Finally, hometowner Danny Meyer has brought his popular Shack to St. Louis. He says he waited because he wanted to perfect the system before bringing it home to his friends and family. More likely, he wasn’t sure St. Louisans were ready for around-the-corner lines to get burgers and fries. Apparently, they are—and they will not be disappointed.

Meyer has achieved an impressive feat with his high-quality, sustainable meals that are ‘fast food,’ yet remarkably good (and good for you). At about $5.50 a sandwich, he is feeding folks with allnatural meats, humanely raised. The eggs are cage-free, the breads are non-GMO. Plus, he’s infused a local touch here with things like Fitz’s root beer and a concrete made with Winslow’s Home cookies. I was totally OK with a 15- to 20-minute wait to place my order (but less philosophical about the 15-minute wait for it to be filled). Once it came, all annoyance left as I bit into some of the finest sandwiches I’ve tasted. The Shack-cago Dog ($4.29), in particular, was terrific. An all-beef hot dog was piled with just the right stuff: mustard, celery salt, wet peppers, relish, cucumber, pickle, tomato and diced onion. It wasn’t huge, but it was oh-so-satisfying.

Also good was the ShackBurger ($5.29), a cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato and ShackSauce. The meat was tender and didn’t have that indigestion-inducing char so often found in griddle-made burgers. And it was beautifully prepared, medium to medium-rare. The potato bun is delicious, too. Don’t pass up the fries, which are crinkly and not greasy—just tasting mostly of potatoes and a little salt. Exceptionally good is the sole chicken sandwich, Chick’n Shack ($6.39), a fried breast on a bun with some fixins: lettuce, pickles and buttermilk herb mayo.

The lone disappointment, if you can believe it, was the specialty concrete, Chocolate Chip Cookie ($4.59). It was more of a sundae since they didn’t blend the ingredients at all. (I hope it wasn’t intentional.) The chocolate custard came heaped with large chunks of chocolate chip cookies and Askinosie chocolate (an award-winning brand from downstate). I admire the effort to include local ingredients, but I think a concrete should be accessible through a straw!

As for the ambience, it’s definitely hip and urban. The whole place has a happening vibe, but getting a spot to sit with your meal can be a challenge. And it is definitely noisy and crowded—bring your patience and your best behavior. Also note, there is nothing for vegans; the lone vegetarian sandwich, the ’Shroom Burger, has melted cheeses and can’t be had without, we were told.

amuse bouche 
the scene | Frenetic fast-casual diner
the prices | $5.29-$9.69 burgers, $4.59-$5.69 shakes, $3.39-$4.59 hot dogs
the owner | Danny Meyer
the favorites | Chick’n Shack, ShackBurger, Shack-cago Dog, Fries, Lemonade

food • ŏ • lō • gy
niman ranch bacon | Made at the renowned Alameda, California, ranch, the smoked, uncured bacon comes from humanely raised, vegetarian-fed pork and is produced without nitrites, antibiotics or hormones.
hand-spun shakes | Shakes made by employees spinning the container filled with ingredients, rather than made entirely by a machine
crinkle-cut fries | An old-fashioned version of French fries that is crunchier because of its many crevices

60 N. Euclid Ave. | 314.627.5518

Pictured above: Mound City Double
Photos by Bill Barrett