Living loud with Liezel: Burger hopping in NYC

Living loud with Liezel: Burger hopping in NYC
Liezel van der Westhuizen

By Liezel van der Westhuizen

Just before leaving for New York recently I read a quote by American actor and stand-up comedian Aziz Ansari that read: One of the big things I miss about New York is not my friends so much; it’s Shake Shack, the burger place. I miss Shake Shack.”
This being my first trip to New York and to the USA, I knew that one of the places I had to eat at was The Shake Shack.

Now, we all know Cape Town has its fair share of great burger joints. I will be honest though and say at this point that I am not a fan of junk food and for the most part I try to eat healthy, but once in a while I get a craving for a good burger and I do like to experience what’s on offer in the mother city

I have been to Royale Eatery, Hudson’s Burgers, Beefcakes and am yet to try Dog’s Bollocks and Saints Burger Joint. Also on my list is Burgerfair in Belville. My experience of Cape Town’s burger joints has been really good and I wasn’t sure if any of the places in New York could match what the Mother City had to offer. Friends who live in New York told me that Ansari is correct in quoting that he missed the Shake Shack; that there really is only one burger place to experience in New York. Their meat is 100% all natural beef with no hormones and no antibiotics. This is even mentioned on their website.

So naturally I decided to see for myself. I took a stroll from my hotel in Manhattan’s Upper West Side, with the Shake Shack being located only two blocks away on the corner of Columbus Avenue and 77th Street.

The queue to order was out of the door and I was told it would be worth the wait. I ordered a Shack Burger, which is a cheeseburger, topped with lettuce, tomato and Shack Sauce. When I finally received my order and took my first bite I was speechless. The burger wasn’t anything glamorous to look at, but it was incredibly tasty and completed with cheesy fries.

The burger was smaller than what I’m used to in South Africa, but it was delicious, with all the trimmings. There’s even a great vegetarian option, which is a Portobello mushroom filled with melted cheeses, topped with lettuce, tomato and ShackSauce. I even tried a root beer float to complete what I was told is a truly American experience. I did however walk off the burger with a stroll through central park.
So what is my conclusion? Does Cape Town or New York have the better burgers? My answer is it’s all down to the shared experience you have whilst enjoying a burger with friends anywhere in the world.