Friday, June 8, 2012

Much ado about Philly's new Shake Shack

I had every intention today of walking into the city as I tend to do when I'm off from work or doing a little weekend exercise and sitting down to eat at the new Shake Shack on the corner of 20th & Sansom.  The advance hype for the place was somewhat high among my foodie friends and my experience with their Oatmeal Creme Pie custard was nothing sort of heavenly so I expected it to be busy there.  Additionally, I remember all the talk up in NYC about their website having surveillance cameras displaying the lines of people in wait so that folks could project whether or not they could make a purchase from the Shack in advance of getting there only to find shock and awe.

Well...I found shock and awe this afternoon when I finally arrived at that corner where the newest installment to the Shake Shack family set up shop. The line was gargantuan and I can freely admit that in all the times I've ever gone to eat somewhere or just wanted to eat at a particular place here in Philly, I have never encountered a line that long. Admittedly, I happened to get there at 12:30 in the afternoon on a Friday so that may have been one of the most inopportune times.  Consider that they eatery is still only just two days old.  It is a payday for many city workers and it is the beginning of the weekend for many of us lucky enough to not work weekends. Yeah, I should have planned this out a little better.

Unfortunately, this time out there will be no photos of delicious custard or what I'm sure must be tasty burgers.  All you'll see is that huge line that I ran into. 

All that I can make note of was how helpful the one Shack employee was who got the job of standing outside with the line, passing out menus to those who wanted to see it and make their choices before they gained entrance.  The guy was really friendly and helpful, almost never ceasing to walk up and down the line checking with people and letting them know what they average wait time was from where they stood. He told me that while the Philly Shake Shack may have been packed pretty much since the time they opened two days ago, he'd experienced 2 1/2 hour wait times in New York - this forty minute wait wasn't really that bad.

A small cackle went off inside my head that I stifled so as not to seem like a douche.  Surely, he didn't know there were a TON of excellent burger joints in Philly.  Why would I stand in line and wait nearly an hour when there was a place that literally housed my favorite burger in the city right across the street? The Shack worker then helped me out as we stood there for a moment close to the entry door.  When I asked him when were the crowds at their lightest, he told me that during the week around 3-5 in the afternoon looked to be the smallest.  I thanked him for his help and bid him a good day.

With a few events coming up that will be keeping me busy, I plan to totally take him up on his recommendation and hit up Shake Shack in the late afternoon for perhaps an early dinner.  Though I was a little disappointed today, it didn't deter me from wanting the Shack experience in the least bit.  If anything I'm a little more excited about my first time dining there because of the insane line it had!

To nail it home a little better about how spot on that Shack worker was...a good pal of mine, Mary Brickthrower dined there today.  We were supposed to eat together but she feared what became my reality from arriving too early in the day.  What time did she get there?  Right around 3 pm.  The text I received after she finished was:  "Oh em gee...SO good!"

Damn, how I hate not being the first kid on my block.

1 comment:

  1. There is actually a "cold" line too - which is MUCH shorter - for people that are only ordering drinks and shakes. SO. GOOD.