I remember trying to go to Black Tap Burger on Valentine’s Day four years ago with the person I was dating then and when we rolled up to the now-closed West Village location, I was stunned when I saw a bouncer and a roped off area that made the crowd look like kids waiting to get into a rock concert rather than a burger joint.
I’ve always seen these huge crowds outside Black Tap ever since, even though they’ve opened locations on the regular with each passing year. Because of this, I had never managed to try one of their amazing-looking shakes.
You know the shakes I’m talking about: the ones that are a foot high and covered with a slice of cake or M&Ms? Yeah, you know what I’m talking about.
I know they also recently added a vegan shake option to their menu as well.
Nick was more than willing to attempt this seemingly-impossible feat for Valentine’s Day this year.
However, I suggested we go the day after Valentine’s Day. It was a Saturday and we could go on an off-hour and because it wasn’t THE day anymore, it might be less busy and we’d have to wait in line for less than two hours.
Well, I’m sorry to tell you that my plan was thwarted the second I arrived at Black Tap on Saturday evening – later than I’d anticipated – 6:45pm – and there was still a huge line outside.
I told myself maybe it would go quickly (hah) and I went inside to put my name on the list.
But when there was no host to take my name, I looked around quickly and saw three seats at the bar.
When I tell you I ran, I really did RUN.
But I also tried to act all casual when I sat down and put my coat on the seat next to mine. Like, yes, I was actually supposed to be seated here. In these exact seats. Without waiting A SINGLE MINUTE.
I cheerily and casually as I could, said hello to the bartender and asked to see the menu and for water. She knew nothing of the feat that I had just accomplished.
Nick arrived five minutes later and came straight inside. He was curious what black magic I’d performed to get us seats and I told him my secret.
He had a spicy margarita and The Mexico Burger and I had The Vegan Nashville Hot – a vegan version of a Nashville hot chicken sandwich.
Nick said the burger and the margarita were on point. Meanwhile, I devoured the Vegan Nashville Hot in under 10 minutes. It was delicious. My only critique is the onion rings were tasty but too big. It was as though they cut a whole onion in half and fried it up like that. The crunchy bits fell off too easily.
We packed up what was left on our plates and ordered the Sweet and Salty milkshake. I asked to sub out the ice cream for the dairy-free version. I knew the rest of the ingredients wouldn’t be vegan but I felt like taking out the biggest dairy component would somehow make it less likely that I’d end up with a stomach ache after.
The bartender explained that the shakes take about 20 minutes to make each shake so we sat and chatted, watching other people’s shakes be made from the initial coating of the glass to the literal cherries on the top.
Twenty minutes later, our massive, beautifully decorated shake finally arrived. My multi-year wait was finally over.
Spoiler: It was worth the wait and all of the money and all of the calories. The vegan ice cream was delicious. There was a ton of whipped cream. There was a lot of peanut butter and M&Ms and delicious gooeyness.
We did a solid job on it. We probably ate 95% of it. I couldn’t imagine what it was like to be one of the couples who had each ordered their own shakes. If I really tried I could probably have polished one off by myself but I couldn’t have eaten dinner beforehand.
Lastly, I’d definitely suggest that you order a shake with the vegan ice cream because I did not feel terrible after.
What was left over. Not much.
The hype is real: Black Tap Burger is delicious and if you want to get in without waiting on a two-hour line, take my advice: walk in and head to the bar. The menu is the same and you won’t have to wait.
You can thank me later!