Travel Like A Boss: Le Parker Meridien’s Burger Joint – Secret New York Food Spots Part I


While it’s really not the best kept secret in all of midtown Manhattan, The Burger Joint, tucked inside of the Parker Meridien is certainly a gastronomic underdog.

About 10 years ago, this local favorite was essentially created from scratch, carved from a tiny nook toward the back of the reception area and modeled after a greasy spoon you would find somewhere in the Midwest. Replete with wood-paneled decor, cheesy movie posters and impromptu scrawling on the walls, the Joint is so popular with the neighborhood that the lunch line forms before they open at 11 a.m. and doesn’t die down until way into the afternoon – only to pick up again just before dinner. The menu, aimed at the heart of the minimalist, consists of burgers, fries, beer, soda and shakes – nothing else. Under advisement from the super friendly staff, we ordered the works on a medium burger with fries.

With so many burgers in the ring for best burger in NYC, we were unsure how the Joint’s take on the revered beef patty would compete, but take our word for it; this is definitely up there with the best. It’s just the right amount of succulence you want in a burger. With the bun toasted just right, and the mustard ketchup combo, you have to wonder what the other guys are doing wrong. Well, we may know that secret. The Burger Joint employs a full-time butcher, working around the clock processing only the best beef money can buy – no additives, no spices, just great beef. The answer may lie in the freshness.

The most exclusive hamburger in the United States

Hamburgers at NYSENew York is home to some amazing burger joints. The Burger Joint in the Parker Meridien hotel, a handful of Shake Shack locations and Burger Burger down on Stone Street topped the list for me … until I found some incredible sliders in an unusual place.

Skip all the city’s hottest dining destinations, and march yourself down to Wall Street. No, I’m not joking. There’s an amazing hamburger at 11 Wall Street, just in from the corner of Broadway and Wall. Those of you who work in the neighborhood are probably feeling a bit confused right now. That’s the address for the New York Stock Exchange!

Yep, exactly.

One of the most recognized and important financial centers in the world is also where you’ll find some incredible eats.

Though you’re probably most familiar with the bustling exchange floor that you’ve seen on CNBC, there’s a lot more going on inside that building, which is closed to the general public. To get into the NYSE, you need a reason, and to sample the fare, it has to be an important one.

I found myself at the NYSE a few weeks ago for a closing bell ceremony with IR magazine. After the bell announced the end of the trading day, I joined the other guests at a cocktail reception in an elegant space clearly designed to exude the gravity of both the building and the reasons people have for being in it. The hors d’oeuvres passed by carefully clad waiters was of a caliber you’d expect to find only at the most prestigious restaurants in the city, and nothing disappointed.

But, those burgers

Despite the fact that I find myself at some upscale eateries, I have a penchant for pedestrian grub that I’ll never overcome. I can’t resist a great hot dog, and a carefully crafted hamburger, for me, is heavenly.

A waiter walked by me with a tray of sliders, and it never occurred to me to decline. Confession: passing on these tasty treats didn’t occur to me after this scenario was repeated several times.

The burgers were tiny (duh – sliders), taking a mere two bites to consume. The fact that they disappeared so quickly is probably part of the reason why I had so many, though both taste and my absurd appetite doubtless contributed. Perfectly prepared, they were somewhere a tad south of medium, leaving them juicy but not dripping … perfect for eating with nothing more than a cocktail napkin between the burger and your hand.

The meat itself came just short of the edge of the bun. At first thought, this may seem meager, but experience proves otherwise. When I chomp into a big burger, I want the flesh to pass the bun and hang over the side, reinforcing the feeling that I’m biting into something that’s undeniably substantial. With sliders, however, this doesn’t work well. Passed hors d’oeuvres mean eating while standing, and a higher risk of spilling something on yourself. The lack of overhang reduces this risk, allowing you to eat and enjoy worry-free. While this is a plus for the average person, it’s incredibly important to me (I tend to spill).

Nothing, frankly, compares to sinking your teeth into one of these sliders. The burst of flavor is powerful. The outside of the burger is slightly crisp, though the inside is soft and moist. In two bites – three or four if you’re a normal person – it disappears, and you’re left hunting for a waiter. After all, you don’t want to wait for everyone else to take one!

So, how do you get the chance to dine on these delicacies?

While it helps to know somebody who knows somebody, your best bet is to have a friend (a) whose company is going public and (b) who is important enough at that company to be able to score an invitation for a guest who doesn’t work for that company at all. Good luck with that

Of course, you could always come up with a great idea, start company, make it fabulously successful and go public on the NYSE.

Until then, however, you’ll have to be content to drool.

[Photo courtesy of IR magazine]

Five American-style North Korean restaurants for foodies

This may not have been the case a few years ago, but Pyongyang is definitely on its way to becoming a culinary destination … well, maybe not. Nonetheless, it is pretty wild that the self-isolating regime has let slip some pretty wild information about the dining options available in the capital. If you can finagle a way into North Korea and somehow get yourself a bit of freedom to move, there are now some interesting restaurants for you to visit.

Swing an eating trip to Pyongyang, and you may find yourself munching on the familiar. There are several western-style restaurants popping up in this strange city, so eating like a local may mean eating like you’re home.

Let’s take a look at five restaurants in Pyongyang and how you could scarf that grub in style:1. Okryu Restaurant: just opened last week, this soon-to-be hot spot garnered a mention by the Korea Central News Agency, which means its launch was intended to be made public. The claim is that this place can accommodate thousands of customers, so live on the edge and skip making a reservation.

2. Samtaesung:
a relatively new addition to the Pyongyang culinary scene, this burger joint is open 24 hours a day and still recommends making reservations to pick up your food. This is a place to see and be seen, especially if you’re tight with the regime: Kim Jong-il‘s sister, Kim Kyong-hui, is said to benefit personally from all the cash spent there.

3. Pizza (no name given): dine on pies with ingredients shipped in from Naples and Rome. The first North Korean pizza parlor is said to have been created at the request of Kim Jong-il himself, so you know the quality is going to be top notch! So, without a name, how can you expect to find the place? Ask where the pizza joint is; it’s not like there are dozens.

4. Beach (outside the city): get outside of Pyongyang, and you still have some options. In Wonsan, at the beach, you can find even more pizza. Just remember to wait at least 20 minutes before jumping back into the waves!

5. Cubby’s: this is the restaurant that never happened in Pyongyang. Originally the dream of a New Jersey BBQ joint owner, plans to expand Cubby’s to Pyongyang were explored. The owner, Bobby Egan, befriended some North Korean diplomats assigned to the United Nations in New York City and even took a few trips over to his buddies’ homeland. Alas, according to his recent book, the plans for a DPRK franchise never came to fruition.

[photo by John Pavelka via Flickr]

Culinary travel tale: exploring Malaysia’s complicated cultural feast

Two weeks after I arrived in Kuala Lumpur, it was all over the news: an American fast-food chain had accidentally sold thousands of non-Halal beef burgers to nearly as many Muslim Malaysians. Panic streaked across radio airwaves and through the devout. Religious leaders issued decrees absolving the unsuspecting sinners. I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about, so my roommate, a beautiful local-born but Canadian-educated environmental researcher, tried to explain. “Food in Malaysia can be… complicated,” she smiled sheepishly.

* * *

My first morning, with the crunch of 12-hour jetlag in my bones, I walked to work alongside a 10-lane highway. Warned about purse-snatchers on motorcycles who had pulled a woman to her death a few days before, I clutched a cloth purse to my right hip. The sun was a low-hanging orb, fuzzy on the edges from smog and dust, and the humidity made moving feel like swimming. In a nondescript concrete office building beside the Eastin Hotel Petaling Jaya, I trudged into the cheap restaurant where I’d been told I could find breakfast.

On a flickering backlit plastic sign, an oversized piece of white bread floated in midair alongside two yellow-yolked eggs, over easy. Of all the pictures that ran along the back of this long, fluorescent-lit eatery, these Western symbols of breakfast were the most familiar. They were also the least appealing. My top lip was coated in a film of perspiration, my pink cotton v-neck already felt heavy in the oppressive early-morning heat. I stared searchingly at lines of text, rows of small black letters, unfamiliar and intimidating in Bahasa Melayu.

To my left, on a small green and white speckled arborite table, a tiny woman in a dark blue hijab and rounded Elton John glasses tore at something that looked like bread and dipped it in something else that looked like gravy. “That,” I pointed to her table. “Please.” The bushy-moustached man behind the counter raised his eyebrows incredulously, but put out a matching tray. “Roti tissu,” he pointed to the bread. “Curry. Fish,” he pointed to the sauce. With a hungry rumble in my stomach, I picked an inward-facing table against the wall, and watched my food as warily as the people behind the counter were watching me. Imitating the small woman’s right-handed scooping technique, I mopped some of the greasy bread, thinner than a crepe and crisp brown on one side, through the lumpy brown-red sauce.

It was sublime.

* * *

As I sat beside a chlorine-blue pool on an orange plastic beach chair, lychee juice dripped down my forearms and onto my thighs. I was completely alone on the large concrete patio beneath my all-Chinese and expat condo building, surrounded by palm trees and razor wire. I licked the fragrant, sticky liquid off my fingers. I wanted to call home, to hear a familiar voice, but it was the middle of the night where everyone I loved lived. The night before, my new roommate, Shaheera, had taken me to a pasar malam (night market) in downtown Kuala Lumpur. The smells and colourful chaos of the busy streets had been paralyzing. Overwhelmed and fearful of drawing attention to myself, I panicked and bought a giant woven basket of lychees at the first stand we passed. The hoary brown fruits had looked only slightly less alien than their similar-tasting Muppet-like rambutan neighbors.

“Are you sure?” shyly asked my wide-eyed companion. “We just got here.” Passing fresh fruit juice stands, rows of bootleg CDs and little old ladies preparing ketayap, a sweet crepe-like pastry filled with palm sugar and grated coconut, I couldn’t buy anything else; my arms were wrapped around a beach ball-sized fruit container. With forced bravado and a sinking heart, I carried the basket all the way home. The next day, surrounded by what seemed like hundreds of brown lychee skins and their oblong pits, covered in fragrant juice and driven by heat, hunger and loneliness, I had finished them all.

* * *

The smoky smell of pork ribs wafted inside from the patio, where platters of fresh exotic fruits (dragon, kiwi, longan and Chinese gooseberries) sat beside a heaping bowl of coleslaw. I had been invited to a barbecue hosted by a woman, trained as a journalist, who had cared for me as a child in Canada many years ago. Disappointed with her career prospects in the West, she had returned to Kuala Lumpur, where she was born. Her new boyfriend, Larry, was still someone else’s husband. His two children, at home with their mother in Louisiana, smiled brightly out of a photograph on a wooden table in their entryway. I was told this situation is common in Malaysia.

Bent over the barbecue, Larry was wearing a light blue apron with an alligator on it, his face shiny and red from the heat. He was making his favourite, long slabs of very non-Halal Cajun-style pork ribs. The crowd was made up entirely of Chinese people, plus me and Larry. The fact that Chinese and Muslim Malaysians rarely associate, something that was incredibly discomfiting when I arrived, didn’t feel quite as strange. It was on this well-appointed garden patio that I first heard a term used to refer to native Muslim Malays: bumiputras. Literally, it means “sons of the soil.” Behind me, someone scoffed. “Worms,” they said, in a low, nasty voice. After that, every time I saw my Malaysian friends and colleagues laughing and chatting, this voice rang in my ears.

* * *

On one of our weekends off, Shaheera took me to an open-air food market in Taman Tun, her hometown neighbourhood. She went to a Canadian university and studied environmental science before she moved back home to “KL,” as she called it. She was one of the few Muslim women I knew who didn’t wear hijab, and she was proud of the strength of her faith. Shoeless, welcomed into her family home for jasmine tea, I admired the pictures she showed me of her mother, raven-haired and stunning, wearing long see-through gauzy sleeves. This is what women used to wear, she said, before the extremists came to power.

We walked up a few steps to the raised market, near her family home, and she explained the system. The platform is lined with stands offering every kind of food you could possibly imagine, and you order from one stand at a time. The owners of the stand deliver the dish to your table. Each family has a specialty; her favorite was char kway teow so I tried it first. It was familiar, tasting like pad thai, but the thick rice noodles and small clams and shrimp were practically burnt in the searing pan in which it had been prepared. The edges of the noodles were caramelized and flecked with chilli sauce, the crisp bean sprouts were crunchy and sweet. And that was only the first course.

Despite the thick humidity of the summer evening, we shared a steaming bowl of asam laksa, a spicy fish gravy soup with chewy shrimp cake, round udon noodles and hunks of tart pineapple, with a dusting of cilantro, peanuts and dried anchovies. We were seated on a raised gray concrete platform at a folding plastic table, eating with flat metal cafeteria cutlery, but we might as well have been at the finest restaurant in the world. There were roast chicken, fresh fruit juices and sweetened pulled tea delivered to the table; and tom yum ayam, a blistering-hot lemongrass soup with chicken, subtly scented with fragrant galangal root and kaffir lime leaves. I ordered the latter in stammering, hesitant Bahasa Melayu. The men at the carts didn’t speak much English; I mustered what I could.

The meal was transcendent. I never wanted it to end. Half a world away from where I was born, in the company of people who had never eaten a single piece of bacon or a pork cutlet, I fell in love with food, and fell hard. As we ate, dish after dish, Shaheera told me long, winding tales of life as a modern Malaysian. She detailed the history and stories of each dish, tales of the coastal Nonya people who introduced flavors of the sea to local cuisine, of poor villagers who sustained themselves with engorged pineapples and stinky durian, pulled from wild jungle plants in times of hardship, and of Chinese spice traders who moored their boats in the southwestern port city of Melaka, fell in love, and decided to make a life for themselves in the hot, complicated country.

* * *

Half a world away from where I was born, in the company of people who had never eaten a single piece of bacon or a pork cutlet, I fell in love with food, and fell hard.

Weeks later, it was midnight and Shaheera and I were prying open dozens of clams and dipping them in dark-tasting bean sauce at a roadside stand. We took short breaks from cracking their tiny gray shells to devour yet another plate of sticky, charred sticks of chicken satay fired by a wizened old man and a small boy over a grill that was nearly in a lane of traffic.

Teenagers and young Muslims, noisy youths in jeans and their gorgeous female companions in rhinestone headscarves, gathered in clumps under strands of large multicolured Christmas lights and a giant gold and green-illuminated palm tree. Drinking sugary pop, they licked the rich, spicy peanut sauce from their fingers. Only 20 feet away, cars zoomed past along an eight-lane highway, separated from us by only a bent chain-link fence. Sitting in comfortable, satiated silence, I was no longer an intruder in their world of noisy color, scent and sound.

* * *

Near the end of my four-month stay, Shaheera, a Danish colleague and I were invited to an exclusive forest estate that belonged to a 60-or-so-year-old prestigious Muslim Malaysian who had worked for the United Nations for decades. Sitting in the front passenger seat, this refined, debonair man told us he had a soft spot for young Western women because we’re spunkier than our Islamic counterparts. We reminded him of New York City. Beside him, our driver eyed our uncovered heads with a mixture of suspicion and lechery. Driving past rice paddies, jungles and mountains, we eventually arrived at a boat launch, where we boarded a long wooden boat amidst a small herd of nearly naked boys, all leaping and diving and dunking each other in the murky water along the shore. Listening and watching for monkeys, we cruised towards the huge, secluded jungle property and its guest cottages. That night we slept in down-stuffed mattresses and fell asleep to the raucous calls of hornbills as fireflies hovered outside our windows. We spent the next morning catching fish with one of our host’s employees in a small metal boat, then watched in awe as his personal chef, under a long, thatched roof, spent an entire day preparing food for a princess.

“A real princess?” we asked with a mixture of adult sarcasm and childlike awe.

That afternoon, she arrived with three bodyguards and a small entourage for an early evening feast that was held on a large patio that hovered over the water. We ate stuffed, grilled fish, at least five of them, alongside metal plates filled with curries, vegetables, and a strangely scented green pod called petai (or, as we found out later, “stinky beans”) that was mixed with the chef’s own belachan. This latter concoction was a blend of chillies and dried shrimp paste that, even today, makes my heart beat faster. Two excellent bottles of red wine, 1994 vintages from Burgundy, sat on the table.

To the happy clattering of cutlery and glassware, we made polite small talk with the princess about her country and the hospitality of our host. “Malaysian food is amazing,” I said. “We eat food this good almost every single night.” Shaheera gasped. The entire table went silent, every head turned towards me and the princess’s eyes blazed with anger. “I mean… this is definitely the best so far… but the food really is… quite…,” I grasped for words as I felt my cozy integration slipping away. Our host smiled a tight smile, and with a gracious turn towards his prestigious guest, took the reins of the conversation and moved it away from what Shaheera later explained had been my almost unforgivable faux pas. While religious edicts banning alcohol didn’t apply that night, it appeared as if rules of wealth still did.

* * *

Gazing out the window as my plane lifted off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport, I chided myself for thinking that I could gain a complete understanding of an entire culture in a single well-spent summer. But I suddenly realized that I had learned something else: I hadn’t been able to become part of this complicated country that I now loved, but I had tasted it. With my taste buds as translator, I had been given a chance to understand. And perhaps that was all I could have asked for.

Karen Pinchin has worked as a reporter, editor and freelancer at numerous news organizations, including the CBC, Maclean’s, Newsweek International, The Globe and Mail, The Georgia Straight and The Canadian Press. Her website is www.karenpinchin.com.

[Photos: Flickr | mingthein; avlxyz; mingthein; avlxyz; Laurel Fan]

Four views of Shake Shack burgers in New York City

The line always seems to be long in Madison Square Park. Shake Shack, known for its burgers as well, always draws a crowd, and it isn’t unusual to spend an hour or more waiting to sink your teeth into its greasy delights. I’ve done it, and I know I’m not alone. Well, the stand’s popularity has led to expansion, and there are now four locations across Manhattan, with a fifth in Queens at Citi Field. Since those that follow never compare to the original, I was curious as to how they all compare. Could the concept withstand such rapid growth?

I set out with the noblest of intentions. Fellow travel blogger and friend Laurie DePrete (who took some of the photos) and I planned to hit the four Manhattan Shake Shacks on one Saturday afternoon. Scott Carmichael reached out to me over Twitter just wish me luck and let me know I was nuts (thanks, Scott). With my heroic appetite, I planned to down a double cheeseburger and fries at each location: Upper West Side (Columbus Ave and W. 77th Street), Upper East Side (E. 86th Street between Lexington Ave and Third Ave), Madison Square Park (Madison Ave and E. 23rd Street) and Midtown (Eighth Ave and W. 44th Street) – in that order.

My plan was to start on the Upper West Side, where I live, cut across Central Park to the Upper East Side, shoot down to Madison Square Park and then cut up and over to Midtown. Fatigue and the prospect of getting full never entered my mind. Neither ever does.

Below, you’ll find the results of my excursion, a look at the four Shake Shacks in Manhattan:

Eating all this @shakeshack food will be tough. 4 in all! RT @ScenebyLaurie: Stop #2 on the #NYC @shakeshack crawl http://4sq.com/covAmRless than a minute ago via ÜberTwitter

1. Upper West Side

This was the second Shake Shack to pop up, and I was excited to have an option close to home. The line frequently stretches around the corner onto W. 77th Street, though it’s rarely as intimidating as the original at Madison Square Park. On the Saturday I undertook this endeavor, the line was short, and I was able to order in about 10 minutes. Seating was tight, as expected, by Laurie and I were able to grab a spot on the counter, standing but with some space.

Needless to say, I enjoyed the cheeseburger, a double, but it struck me that I’d have to change course to survive the day. Though the burgers are a bit small (at all locations), they are filling. On the Upper West Side, expect to find the fare a little less greasy but still enjoyable. The taste was a bit flat. You’ll still be happy as you chomp away, but there better Shake Shack options in the city.

Where the Upper West Side restaurant stands out is in seating. There is plenty of it indoors, and don’t forget to look downstairs if you find the street level to be crowded. Also, there’s a bathroom on the premises, which is always helpful when you eat burgers and gulp lemonade.

After this first stop, we agreed to walk to the next location. To make it through four, it seemed like a good idea to move around a bit in between to keep the blood flowing … and the extra pounds at bay.

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2. Upper East Side

Unlike the first stop, I wasn’t hungry when I got to this one – but I wasn’t not hungry. I switched to a single cheeseburger and fries, cognizant of the road ahead. From across E. 86th Street, I saw that the line was out the door, but my concerns receded as I got closer. The stretch up the stairs from the cash registers to the front door isn’t long, so I figured the line would move quickly (it did). To help the process along, there are menus hanging outside, and a Shake Shack staffer walks by periodically to hand them out.

Seating inside is a bit scarce, but there’s plenty outside, perfect on a day like the one we used to tackle the four Shake Shacks. And, like the Upper West Side, there are bathrooms on the premises. The décor is a bit sleeker on the Upper East Side than in the other locations, and the staff was swift: the lines moved quickly because they moved quickly, too.

I was impressed by the burgers on the Upper East Side. They were soft and moist – nice and greasy, which is how a burger from the Shack should be. Hold yours with the wrapper to keep your shirt from getting drenched (learn from mistake I’ve made a number of times on visits to Shake Shack). As for taste, this spot’s burger was bursting. I devoured it shamelessly.

When I tried to stand from the bench in the outdoor dining area, I came to the realization that I didn’t want to. I was three burgers and two orders of fries into the adventure, and I was full … with two more locations to go. I was satisfied – and I definitely wasn’t hungry any longer. I was also tired. I turned to Laurie and saw a look implying the same feeling, but we decided to soldier on, slogging over to the subway for a ride down to Madison Square Park.

This project was becoming work.

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3. Madison Square Park

The original was our third stop simply for logistical reasons. Given the starting point and the way the subways work, it made sense to take this one on third. Also, we’ve both eaten there countless times, so we had a reasonable benchmark against which to compare the Upper East Side and Upper West Side locations.

As we walked through the park, a familiar sight emerged: a long line. We braced ourselves for a wait of at least half an hour before realizing that we needed it. I’d be able to rest my stomach for a while, try earnestly to build up an appetite again and prepare myself for the home stretch. I sat on the ground for a moment to gather my courage.

You’ll find free water at every Shake Shack location, and at this point we needed it. I headed over to pick up a few cups from the urn (the other three have running water) and rehydrated, something I’d been neglecting. Slowly, we advanced to the counter, where I ordered another single and fries. I wasn’t eating to alleviate hunger at this point, I was just looking for the taste.

The original remains the best. Grease dripped from the burger (though not as much as on the Upper East Side), and the familiar flavor erupted in my mouth. The first bite was incredible – everything you’d expect a burger from the Shack to be. It was soft, warm and thoroughly enjoyable. Then, I looked down at my tray and saw that I still had the rest of the burger in front of me. I was only able to make it through half – likewise for my fries – before deciding I had enough information and giving up.

While Madison Square Park wins on taste, the surroundings can be a challenge. There is lots of seating, but it’s all outdoor. Given that the crowds tend to be largest here, they fill up quickly. During the lunch rush, with people spilling out of the nearby office buildings, you may have trouble finding a chair anywhere. Protect your food from the occasional bird (I speak from experience), and bring change for the bathroom (a freestanding public one is your only option, and it’ll set you back a quarter).

After giving up before finishing, groaning and shaking our heads, we decided to keep going. Again figuring it would be a good idea to keep the blood flowing, my burger buddy and I started the trek back uptown, dreading the final stop. It was getting close to 10 PM, leaving us just enough time to get to the Midtown location – our final stop on the Shake Shack tour. My feet felt heavier with each step. My stomach hinted that a mutiny was on the horizon. After swapping knowing glances, Laurie and I decided to leave the Eighth Ave location for another day.

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4. Eighth Ave

We waited a little over a week before resuming the tour, a natural reaction to overloading your body with some of the finest burgers New York City has to offer. Situated on Eighth Ave, I expected this restaurant to have frightening wait and no available seating. It’s close to Times Square and Port Authority, which led me to believe there would be endless tourist traffic. To my surprise, however, the line lasted only about 15 minutes. As on the Upper East Side, Shake Shackers armed with menus came out periodically to help people make their decisions before getting up to the counter to order.

The Midtown Shake Shack offered a tasty burger (I found Madison Square Park and the Upper East Side to be better) that came fairly quickly. It wasn’t terribly greasy but was enjoyable nonetheless. Seating was tough, as people seemed to take a bit more time with their meals while the kitchen was able to turn over orders quickly.

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Like the other indoor locations, the Midtown spot had bathrooms for customers. To use them, though, you needed to enter a code on the door. Unlike most places, which use a token or a key from the counter, Shake Shack was savvy enough to put the code on every receipt, minimizing the time it takes to get where you need to go. The Eighth Ave restaurant also had a more powerful faucet for water, which led to shorter lines for those fighting thirst. It’s clear that the company learned a few lessons before opening its newest space.

Getting the last of the #manhattan @shakeshack stops in!!! (@ Shake Shack w/ @scenebylaurie) http://4sq.com/dhBg7Bless than a minute ago via foursquare


And that was it.

Toiling through four Shake Shacks, even if the last was left for a later date, was far more challenging than I expected, and I learned just how much my stomach can hold. If you’re headed to Manhattan, it’s worth visiting one Shake Shack – but only one. Don’t try to cram them all into a demented burger tour. You really are only hurting yourself if you do.