Recently though, I heard someone say people were claiming it was the East Coast version of In-N-Out Burger, which is heady praise, no matter how accurate it is, so when my kids were requesting some FOOD (such pains in the ass), I found myself in the neighborhood and we grabbed lunch.
Here’s the upshot: Five Guys does a lot of things right. They also do at least one thing horribly wrong. And they aren’t the East Coast In-N-Out, if for no other reason than the lack of a secret menu, and the fact that food costs almost twice as much. My specific thoughts:
- No extra dosh for toppings, of which they have 15, and of which one is fresh, not pickled, jalapenos.
- They fresh cut potatoes on site to make fries, and they’re pretty damn good. Plus, order a large (at least where I went) and they dump an entire extra HUGE scoop of loose ones into the bag.
- They have bottles of Heinz malt vinegar for fries, in case you feel like having Belgian English french fries.
- Fries are available “cajun style.” Didn’t try ‘em this time though.
- Bacon is well, not overly, cooked and has a nice flavor. It’s also free (on the burger, I don’t think they’ll just give you a plate).
- They have hot sauce.
- They wouldn’t grill the fresh jalapenos for the dude behind me.
- They have a white board on which they name the actual farm the potatoes they’re using that day are from. Mine was in Idaho. I didn’t believe it.
- Burgers are like five bucks (add 50 cents for cheese), so they’d better throw in those toppings. Lunch for me and my two kids cost me $25. Bite me.
- They smish the burger meat onto the grill, which is no way to treat burger meat, fool.
- No milk shakes.
- Burgers are served cooked one way: well done. (While I can’t really fault them so much for that in context of fast food, the price elevates it to the next level of burgerdom, and I’d like me some options – like ordering it cooked as I’d like, and un-smished).
- Red and white motif is somewhat irritating and reminds me of someone I disliked in grade school.
- If you bump into another customer you’re likely to get hipster all over you.
- The cheese sucks. And there was too much of it on my burger.
- Really. The cheese sucks.
Overall, though, it was a pretty good munch. It doesn’t live up to the hype in most respects (but things rarely do), though it exceeds in in others (fresh jalapenos, fresh-cut potatoes, vinegar…did I mention fresh jalapenos?).
I’ll never order another cheese burger from Five Guys for the rest of my life, but I wouldn’t complain if I find myself holding one of their bacon burgers topped with jalapenos, raw onions, grilled onions, lettuce, and hot sauce at some point in the future.
I’d give the entire experience a 3 out of 5, and recommend it if you like lots of toppings and don’t mind a well done burger (in its defense, it’s still juicy) . If you want to keep the meal cheap, though, you’ll need to leave the ankle biters at home.