Steak 'n Shake

158 ratings (153 Epinions reviews)
Epinions Product Rating: Very Good
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Nothing to Shake Your Steak About Here!

Apr 3, 2006 (Updated Apr 3, 2006)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Some good menu items, open late

Cons:Food quality is inconsistent, lack of personality, bland atmosphere, everything costs extra

The Bottom Line: Steak 'n Shake is OK if you're passing through, but don't go out of your way to dine here.


Hubby and I stopped at Steak ‘n Shake on the way home from work tonight. It wasn’t that it was bad, but it was the same as it always is…generally unexciting. While there are a few yummy menu items, I’m going to give Steak n’ Shake a three star rating for being pretty much average.

General Information
This chain started in Normal, IL in 1934. It has since spread significantly, although is still primarily located in the Midwest and South. Check at http://www.steaknshake.com/states/location.asp to find a location near you. If you’re like me and live in Indiana, you may even have more than one in your city.

Steak ‘n Shake franchises usually have both a drive thru and table service option. My general advice is that since the price is a little more than a typical fast-food chain, you might as well sit down and enjoy your food.

Atmosphere and Service
I’ve been to a dozen or so Steak ‘n Shakes in my life and they are all substantially similar. The color scheme is black and white checked with red accents. There is usually a small counter seating area as well as booths and tables to sit at. One thing Steak ‘n Shake lacks, in my opinion, is personality. It doesn’t really have that “authentic” diner feel because all the franchises look the same. As far as sanitized diners go, it is outdone by fancier chains such as Johnny Rockets which have plenty of gimmicks and a lot more visual appeal. Steak ‘n Shake is just kind of blah.

Service is usually pretty speedy, if a little nondescript. This isn’t a place where servers dance and sing, and you pay at the front register. The restaurant is open 24 hours, and I will say that the servers were relatively tolerant of the 3:00 a.m. Steak ‘n Shake antics I witnessed (and was involved in) during my college days.

The Food
Steak ‘n Shake, in case you didn’t know, does not serve steak. It serves “steakburgers.” Steakburgers are basically hamburgers with a different name, and are substantially similar to the burgers you’ll find at any fast food chain. I actually think most do burgers quite a bit better. These steakburgers are flat and tend to be a little on the burned side for me. A basic single steakburger will run you about $2.00. Adding cheese, toppings, or another patty will incrementally increase the price. In addition to burgers, there are a variety of sandwich and entrée options. You can have a spicy chicken sandwich, grilled cheese, beef taco salad, or chili 5-Way. Most of the specialty sandwiches run about $4-5, and the large chili dishes and salads are between $5 and $6 depending on which toppings you choose.

I think the side orders at Steak ‘n Shake are much better than the entrees. My favorite are the onion rings. The large size is substantial enough to share and a pretty good deal at about $2.80. The Steak ‘n Shake french fries are thin and greasy, and you’ll either like them or hate them. I like them, personally. You can get cheddar cheese on them for an extra charge and some extra calories. My husband always gets the cup of chili with his meal. If you’re trying to eat healthy, you may be at the wrong restaurant but you can always order the small garden salad with your big, greasy burger.

The real reason most people go to Steak ‘n Shake is for the shakes and desserts. Shakes are now available in a dizzying array of flavors. It seriously is overwhelming, with a new gimmick milkshake being released every month or so. The basic milk shakes are chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, banana, and mocha. Depending on the season, eggnog and chocolate mint may also be available. You can get a Side-by-Side milkshake, which allows you to choose two of your favorite flavors. The Shakes Alive shakes are cookies ‘n cream, very very strawberry, and double chocolate chip. My personal favorite of the new shake options are the Sippable Sundae shakes. Basically, you get your favorite milkshake flavor with hot fudge, nuts, whipped cream, or whatever other sundae toppings you want on it. I like the dark chocolate fudge the best because I am a gigantic glutton. Milkshakes cost between $2.00 and $3.00, depending on how elaborate you get with your choices. Other desserts vary by season, but my very favorite is the Strawberry Shortcake.

In case you’re passing through in the morning, Steak ‘n Shake does serve breakfast. It is generally not very good from my experience, but its there. Think eggs, bacon, cinnamon swirl French toast, hashed browns, and the like.

Overall…
I don’t dislike Steak ‘n Shake. Clearly I’ve eaten there many times. I’d probably choose Steak ‘n Shake over many other fast food places when I’m on the road and need a quick, cheap meal. It’s also a great place to hang out late at night when very few places are open. However, I don’t recommend seeking this restaurant out because it isn’t really anything special. Go to a local, non-chain diner for a better atmosphere and, most likely, better food.


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