If you live in New York City, you have probably been to the Shake Shack. If you have never been there, you have at least heard of it. It's a burger joint that opened a few years ago in Madison Square Park and has since spread out across the city and even to Miami. I don't know what it is about the burgers, but they sorta melt in your mouth and make you crave another one. The lines are always crazy long. The location in the park sometimes has a line that wraps around the block and you might have to wait for twenty or thirty minutes to get to the counter, but people do it. I do it. The beef is all natural I suppose with no hormones or any of that crap but I also think they sprinkle a bit of crack cocaine and meth in it just to make sure we come back. Having never seen the recipe, I can't say for certain that the burger is full of addictive and illegal narcotics, but I am about 80% sure. I went to a Shake Shack a few days ago to get my fix. As usual, the line was long and people were desperate to get a seat.
When I got in line, I immediately started scouting the room for a table. The place is sorta like a fast food restaurant in that you order and pay for your food at the counter and then just go find a place to sit. While in line, I saw a woman and child sitting at a four top reading books. I was about to go all bitchy waiter on their asses and ask them to move on if they had already eaten. Go to the library or Barnes and Nobel if you are just reading. I watched them the whole time I was in line. Eventually, I realized that they had someone who was in line for them and they were just holding to the table. Okay, fine. Then I saw two women sitting in a prime booth who only had a few french fries left. After I ordered my food, I sat on a bench next to them waiting for my number to be called and waiting for them to leave. I was not the only one who had spied them. Easily, three or four other people were watching those bitches like hawks. All of us waiting until the last french fry went into their mouths so we could swoop in and steal the table. Down the bench from me was a mother with her two kids who also wanted that booth. We jockeyed for position as the two women began to pick up their things. The mother was hustling her kids and things and practically sprinting to the booth. I must have been soft that day, because I decided to let the mom have the table. Blame it on the new year, but I was being nice.
My number was called and I got my burger and ate it at the less than ideal bench. But the food made up for my seat. I got a double and the meat was like a pat of butter. The bun was like a cloud. The cheese was like...uh...it was like...oh fuck, it was like cheese. Cheese is perfection. I wolfed it down along with my crispy crinkle cut fries and when it was all gone, I felt sad. I honestly thought about getting back in line for another, but by this time the line was out the door and down the sidewalk. I noticed that the mom had left her two kids at the booth. They were no longer eating and I figured that she went to the bathroom. People were circling that booth like a pack of wolves. I mean, here are two little kids sitting at a booth and they aren't even eating anymore. Meanwhile, the wolves are walking around with their trays of food needing a place to sit. Any minute, I expected someone to oust those kids. And yeah, the kids looked scared. I imagined that they felt like they were sitting on a blow up raft in the middle of the ocean when shark fins suddenly appear. From across the room, I hear, "Put your coat on the booth, Chelsea. PUT YOUR COAT ON THE BOOTH!" I looked over to see the mom in line again and now and making sure that everyone knew that fucking booth was claimed. Basically she was saying "Get the fuck away from the booth and my kids because I will be right here with another order of french fries, bitches."
People don't mess around at the Shake Shack. You gotta go there. And when you go, make sure you bring your jogging shoes, a strong will and maybe a big pointy stick if you want a place to sit. It ain't easy. But so worth it.
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