The first L.A. location of Danny Meyer’s cult fast casual burger joint, Shake Shack officially opened its doors at 11 a.m. today in West Hollywood. But, if you wanted to get your burger—or hot dog, or chicken sandwich, or craft beer—in any sort of reasonable time frame, you would have had to have gotten in line well before that. According to Eater LA, who has been nobly live blogging the event on-site, the first people queued up got there at 4 a.m. One of them even flew out for the opening. You have to admire the dedication.
Not that it’s a perfect analogy, but the last time L.A. got this hyped for a chain rolling into town, we found ourselves in a bit of an embarrassing situation. Remember the great Dunkin’ Donuts disappointment of 2014? The one where we lined up for hours waiting for the first taste of Munchkins, Big ‘N’ Toasties, and knock-off cronuts, only to find out that they do what every local donut shop does but at a higher volume and lower level of consistency? The world (and social media) remembers.
Shake Shack certainly has a better pedigree than the discount donut and jumbo coffee-slinging chain, but it’s not exactly the East Coast burger messiah that’s suddenly going to change the way we feel about ground beef in bread. It’s a tasty, simply prepared and dressed burger that will now be left to compete with all the other tasty, simply dressed burgers L.A. has been sporting for years. Here are five similar cheeseburgers you should be eating while the line calms down.
Belcampo Meat Co.’s Fast Burger
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This should be the obvious move, especially since the newest Belcampo location is just up the street in West Hollywood. Their Fast Burger comes with grass-fed beef, lettuce, tomato, onion, and house sauce, making it almost identical to Shake Shack. You know, minus the line.
Bow down to the crown princes of L.A.’s burger fiefdom. Brothers Frederick and Maximilian Guerrero, sons of Oinkster owner Andre Guerrero, started this Chinatown enclave to serve up the exact same kind of burger nostalgia that Shake Shack does. Go pay them and their double cheeseburger a visit.
The Golden State’s “The Burger”
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Ok, ok, ok, so Shake Shack’s signature squishy potato roll is subbed out for shiny brioche and there’s arugula instead of lettuce. But this next-gen, slightly bougie burger delivers on all the same flavor notes with the combo of cheddar, mayo, and ketchup.
Burger Lounge’s Lounge Burger
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Burger Lounge started out in the San Diego area, and a handful of locations later, ended up in L.A. just about a quarter mile from Shake Shack. Swing by on your way to the Shake Shack line and pick up one of their Lounge Burgers.
A photo posted by In-N-Out Burger (@innout) on
Oh yeah, there’s also a little burger chain called In-N-Out. You may have heard of it. You may have even heard that it’s what a hamburger’s all about. But don’t take our word for it, swing by any one of their nightmarish drive-thrus before jumping into the equally nightmarish Shake Shack Line.