Shake or Softserve?

An unbiased review on Shake Shack

The restaurant is located in The School Yard strip mall at 11020 S State St, Sandy, UT 84070. The building was originally an old Historic Registry school building before it was constructed into Shake Shack, over ten years after the school closed.

The “In-n-Out of the East coast” my friends called it when they expressed their excitement that the burger chain from New York was opening a location here in Utah. 

I had never heard of Shake Shack until this summer when construction started on the new home of the restaurant in Sandy. However, the burger joint seemed to be the latest craze among Utahns, even before it opened. 

I was curious what all the rave was about. So on a Monday night, I went to the new location. It was difficult to find a parking spot near the building, but from what I heard, it was much less busy than the opening week in early August when there was a line going out the front door every evening.

As I walked into the new building, I immediately noticed the circular, modern lighting that hung above my head. The modern style was juxtaposed with chic and simple exposed brick that was kept from the original building. 

This circular LED light fixture is above the door entrance. The style of the building is very clean and modern.

A divider full of live plants split the room in half with wooden tables of all sizes on either side. There was a TV playing the Texans v Saints football game (Go Houston!) on one side, while on the other, a station full of board games sat, available for anyone to pick up and play.

There was a wall of windows as well as garage doors on one side looking out to the pavilion where more seating was available. Kids and adults alike played ping pong and cornhole outside next to the pavilion. 

The overall vibe of the building was very welcoming. I think the design created the perfect environment to enjoy food and spend time with friends.

The wooden tables and chairs have white and green trim, adding to the modern style and highlighting the plants in the room.



Now, for my favorite part: the food. The menu is not large; it features beef and chicken sandwiches as well as hot dogs. I was also surprised to see beer and wine options on the menu. Most burger joints I have been to do not offer alcohol (especially in Utah).

I ordered the classic ShackBurger with ShackSauce, crinkle-cut fries and a vanilla shake for me, as well as chicken bites for my brother. I was pleasantly surprised when I was handed a pager that would buzz to alert me when my food was ready. I think this is a much more efficient strategy than servers calling someone’s name, especially since the seating was so spread out. 

Although the line was long, it did not take long for me to get my food. My meal came on a metal tray and it was nicely laid out:

The ShackBurger

The ShackBurger features an all-natural beef patty. This was my favorite item of the meal.

My first impression of the burger was that it was small. However, at my first bite, I immediately knew it would be my favorite item. I could tell that the patty wasn’t machine pressed, but rather handmade. The meat was tender and seasoned really well. It was cooked to a nice medium rare and the flavor made you want to go in for another bite. 

The bun was lightly toasted, yet still soft. I also really enjoyed the ShackSauce. It added a tanginess to the burger that I found really delicious. I think the ShackBurger is different than any burger I’ve had at a fast-food restaurant mainly because of the meat. 

In fact, ShakeShack prides themselves on their website for only cooking “100% all-natural Angus beef” that is “vegetarian fed” with “no hormones or antibiotics EVER.” As Samuel L. Jackson said in Pulp Fiction, “This is a tasty burger!” 


The fries were good and well-seasoned. I feel like the crinkle-cut fries are unique as most restaurants serve regular cut.

Chicken Bites

The chicken bites were not my favorite. I particularly didn’t like the seasoning in the breading. It had a kick to it that I was not expecting and I thought it tasted more like KFC chicken than your typical fried chicken nuggets. 

The 10-piece chicken bites were $6.59, which I found expensive since it was not a full meal. In my opinion, it would be cheaper and more delicious to go to Chick-fil-A and get chicken nuggets. The 12-piece chicken nugget entree at Chick-fil-A is $5.45. However, at Shake Shack, the chicken is “100% all-natural cage-free.” So, if you are willing to pay the extra bucks for the quality, then Shake Shack might be for you.

Vanilla Shake

The vanilla shake was delicious, but it had the consistency of soft-serve ice cream rather than a shake.

My definition of a shake is ice-cream that you can drink through a straw. That is not what I was served at Shake Shack, however. Although the “shake” was served with a straw, I found that no matter how many times I tried, I could not get the shake to come up through the straw. No matter how long I waited for the shake to melt, I was still unsuccessful. 

So, I resorted to a spoon and discovered that the consistency of the “shake” was more like soft-serve ice cream. Although the flavor of the vanilla ice cream was great, I still couldn’t get over the fact that I couldn’t drink it with a straw.

As I look around the restaurant, others too were using a spoon to eat their “shakes.” Since Shake Shack is named after this item, I think it should be done right.

As I reflected at the end of my meal, I didn’t feel completely full. Granted, I went out to eat after a sweaty three-hour marching band rehearsal, but I still think the burger should be larger in size.

I thought the prices were reasonable. Although a burger from here is more expensive than from fast-food chains like McDonald’s, I think you are paying for better quality at Shake Shack. 

I thought the environment of the restaurant was very creative as it is appealing to both children and adults. There are sports and alcohol for adults contrasted by fun games for kids to play.  

Concrete ping-pong tables and a corn hole game were on the pavilion. They were available for anyone to play.

Although the shake was disappointing, I still think I would go back just because of the delicious burgers. I also think it would be a really fun place to go with friends because of the outdoor games. Though close to busy State Street, the traffic noise was not as loud as I expected and I think it would be a great hangout. 

If you love burgers like I do, I would recommend Shake Shack. Try it for yourself; but maybe don’t order a shake, especially if you’re taking your ShackBurger to go.

Do you like the shakes from Shake Shack?

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All photos were taken by Madison Hanna.