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Shake It! Burgers & Dogs: Then There Were Two

Another burger-centric restaurant in town; how does it compare to the other one?

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.

Shortly after Don's opened, another burger joint, Shake It! Burgers & Dogs, opened up in the space formerly occupied by Cha Cha Cha, courtesy the same owners (who also own Sushi Lounge).

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.

Jeremy W. March 06, 2012 at 02:27 AM
Shake It makes the same mistake that Five Guys makes: even when dining in, the burger comes wrapped in foil, which mushes the cheese and burger juice together with the bun. The inevitable result is a sloppy mess of a burger that--while still delicious--requires either lots of napkins, or that you eat the whole thing as fast as possible without putting it down to break for a sip of soda or french fry. It's also a shame that a foil wrapper is converted to trash after about twenty seconds of [questionable] utility. The burger was tasty, though (I had the single topped with chili and cheddar cheese).
Jon Kelly March 17, 2012 at 03:06 AM
Shake it burgers are not frozen and the buns are toasted. i had bacon, mushrooms, fried onions, jalapenos and monetary jack cheese and it held fine! and i love their onion rings too!
Jon Kelly March 17, 2012 at 03:13 AM
Dave, i agree. I went to shake it because my daughters friends told her they had good shakes. i decided to get a single burger and chili dog and it was excellent. i talked to a worker and he told me he steams the burgers on a griddle and butter toasts the buns, steams the hot dog rolls and the chili is home made, not canned. best chili dog i ever had and the burger was juicy and delicious. my daughter got a milk shake and onion rings, a few of them i stole, and they were the bear battered onion rings and are probably the best in morristown.
Jon Kelly March 17, 2012 at 03:14 AM
forgot to add, they are not frozen. you can tell!
maureen topolowski March 18, 2012 at 04:24 AM
Love Shake it. You can't compare Dons to Shake It. Everytime i go there i get a container of their chili to bring home. its not on the menu but they been doing it for me since they opened. try the turkey cranberry burgers too. the only thing that is frozen are the fries, but for a few cents more just get their onion rings. Nothing really ever lasted in that location, i hope shake it does.

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