Photo by Ellie Bozmarova
This story is a fiction piece, and it was created from my imagination.
Can you believe Shake Shack started out as a little old cart in formerly crummy Madison Square Garden in 2001?
In 2013, this writer first sampled the Shack’s tasty wares in Times Square (weird tourist choice, we know), and promptly returned to the around-the-block line for another burger. Wow!
This is true, as is this writer’s deep love for Shake Shack, even at the risk of offending lifelong West Coast affiliations to In-N-Out. Which is also great, because they give you stickers.
Also, this article is not a promotion, but a humble story of an emerging fictional trend in the Bay Area, particularly in Oakland, based on the true story of the writer’s partner accidentally making them go all the way to SF for a burger.
What is Shake Shack?
Shake Shack is like In-N-Out. You tell that to the average human being and they’ll be like, oh! It’s cheeseburgers and such. Yes, and shakes. Don’t forget the shakes.
Shake Shack likes to tell you its burgers are all angus everything, but this is not really what differentiates Shake Shack.
Instead, it’s the buns.
You know bread, at least you think you do. But you don’t know bread at all.
Unless you’re a food blogger or up-and-coming sourdough expert. Then you can pretend you know bread.
Potato buns are an east coast tradition involving replacing some wheat flour with potato flour, made from—you guessed it—potatoes.
These buns will shrivel your heart with sweet and savory glee.
They are what makes Shake Shack frighteningly good. That, and, we’re guessing extra casein in the cheese to make your brain melt.
If you want to just order the buns that Shake Shack uses, you’ll have to spend $1 per roll for St. Martin’s rolls on Amazon. Which is an option, but not a very fresh one when you can now just go to Oakland.
How People Are Ordering Out of SF
At the beginning of that ill-fated year, 2020, Shake Shack opened in San Francisco, in the Cow Hollow neighborhood. This neighborhood is a great place to go if you want to see white people not social distancing and drinking in public.
Then, using ill-gotten PPE loans (this part’s not fiction, #sorrynotsorry says CEO Daniel Meyer. Make no mistake: Shake Shack is a publicly traded company, not your local small-time burger joint) Shake Shack opened in Oakland.
What the New Shake Shack in Oakland is Like
If you visit the brand new Shake Shack in Oakland, you’ll feel disoriented, it’s true.
Everyone hovering around the building between Thomas L. Berkleey Way and 19th Street is approximately the same age (late 20s, early 30s), and the same secretly-wearing-pajamas vibe.
They are ravenous and glassy-eyed, seeking the solace of a potato bun hugging a burger.
The rest of the city is completely empty, boarded up, and graffitied to the buildings’ throats, but not Shake Shack.
What About In-N-Out?
Some believe that loyalty to In-N-Out is not possible if one also eats at Shake Shack.
This writer disagrees, but leaves readers to decide this for themselves. Just like people can have throuples and situationships, so can eaters eat multiple burgers from multiple chains.
Perhaps a taste competition a la Pepsi vs. Coca Cola is in order. We could have it at the Coliseum!
What About People Who Refuse to Eat Out Due to COVID-19 And Are Making Their Own Hamburgers?
Some folks are unwilling to risk COVID-19 germs and prefer to make their own potato buns and burgers at home. This is commendable and at times very challenging.
“Ronny slaughtered this cow last month,” said one woman. “It’s still fresh. We got a freezer out back,” pointing to a bulging box on her Oakland apartment’s balcony.
“Neighbors call the police because of the blood dripping everywhere but, hey, we’ve gotta eat!” She added.
According to food blogger Rebecca Blackwell, in one of those blogs where you scroll for twenty minutes before getting to the recipe, it takes an actual four hours to make potato buns.
Since the sourdough saga of mid-2020, we’re guessing people are game to spend half the day doing whatever it is one does to manifest Shake Shack’s potato buns.
Why Some Confused Visitors are Going to Shock Shack
Tourists who have no business wandering around are ending up at Shock Shack, a pop-up electrified ice cream shop across the street. People say the flavor is “blackout inducing,” but we’re not keen to try it.
Wait, So, What Happened That Made You Accidentally Order Out of SF?
It’s unclear to this writer what the circumstances were that led to her and her partner driving from the Shake Shack in Oakland to the one in SF to pick up their order, other than a subpar online ordering experience on Shake Shack’s website and/or app.
The location defaulted to San Francisco, maybe because the app didn’t get the memo that there’s a new Shake Shack in town.
We drove there anyway, and even picked up a Korean Gochujang “Chick’n” sandwich, which was pretty good. Why is it not called “chicken”?
The same could be asked of why these days almond milk is called “almondmilk” or “almond drink.” Does this mean the product is not what we think it is?
We’re too lazy to find out, but encourage you to ask yourself these pressing questions. That is, if you care what you consume, which you might not, if you’re reading this.
As the world evolves, so does technology, and so do our tastes, and the ability of large corporations to tell us what to do, and convince us we want to do it. Maybe Shake Shack is the new opiate of the masses.
If you haven’t tried the delicious, definitely a giant corporation posing as a local fast food spot, burgers at Shake Shack, don’t knock em yet! If you don’t know what a potato bun is, it’s your task for the day to GET to know what it is.
Double check the location.
Wear a mask.
Have a nice “chick’n” day.