4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

The Shake Shack debate reaches So Cal

Thanks, New York

An enjoyable Shack Burger. All natural beef is the highlight.
An enjoyable Shack Burger. All natural beef is the highlight.

Shake Shack has landed in San Diego, and appears to be multiplying. The East Coast burger chain launched in the UTC mall last summer and opened its second Mission Valley location at the end of 2017, just before announcing future locations in Del Mar and Little Italy. And it all started with a New York City food stand.

Place

Shake Shack Mission Valley

675 Camino de la Reina, San Diego

When Shake Shack emerged in the 2000s, it was like New York finally had its answer to In-N-Out. The Shack offered everything In-N-Out had been denying the Big Apple by refusing to expand east of the Mississippi: its own iconic branding, winky "secret" menu items, and a legion of fans hyp

The new Shake Shack location (not located at the mall) in Mission Valley.

ing its burgers with cultish devotion.

Sponsored
Sponsored

Some New Yorkers have even suggested their burger chain is better than ours. We've politely disagreed.

There's been enough written on the topic since that it's practically become its own literature. Google search results show articles and videos debating which burger is better have proliferated the web going back to, at latest, 2008.

Just as New Yorkers have heard about West Coast burgers forever, word of Shake Shack has made it out here in recent years. Last time I visited New York, I took time out of my rigorous pastrami and Chinese food schedule to stop by a Shake Shack to see how it compared.

And no sooner had I taken a seat in the new Mission Valley location, than I heard the party at the next table compare the two burger joints.

But we might be comparing Shake Shack to the wrong California restaurant chain. Back in 2015, Union Square Hospitality Group, the company that founded Shake Shack, bought a minority stake in Tender Greens, a Los Angeles fast casual chain that has thrived in Southern California during the same time frame.

Even as Shake Shack has started to colonize Southern California, the people of New York are starting to get their first taste of Tender Green restaurants, beginning with a Union Square location opening last weekend. And I think they got the better end of that trade.

It was my opinion, and my roommate's, and the unanimous conclusion of a large group of teenagers seated around us at the Mission Valley Shake Shack, that In-N-Out burgers are better. No argument. We're hard-wired to crave the Double-Double's signature flavor; something the Shack can't match.

Meanwhile, my single patty Shake Burger with American cheese cost $5.69. The equivalent In-N-Out cheeseburger goes for $2.60, just down the road. While a Double-Double costs $3.75, the Shack's two patty answer goes for $8.49.

The big difference is you're getting a cleaner product. Shake Shack pledges that its beef is 100-percent natural, with "No hormones and no antibiotics ever." While In-N-Out made a promise a couple years ago it would transition away from antibiotic-treated beef, it has yet to follow through. Or adjust prices as a result.

Thing is, natural ingredients is a the selling point for Tender Greens too. That chain's brought chef-driven, locally sourced food to four locations in San Diego, and I see them all adding value to our fast casual market, at prices equivalent to a Shake double patty burger and fries (also, order a shake).

And now Tender Greens will do the same in New York, while we get a burger joint in return.

If you ask me, we're all set for iconic burger chains. If New York City was going to send us one of its famous eateries, I can think of a few Manhattan spots that fill a greater need in San Diego. For example, Union Square Hospitality also owns Gramercy Park, which has both a Michelin star and a James Beard medal. One of those would go over really well around here.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

San Diego guys reflect on their dark skin

Editor's picks of stories Robert Kumpel wrote for the Reader
Next Article

Del Mar next for license plate readers

Follows Encinitas, Chula Vista, Carlsbad, Coronado
An enjoyable Shack Burger. All natural beef is the highlight.
An enjoyable Shack Burger. All natural beef is the highlight.

Shake Shack has landed in San Diego, and appears to be multiplying. The East Coast burger chain launched in the UTC mall last summer and opened its second Mission Valley location at the end of 2017, just before announcing future locations in Del Mar and Little Italy. And it all started with a New York City food stand.

Place

Shake Shack Mission Valley

675 Camino de la Reina, San Diego

When Shake Shack emerged in the 2000s, it was like New York finally had its answer to In-N-Out. The Shack offered everything In-N-Out had been denying the Big Apple by refusing to expand east of the Mississippi: its own iconic branding, winky "secret" menu items, and a legion of fans hyp

The new Shake Shack location (not located at the mall) in Mission Valley.

ing its burgers with cultish devotion.

Sponsored
Sponsored

Some New Yorkers have even suggested their burger chain is better than ours. We've politely disagreed.

There's been enough written on the topic since that it's practically become its own literature. Google search results show articles and videos debating which burger is better have proliferated the web going back to, at latest, 2008.

Just as New Yorkers have heard about West Coast burgers forever, word of Shake Shack has made it out here in recent years. Last time I visited New York, I took time out of my rigorous pastrami and Chinese food schedule to stop by a Shake Shack to see how it compared.

And no sooner had I taken a seat in the new Mission Valley location, than I heard the party at the next table compare the two burger joints.

But we might be comparing Shake Shack to the wrong California restaurant chain. Back in 2015, Union Square Hospitality Group, the company that founded Shake Shack, bought a minority stake in Tender Greens, a Los Angeles fast casual chain that has thrived in Southern California during the same time frame.

Even as Shake Shack has started to colonize Southern California, the people of New York are starting to get their first taste of Tender Green restaurants, beginning with a Union Square location opening last weekend. And I think they got the better end of that trade.

It was my opinion, and my roommate's, and the unanimous conclusion of a large group of teenagers seated around us at the Mission Valley Shake Shack, that In-N-Out burgers are better. No argument. We're hard-wired to crave the Double-Double's signature flavor; something the Shack can't match.

Meanwhile, my single patty Shake Burger with American cheese cost $5.69. The equivalent In-N-Out cheeseburger goes for $2.60, just down the road. While a Double-Double costs $3.75, the Shack's two patty answer goes for $8.49.

The big difference is you're getting a cleaner product. Shake Shack pledges that its beef is 100-percent natural, with "No hormones and no antibiotics ever." While In-N-Out made a promise a couple years ago it would transition away from antibiotic-treated beef, it has yet to follow through. Or adjust prices as a result.

Thing is, natural ingredients is a the selling point for Tender Greens too. That chain's brought chef-driven, locally sourced food to four locations in San Diego, and I see them all adding value to our fast casual market, at prices equivalent to a Shake double patty burger and fries (also, order a shake).

And now Tender Greens will do the same in New York, while we get a burger joint in return.

If you ask me, we're all set for iconic burger chains. If New York City was going to send us one of its famous eateries, I can think of a few Manhattan spots that fill a greater need in San Diego. For example, Union Square Hospitality also owns Gramercy Park, which has both a Michelin star and a James Beard medal. One of those would go over really well around here.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Gaslamp ugly sweater pub crawl, Coronado ice skating, Nutcracker tea party, Del Mar Red Nose Run

2022 Reader Christmas events guide
Next Article

Del Mar next for license plate readers

Follows Encinitas, Chula Vista, Carlsbad, Coronado
Comments
5

Price is where I found a problem with returning. Shake (chocolate) was very good though.

Feb. 14, 2018

They are slightly larger than a "slider" and way overpriced.

Feb. 14, 2018

Is that called a "Shake" down?

Feb. 14, 2018

I guess burgers are the new steak. Eventually there will be a shake out. The big burger companies have some impressive plans for these ankle biters.

Feb. 14, 2018

The fast food burger guys are sure cutting prices. And they are moving to fresh beef, instead of frozen.

Feb. 14, 2018

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town The Gonzo Report — Making the musical scene, or at least reporting from it Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Theater — On stage in San Diego this week Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close