We didn’t care when Starbucks began posting nutritional information, because caramel latte frappuccinos are nasty and embarrassing and no one in their right mind would eat a Starbucks pastry, regardless of caloric content. Likewise, we regard fast-food labeling as equal parts amusing diversion and statement of the obvious. But for some reason, we were unprepared to see the nutritional information currently available on the Shake Shack website.
While we knew all along that Shake Shack is fast food, this fact somehow seemed irrelevant, thanks largely to the company’s insistence on using ingredients found in nature and the way it cannily markets itself as the cheerfully retro creation of the nicest man in the restaurant industry.
Obviously, a Creamsicle float isn’t going to be served at Canyon Ranch, and a double Shack burger will never grace the cover of Cooking Light. Still, learning that the vegetarian ‘Shroom burger contains 60 calories more than a Quarter Pounder With Cheese, and that a vanilla concrete boasts 29 grams of fat to a BK Triple Stacker’s 18, is a big, fat buzzkill.
And maybe that’s because while we expect cheap food made by huge corporations to be bad for us in both physical and existential ways, in the case of Shake Shack, ignorance was inextricably linked to the bliss we’ve found in many a peanut-butter concrete. Reading its nutritional information was kind of like finding out that teacher you admired in high school had a cocaine problem and liked to dress up in fuzzy animal costumes. We enjoyed our innocence — forced as it was — while it lasted. But despite the fact that it has been so cruelly taken from us, we will be back — Friday’s custard flavor is fluffernutter, and there’s no way in hell we’re missing that.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 13, 2011