The other night I was in DC and realized that a.) Rogue States shut down, and b.) Shake Shack had opened in Dupont Circle. And I hadn’t been yet. It was a pleasant evening (rare at this time of year) and I was walking from Chinatown to Dupont so I googled Shake Shack and then several blocks later there it was. Line and all. I got in line for some custard, but the flavor was banana bread and I was, well, nonplussed. However, the custard calendar for June revealed that on Saturdays they served Coffee & Donuts flavored custard, which meant a return trip was most definitely in order.
Having been to the New York location, I already knew I’d be getting a Shack burger with my custard. And the only way to offset this massive indulgence (and stay awake through the rest of the day and the evening’s plans) was to dig my bike out of the apartment building’s basement storage area, pump up the tires, scrounge around for a pair of bike shorts, and ride like the wind into town Saturday morning. By my English major-y calculations, if I left at 9:59 on the dot, I’d be arriving just in time to be first (or second, or third) in line for yummies. That was the plan.
No one was as suprised as I was when, at 11am, I found myself still on the couch recovering from a Friday night bender. Ugh. (Where did I lay those best laid plans they talk about?) But at 11:05 I found the inner fortitude, the strength, and the bike computer I’d been looking for, and headed out to capture my prize- a delicious lunch.
After a ride on the Capital Crescent Trail and some hairy traffic circles (more on my thoughts about road bikes on the roads downtown later) I executed a nifty U-turn in the middle of Connecticut Ave. and pulled up in front of the Shack.
There were only a few folks in the line out the door, but of course there’s a line inside too. Because the nice folks at the Shack don’t want you to feel lonely. You can always tell a Shack newbie- they stand in line for a minute, look at all the folks ahead of them, and then give up. They. Don’t. Know.
Creamy, delicious, with very low overrun making custard so dense you could spackle a wall in your house with the stuff. Not that you’d want to- the coffee flavored custard is perfectly bolstered by freshly shredded doughnut. Went for that first.
The burger was everything I remember and more: Thick, juicy, tastier than Five Guys (sorry, fellas, but this one needed no A1, no ketchup, no nuffin) and so big I didn’t leave bits of bun on my tray (unlike with Rogue States). Didn’t care for the special sauce, but my mommy loves me anyway. Overall a good burger and a nice addition to the slow fast food scene. I plan to go back before the end of the month to sample their Boston Cream Pie (Monday) and maybe the Black Raspberry (Thursday).
Also on offer: hot dogs (including a chicken dog), single and double burgers, a portobello burger, floats, shakes, sundaes, Concrete (custard with mix-ins), wine and a house beer, and a Pooch-ini for your 4-legged friend that includes vanilla custard, doggie biscuits, and peanut butter (which actually sounds pretty good). The website includes nutritional info and gluten free options.
The menu is pretty much the same as anywhere else, but we have three local Concreations: the Presidential Sweet (vanilla custard, peanut butter sauce, marshmellow, and chocolate covered caramel chunks), Washington Monu-Mint (chocolate custard, minted marshmallow, and chocolate cookie dough), and the Majority Whip (vanilla custard, crepe crispies, seasonal fruit, and whipped cream).
Since I’m feeling expansive (not unlike my waistline after this feast), the first person who comments on this post in the Wordpress blog (not on the Facebook crosspost) will get treated to lunch (burger or dog, fries, some kind of custard, and a drink) and an impromptu photo session- yup, the Digustation will be Blogged.
The D.C. Shack was opened in the old Fuddrucker’s space, and has been refurbed with dark-ish wood and tv monitors. There’s plenty of seating for all, provided you hit it at the right time of day. I got there around noon-ish, got food closer to one, and by the time I left (see first picture) the line was all inside.
I had a great time chatting up the other folks waiting- met a guy whose church was the start and end point for the Pride Parade, and a mother-daughter pair from Nebraska who pronounced their meal delicious (after admitting a Five Guys had opened near them back home). Everyone was easy going and enjoying themselves, which is why if you do get to the Shack and there is a line, get in it and have the full experience. Because good things come to those who wait.
Shake Shack: 1216 18th St. NW (near red line Dupont Circle) 202 683 9922 http://shakeshack.com/