Let the debate commence.
While there are many places in Morristown where one can get a burger, there was no "burger-centric" place until Don's Burgers, Fries & Fountain opened the other week.
Scratch that. Now, there are two.
Is this a new dining trend in Morristown, along the lines of the apparent glut of self-serve frozen yogurt places that is about to happen? Unlike the froyo (Taro, already open; Cups, opening mid-March; and Strawberry Fields, TBD) situation–where three essentially identical types of business will be operating almost literally a stone's throw from each other–Shake It!, on Washington Street, is a fair walk from Don's over next to The Community Theatre. That could bode well for both.
Still, it's not a very long walk. And, there will be passionate fans of either eatery. We reviewed Don's last week, so take a look at that review for our thoughts.
Shake It!, by comparison to the bright, almost garish interior of Don's is a bit more subtle. While it shares several style cues (a black and white design motif, a la 1950s burger joints), it's much smaller. Essentially, if you've been in Cha Cha Cha, you know what it looks like. Just repaint the walls and take out all the Cuban bric-a-brac.
Shake It! offers a small variety of items, just enough to have choice. But, it's still a burger and hot dog place through and through. The main burger choices come in singles and doubles, starting at $4.95. Toppings, like lettuce, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, jalapenos and various sauces, are free. This can be dangerous, as I soon found out.
Fries are $2.55, a nickel more than at Don's. Intentional?
One thing that Shake It! seemed to beat its main competitor on without question is how long my food took to be ready. At lunch, there was a steady line of people ordering and eating in this small restaurant. And yet, within about only five minutes, my single burger with cheddar, lettuce, tomatoes, raw onions, pickles and ketchup, with a side of fries was ready.
I'll get the negatives out of the way first. The fries are not worth $2.55. While I was not a big fan of Don's fresh-sliced shoestring fries, at least I felt I was getting something a little special for what I paid. The fries at Shake It! are clearly frozen from a bag. They're not bad at all, but they're not worth the price.
The burger meat itself on my sandwich was delicious. And, I will make a bold statement: It's better than what I had at Don's. It was juicy, it was cooked medium, it was flavorful. It had character, which I felt was a little lacking on my similar burger at the other place.
But, going back to what I said before, the option to order as many free toppings as one wants can lead to trouble. Halfway through, I was handling a sloppy mess (similar, I thought, to what had happened at my Urban Table experience a while back). Another couple bites later, and the remainder of the burger patty came out from between the buns. I finished that off, then finished what now was a soggy veggie sandwich. I did not finish the fries.
Like at Urban Table, a different bun may be all that is needed. Something a little heartier, to absorb all those juices from the moist meat and tender toppings.
Overall, I cannot say for sure which burger joint I prefer more. Both have their own outstanding qualities, their own fumbles that I'd love to see addressed. Both are bound to have very passionate fans, which I hope will leave their opinions in the comments below.