. Living in Flushing with a shortage of late-night options has also been something I had to suffer through. All those years wasted when I thought that the generic diner burger was heavenly...;(

Nadia P / July 22, 2009 4:58 PM

Dude, the UWS isn't parkless. Now, I've never waited more than 20 minutes for my Shake Shack and I know in order to get the full effect, you must bite into the juicy, juicy burger asap.

The trick to the UWS: Right across the street from Shake Shack is the Museum of Natural History and get this, the restaurant is facing the back of the museum. Why is this key? Well, the back is a park! Complete with greenery and benches to inhale your burger and shake.

And PS, I once attempted to have a Double Stack (cheeseburger AND 'shroom) with a Natural History "Crunch-stellation" shake. It was gooey. It was heavy.

I'm lucky to be alive.

SuperChomp / July 22, 2009 8:31 PM

Wow, "plastic" cheese waterproofing your bread on either side actually IS a really good idea.

The Swiss cheese kinda looks as if it dropped onto your burger from a great height, at high speed. It makes me giggle. However, it does look like altogether way too much meat for the bun.

Your ShakeShack burger is very pink. Mmm, juicy.

roboppy / July 22, 2009 10:45 PM

JO: You eat a burger!

Janet: Come overrr!! You can stay with meee!

Nadia: Yeaaahhuhuuh Central Park..I don't know why I don't like Central Park more. (Cos I rarely go anywhere uptown? Ha ha.)But taking the burgers to the park sounds like a good idea. I WILL TRY IT.

I'm glad you survived.

SuperChomp: HAHA, I didn't look at the cheese in that way. It does look like it...splatted?

Yup, gotta waterproof those patties.

Anne / July 26, 2009 2:35 PM

The picture of the Shake Shack burger and fries are making me drool and remember the FAB burger we had there when we visited. You cannot get such a great burger in the UK and as for the milkshakes...yummy! I wish I could afford to fly over now for a burger!

eatyourheartout / July 27, 2009 2:18 PM

I have a soft spot for diners too - only when I feel... like eating "dirty" ;) And milkshakes. Basically if I'm feeling like throwing out on nutritional meals. Haha...

I've waited about 90+ minutes on Shake Shack. Only in the Upper West Side did it take 20 or so minutes.

roboppy / July 28, 2009 8:56 AM

Anne: I'm glad you got to try it! I heard the UK was low on tasty burgers...oh nooes.. :(

D: I'm afraid I usually don't keep nutrition in mind when I eat. EeehhcrraAAAAP!

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