I lumped Steak ‘n Shake into the faux-retro burger joint category I reserved for spots like Johnny Rocket for a long time. When I finally got around to read their history, I had a new appreciation for them.
I now understood why they were selling Steakburgers and the origins of the Takhomasak phrase. You can read more about that below in the history portion of this post.
There are a couple of Steak ‘n Shake locations near me, and I not only thoroughly enjoy their Steakburgers but have also been known to dabble in their Chili 5-Way (similar to Skyline).
If I choose to wash my grub down with something other than an ice-cold Coca-Cola, it might be a Banana Milkshake. I sometimes go the vanilla route, but I always skip the whip and cherry.
Most folks I know only have eyes for the Frisco Melt, their variation of the Patty Melt. I suggest you first-timers order a double Steakburger with cheese, onions, mustard, and pickles. It’s what I would do.
Steak ‘n Shake Table of Contents
Steak ‘n Shake Menu
Steak ‘n Shake Food Pictures
Steak ‘n Shake To Go Food Pictures
Steak ‘n Shake History
Steak n Shake
Year Founded: 1934
Founding City: Normal, Illinois
Founders: Augustus “Gus” Hamilton Belt and Edith L. Belt
Number of locations at the chain’s peak: more than 600
Original Slogan: In Sight It Must Be Right and Tak-Homa-Sak
Some History Notes
- Gus Belt owned the Shell Inn, a combination gas station and restaurant. He borrowed three hundred dollars against the furniture in his apartment from a bank to fix up the building.
- “I’m going to start a drive-in. I’m going to have the finest hamburger in the country and a real, honest-to-goodness milkshake. Customers can come up, park, and get waited on in the car. Or they can eat at a counter inside.” Gus said to his friend Hynie Johnson, a sign painter. The going rate for a hamburger at the time was five cents, and he planned to sell his at ten cents.
- When the first location opened in February 1934, it could serve up to fifty customers inside.
- It was called “Whitehouse Steak n Shake” after the popular “white house” restaurant-style. The Whitehouse surname was dropped since everyone referred to them as Steak n Shake.
- When there were three locations, Gus Belt had a habit of wheeling in a barrel of T-bone, sirloin, and round steaks and then grinding them up into steakburgers right in front of his customers. The idea was to show them what went into their burgers, hence the slogan “In Sight It Must Be Right.”
- The Rocky Mountain Hamburger Company from Denver had “Tak-Homa-Sak” on their wall. The president permitted Gus Belt to use it. It was a variation on White Castle’s Buy ’em by the Sack.
- When World War II caused beef shortages, Gus Belt took it into his own hands to ensure that Steak n Shake would not be affected. He purchased a farm and bootlegged cattle to make sure that his fifteen locations had could serve their steakburgers.
- The restaurant located on Route 66 at Springfield, Missouri, was built in 1962 and made the National Register of Historic Places in 2012.
- Today, there are 577 Steak n Shakes worldwide in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and outside the US in France, Italy, Kuwait, Portugal, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
Original Steak ‘n Shake Miami on Burger Beast Post
November 22nd, 2010 – My favorite thing about Steak ‘n Shake is that it’s open 24 hours. It’s unfortunate for me that the nearest one (8701 S.W. 157th Avenue, Miami) is about a good 30 minutes away.
They’re absolutely awesome when they’re on, but when they’re not, well, you know… I found myself eating here on an iffy night. I had no fries because I don’t care for them, so I had onion rings. They were nothing special.
I started the festivities with a hot dog. They’re split in half and cooked on the flat top. It was good but not great. I asked for cheese and grilled onions on it, but in retrospect, maybe grilled onions and mustard would have made a more dynamic combination.
It had been a while, so I figured I’d also try out their Cheesy Cheddar Steakburger. That was a no-go for me. It was flat and flavorless, rather sad because the slice of cheese got me excited when I saw it served up.
As for the melts? Well, the real reason I came here is that I’ve been obsessed with Patty Melts as of late.
So I wanted to have a Frisco Melt (butter-toasted sourdough bread, two Steakburger patties, American and Swiss cheeses, and Frisco sauce). I was totally indifferent to this burger. I didn’t hate it, and I didn’t love it. If it was on a sinking ship, I’m not sure if I would save it.
The Patty Melt was butter-toasted rye bread, two Steakburger patties, American cheese, and grilled onions. It wasn’t the best Patty Melt I’ve ever had, but it’s up there in the top 1/3 percentage, which is not too bad considering everything else.
Original Steak ‘n Shake Hallandale Beach on Burger Beast Post
January 4th, 2009 – Steak ‘n Shake (990 S Federal Hwy, Hallandale Beach) is one of those hit and miss places. I was with my parents as we drove by one and they suggested we eat there.
The last time I ate at one was 5 years ago, so I didn’t even remember what I had back then. I saw chili on the menu and thought, they must have chili cheese fries, and they did.
I thought the fries, these crispy little things, were okay; nacho cheese is pretty good, but damn, I hate that chili (big beans, little meat, and liquid sauce do not a good chili make). I found them bad enough that we ordered an order of just cheese fries instead.
My father ordered the Patty Melt, which was good and tasted just like any other Patty Melt I’ve ever had (yes, I tasted his sandwich), and is there really an original tasting Patty Melt out there?
My mom had the Mushroom and Swiss Double Steakburger (I didn’t hear a peep out of her, so she must have liked it) while I went with their Triple Steakburger with cheese, bacon, and mayo.
Now I know what you’re saying, was a triple really necessary? And all I have to say is, have you ever had their burger? There is no way that Triple Steakburger was even 8 oz. (half a pound for you common folk).
The burger was nice and greasy (but nothing really out of this world). The best part was that it was served on a toasted bun.
My parents also had Shakes (Moms – chocolate, Pops – vanilla); while they loved them, I thought they tasted like Farm Stores ice cream (I like Farm Stores ice cream for the record), but I was expecting a little more.
So if you’re driving by a Steak ‘n Shake and thinking about stopping, remember it’s hit or miss.