STEAK and SHAKE  √√√1/2

THE IMPROVEMENT?  Shades of Gray

This franchise is living proof at times that it's the sizzle and not the beef that sells here. A couple friends grabbed me and we went out for a quick lunch. Being on a short schedule they picked Steak and Shake. Oh-oh new store, been there, done that.  

We stood around like idiots waiting to be seated. I thought it was strange since there were only seven people in the whole place. We were almost out-numbered by the waiters. Finally after the help decided whose turn it was, we ordered the Double Hamburger Platters, Ooops "STEAK BURGERS" and a side of Chili.  This was a new location so I gave them the benefit of a new crew. The Chili tasted like a cheap version of canned Hormel Chili mixed with catsup and was skimmed on the surface.


My ears detected the familiar steel banging on the grill and cremation of a 1/8 pound hockey puck weighing a massive  2.2 OZ. before cooking, about 1.8 OZ. after cremation and severe flattening to fit the bun and when held up to the light, you could see Russia.  Sarah Palin loves Steak and Shake.

It was their trademark "STEAK-BURGER". The concerto of meat smashed clanging is music to the managers ears.  Their stated purpose is to sear the flavor in, their reason only, and my mind saw it as a “Stunt to spread the meager amount of beef enough to cover the bun and fast cook the mini burger“.    


It was skillfully performed by a clone of Dr. Kevorkian, aka the steak sizzler and sound effects performer who live on stage (open kitchen) totally smashed every living ounce of taste out of the mini-hockey puck of "STEAK".   Now fully crushed to widen it out to look like a hamburger, it was flattened so hard when held up to the light you can almost see through it.  Perfection! Brings a new meaning to the expression  “Wheres the Beef?”  After smoothing and stretching the single burger weighed about 1.78 oz.  About half a quarter pounder which is not 1/4 pound of meat after cooking either. It’s not even a 1/8 pound burger.  

But thats the plan, you "bump" yourself the next time up to a double Original Burger and add cheese so that you can taste meat.  In reality, you just added a dollar to your ticket for 15 cents worth of chopped "steak" aka minced meat.  

OK, hamburger is beef and beef by-products. By-products are some parts of the cow I won't mention. If you think because they call their meat "STEAK BURGERS" and you are getting prime sirloin, filet mignon, or  T-bones, rib-eye and other expensive cuts, then get off the pot you're smoking or sitting on.  Cows are large animals and there is lots of meat that is called "Steak" from a cow.  

16-Basic   8-Intermediate  4-High    Total   28 Violations



Content Claim:  A single Steak burger contains 280 calories, 100 of those calories from fat, 11 grams of fat, I don’t know if I would call it lean. Don’t confuse thin and skinny with lean, as they are underweight burgers weighing 2.2 oz uncooked or about 1.75 cooked. ( Less than an eighth of a pound)  Thays why they sell doubles to fill the bun.

WHAT IS A STEAK -  These definitions are by the American Heritage, Harper Collins, Word Net3.0 dictionaries

STEAK [steɪk] Noun  - Any of various cuts of beef of varying quality, used for braising, stewing, etc.  Beefsteak is a slice of beef, taken from the loin or the hindquarters, usually prepared broiled pan fried.  Steak also refers to any cut of meat or fish cooked whole by various methods, like Salmon Steaks.  But we are talking about Hamburgers, which did not derive their name from Ham but from their country of origin, which is Germany.  (Das Smashen, Grinding, uno Shaping) 

By the middle of the 19th century people in the port city of Hamburg, Germany, enjoyed a form of pounded beef called Hamburg steak. The large numbers of Germans who migrated to North America during this time probably brought the dish and its name along with them. 

The entrée may have appeared on an American menu as early as 1836, although the first recorded use of Hamburg steak is not found until 1884. The variant form hamburger steak, using the German adjective Hamburger meaning “ From Hamburg," first appears in a Walla - Walla, Washington, newspaper in 1889. 

By 1902 we find the first description of a Hamburg steak close to our conception of the hamburger, namely a recipe calling for ground beef mixed with onion and pepper. By then the hamburger was on its way, to be followed much later by the shortened form burger, used in forming cheeseburger and the names of other variations on the basic burger, as well as on its own. Basically a Steak Burger is nothing more than  minced meat prepared in the same way as any hamburger.





•  Steak burgers are a trademarked name for a hamburger that owes its name to founder Gus Belt’s practice of grinding round, sirloin and T-bone steaks (there is also a T-Bone pot roast cut)  into burgers in full view of customers.  Smart, he was a showman, took the rib-side, the upper ass or the rump and the lower ass, or the round.   The T-Bone with waste from the bone gets thrown in. Most folks don’t know one cut of meat from another so it looked like they were getting top notch burger meat.  

Today it takes a lot more parts to feed those machines that Steak and Shake uses to make the  “hockey pucks” they form for shipping.   Basically cheaper cuts to feed an operation this size with 400 locations and strict company policies can’t do that today so maybe the mix has expanded...

•  Even butcher shops, standalone, if you can find one, or chain stores like Sam’s cut behind glass for reasons of cleanliness and sanitorial concerns.  But you never see the whole operation.   And there is the question of  round and sirloin being the caboose of the cow train. Thats what get put into Steak and Shake “Steak burgers”.  

•  Steak burgers implying that steak only is used in their burger.  True it is steak if it came from slabs of beef and then ground.  But there are parts far more expensive in a cow that we associate with quality cuts.  (SEE BURGER WARS)

•  Great marketing, they have been doing it for years and the public doesn’t know the difference.  Just like the voting booth, most vote by name recognition, not the quality of the public servant running for office.

2016  NEW MENU


  • FOOD

First the new menu, which offered reasonable (lowered) prices for what you order. And the items were popular basics, for the value it was an improvement since in the past since their the food was overpriced, their lesser cost menu and promotions are addressing that.  But the quality has not changed.  Basically, It’s a spoofed up theme burger joint.


This time we got immediate seating, courteous employees. The food was as ordered, served hot and much better,  I dropped in during a busy day time and later in the week at night.   From where I sat I could see the crew station.  Very clean, lots of hand washing, serving trays wiped after use, the soft drinks were in glass, clean, clear ice, fresh looking and effervescent. 


The food was medium-priced for the quality and quantity. But food that is cooked to order costs more then pre-prepped half-cooked food.  There is the difference in price alone. Plus you are seated and served so they can’t operate that way at counter service prices. 

And when I compared apples to apples, these prices were in line for the better quality.  If they were to put a half ounce more meat in each patty and cut regular fries, they would own the business.  But the beanies don’t think that way and they are stupid.  I walked out still hungry, wanted a desert but I do not eat milk products like a shake with meat.  Old Jewish Kosher tradition.

Reviewed March 21, 2018 

Last time I wrote about them at this location, I mentioned - titled it " Wheres the beef". I have said on many occasions the biggest problem with this corporate store is the food.   Too many bean counters and dress sergeants and the food is in third place.
The people are great and courteous. The location is a throwback to the fifties and sixties, old soda shop, sparkling and clean. I even check the ceilings when I do a review.   The return for the AC were clean, bathrooms clean, counters and tables quickly bussed.

Again the place is very clean, the help dressed to the nines and helpful. Immediate seating we missed the rush and I was tempted to try the NEW BIGGER BURGER available in three flavors.

Finally some beef...Regular Burger - Texas Bar-be-Q and Truffles.   OK I’m game, I went for the Truffles.  I know what they are and these are not truffles.   The first burger one I got was overcooked, burnt and dried out.  Literally burnt on one side.  It went back.  I told the waitress the Kevorkian trained grill master-chef-cook  certainly killed that piece of meat (?).

The second one was drowned in this strange sauce and had cooked mushrooms and Caramelized Onions and I suppose the yellow stuff was the truffle, or was it the rooms.. or the other sauce dripping all over and falling apart.

The AD read: Introducing our deliciously indulgent new White Truffle Steakburger! It’s a 6 oz. hand-crafted Prime Steakburger (PRE-cooked weight and cooked probably dried about 4.5 oz) topped with two slices of Tillamook® all-natural Swiss cheese, and Tillamook is a city in Oregon on the Pacific coast,  with about 6000 people.  Pre-grilled button mushrooms, caramelized onions and a decadent Truffle AIOLI sauce on a toasted brioche bun. Served with fries. (yes those are string bean fries with more oil than taste, more height than real potato fries and small servings)

Now it’s a little misleading, the only Truffle possibly is the name on the bottle.  No shaved truffles on the burger. Truffles are a strong-smelling underground fungus that resembles an irregular, rough-skinned potato, growing chiefly in broadleaved woodland on calcareous soils. It is considered a culinary delicacy and found, especially in France, with the aid of trained dogs or pigs.

The so-called decadent AIOLI sauce is common, very common.  Maybe decadent means its laid on the shelf for two years and we have to use it up.  The corporate guys really do HAM it up with words. This was some truffles kind concoction, commercially available from either CISCO or Gordon Food Service, but it’s 99 % aioli sauce which is well know in the business and come in one and two gallon jugs.   Almost every restaurant I know who are on a higher plane and make their own sauces, wants it fresh most days for fish or meat dishes in a little yellow dipping dish.  Nothing spectacular.

There is another version of Aioli sauce called DONKEY sauce.  Donkey Sauce was named Donkey Sauce because, long story short, Guy Fieri once said, “ You have to put sauce on the burgers or you're a jackass," and another chef with a "thick accent" asked what a jackass was.   A jackass is a donkey, and the sauce was branded as such, according to Eater magazine. Now, with this new rebranding, Donkey Sauce is the new and improved “sexier" aioli.

I add a touch of Sriracha to the mix for a pepper taste, and I call it Jackass Sauce.


There are seven very common ingredients (7)

  • 2 medium garlic cloves.
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard.
  • 1 large egg.
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil.
  • 1/2 cup grapeseed or vegetable oil.
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice.
  • Kosher salt.

So after a few minutes of digesting this burger, I came to the following conclusions.   At 7.00 plus dollars it was not worth it. You would be doing better getting the mushroom burger and fries for 4.00 and only loosing the .8 of an ounce of meat and that decadent sauce, ketchup would have been better. It was not impressive even with the knife sticking out of the top.

The truffle sauce was a sham just like the use of the word steak burger, no such thing.  The rump was never considered a prime cut, just good advertising.

I did not eat there since last year in February, I don't believe I will go back. This is the bottom of the food chain and the fault lies with the corporation not listening to the customers. They make money, the food is skimpy, and a good chef and people values not corporate values could take the clean store and good personnel to a higher level.

copyright 2019