25. Shake Shack
Address: Various locations (check website)
A certified institution, Shake Shack is one of the city's most popular spots, especially for those of us craving something American and red: cheeseburger, fries, and a shake. But it's still “New York”—a burger your friends can't get back in Des Moines or Albuquerque, or even Chicago, L.A., or Philadelphia.
Let's be real: Shack Shack is very good, but perhaps not to the degree that the lines stretching all the way to Broadway suggest. The smallish burgers come topped with the signaute Shack Sauce, a kinda sorta sweet 'n cheap number that complements the crisp-around-the-edges beef. There's something wonderful about the wax paper you untuck the burger from. And eating under the trees—we're thinking of the Madison Square Park location—brings out the nostalgia in the burger experience. No hate, Shake Shack; your burger is solid as a rock. (R.I.P. Nick Ashford.)