America has many regional burger chains. Five guys and Shake Shack used to be an East Coast thing. In-n-out is still primarily West Coast. In the Midwest, there is Steak’n Shake (and Culver’s). Unfortunately, I was never really a big fan of these chains. If I wanted burgers, I would have went to another local chain, Meatheads. Right now though, as I’m driving on the highway near Bloomington, IL, there are not many choices for dinner near an exit. As I scroll down the list of restaurants on the exit sign, I spot Steak’n Shake next to a list of other national chains, so why not. It just happens that Steak’n Shake started in Normal, IL, which this location is as close as it gets to the original. Welcome to Steak’n Shake!
It is not really fair to call Steak’n Shake a fast food restaurant because it really isn’t. There is a take-out window, but you do not order from the counter. In fact, they provide dining service, and you have to be brought to your table. Food items are cheap and the patties are frozen, but they are all made to order. The decor is the same in all the restaurants – checkered floor and wallpaper, surrounded by large see through glass windows plastered with different offers. Servers dress in white shirts and black pants with a black overall and a bow-tie. Do not worry – you are not the first one to be weirded out by this fast food chain. I order the original double ‘n cheese Steakburger with onion rings. You can add and subtract toppings from your burger; like I said earlier, this isnt’ your typical fast food chain. The cooks did not get the memo, so I am provided with both fries and onion rings. That, for $3.99. It is really cheap. I also got the Oreo Cookies ‘n Cream milkshake, which cost the same amount as the steakburger. (P.S. they named their burgers the steakburgers. They are proud of their frozen patties, I suppose).
Look at the burger. Nobody creates a better-looking burger than this. The bun is smooth. The onions are circular. The leaf of lettuce has the same color as the commercial. The fries are perfectly crisp. The slightly melted cheese laid below the browned steak patty. This is what the world used imagined what the United States is all about, not the fancy Au Cheval burger I had earlier in the day. We sold this image alongside capitalism, freedom and democracy to everyone during the entire 20th century. Most of the world bought it, and people chanted USA even if they lived in the mist of 2nd world countries. All this lay in front of me, for $4. And as much as looks can be deceiving, this steakburger is decent. Don’t expect smoky flavors, or dry aged beef, or special sauces. This is a simple burger, a tasty burger that you can get anywhere in the Midwest. It might not be ranked top 1000 burgers in America, but it certainly worth every cent I paid. The shake isn’t anything to look down too either. If anything, Steak’n Shake lives up to its name. Someday, if you are driving down the road and have to decide between Wendy’s and Steak’n Shake, go to Steak’n Shake. It is not that Wendy’s is better, but I heard that Shack Shake was inspired by Steak’n Shake. Maybe you will be gain some insights and become the next fast food star!
Visited: July 1st, 2017 @ 8pm.
Address: 1001 Wylie Dr, Bloomington, IL 61704 (1 of many thousands)