5 Things I Learned Eating at the Hudson Valley’s Only Shake Shack
The Hudson Valley is home to just one Shake Shack location. But it's not exactly the same as the original.
I have to admit that I'm a Shake Shack fan from way back. In the early 2000's I would regularly make the trek down to Madison Square Park to visit the original location for a burger and chocolate shake. The pilgrimage was worth it, especially since it was the only place to get the legendary Shackburger.
Since then the restaurant has opened over 100 locations throughout the United States. Just a couple of years ago the Hudson Valley's very own Shake Shack opened their doors in the Woodbury Common Premium Outlets. While I've visited the New York City locations plenty of times since then, today was my very first non-NYC Shake Shack experience, and it taught me several things.
There will be a line no matter when you get there
I arrived at the Woodbury Common Shake Shack about ten minutes before it opened. The place was a ghost town. And since it was a weekday, the outlets were pretty much empty too. I decided that instead of waiting for them to open, I'd pop into the shop next door and come back in a few minutes. When I returned just five minutes later the line was already out the door. I have no idea where these people came from, but the wait was ridiculously long. Once I finally ordered I had to wait another 20 minutes for my buzzer to go off so I could retrieve my food.
While the line is the same, the people in it are very different
In New York City you'll see just about anyone in line for a burger. Foreign tourists, hipsters, rich businessmen, the theatre crowd and more all come together in the pursuit of a Shackburger. At Woodbury Common the line is almost completely made up of tourists from other countries that have a very different definition of "personal space." Add some huge suitcases full of bargains that have been purchased that morning and you're in for a living nightmare.
It's really not the same experience; not by a long shot
While wait times were the same, lining up in Manhattan for a Shackburger is very different than cueing up at the Woodbury Common. To say that the vibe is completely different would be an understatement. Woodbury Common has more of a Disney World feeling, where everything is carefully arranged and manicured. Having to step over a dirty diaper while someone pushes a flyer for double decker tour busses in your face makes you feel like you've earned your place in line. Also, the unmistakeable smell of subway car steam, urine and oozing garbage somehow makes that moment you're finally inside, surrounded by burger aroma all that much sweeter.
You will get a seat
Unlike the New York City locations, our Hudson Valley Shake Shack has plenty of seating. If you run out of room inside, there's ample space on the outside deck. Adirondack chairs and benches also surround the restaurant. And if those spaces get filled up, there are hundreds of other spots to sit in the huge outdoor shopping mall. That's certainly a plus.
The restaurant isn't trying to fool you into thinking you're in Manhattan
What's refreshing about the local Shake Shack is that they're not pretending to be the "original" like a Planet Hollywood or Hard Rock Cafe does. While the food and decor is the same as their other flagship locations, there's no cheesy NYC skylines or signs to capitalize on their origin. In fact, a sign boasted that proceeds from one of their shakes goes towards supporting the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley. You can't get more local than that.
So, if you're really craving a Shackmeister Ale and some crinkle cut fries, the Hudson Valley Shake Shack is more than worth the quick ride from pretty much anywhere in the Hudson Valley. The food is completely identical and my meal tasted exactly the same as I remembered it did in Manhattan. But if you really want the full experience I strongly suggest taking the train to the city and waiting in line on the street. There's nothing like the original; urine smells and all.
Have you been to Shake Shack at the Woodbury Common? If so we'd like to hear about your experience. Let us know how you enjoyed your Shake Shake in the comments section below or on our Facebook page.