Fast Casual Review: Five Guys Burgers and Fries

Fresh off President Obama’s trip to Five Guys, let’s show off a couple of their staples.  When it comes to burgers, there are plenty of options.  McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s are the most well known, but for my money none of them can touch the burgers at Five Guys Burgers and Fries.

five-guys-sign

Five Guys currently offers 4 different burgers, the hamburger, cheeseburger, bacon burger and bacon cheeseburger.  Each of these choices are also offered in a “little” version which has one hamburger patty instead of the two patties found on the standard versions.  Five Guys offers a good number of free toppings for their burgers.  In addition to burgers, Five Guys also serves french fries, hot dogs and grilled cheese sandwiches.

Five Guys Cheeseburger

five-guys-burger-1

On my latest visit to Five Guys, I ordered the bacon cheeseburger topped with mushrooms, jalapeños and A1 sauce.  The burgers here aren’t those paper thin patties you find at many other fast food burger spots.  You receive 2 rather thick and juicy patties.  The patties are smothered in American cheese and enveloped in a soft  bun.  You would expect such a large burger to fall apart and become sloppy.  Surprisingly the bun stays in tact and keeps the burger manageable.  By the time you unwrap your burger the cheese has melted to perfection, mixing with the other toppings to create a medley of flavor.  The bacon is crisp and tasty, but nothing extra special.  The A1 sauce adds the perfect kick that could not be achieved by plain old ketchup.  The fresh jalapeños add a crunch and a nice amount of spice to the burger.  Five Guys Cheeseburger – GrubGrade: 9.25/10 (Exceptional)

five-guys-burger-open

Since the place is called Five Guys Burgers and Fries, I assume you cannot have one without the other.  I decided to go with a regular order of fries.  The size of the order is anything but “regular’.  Any room in the brown paper bag that is not taken up by the burger is filled with fries.  The fries are fresh cut daily.  On the whiteboard next to the register was a sign stating that today’s potatoes were from Teton, Idaho.  The fresh cut  potatoes with the skin on are lightly salted, wonderfully crispy and delicious.  Topped with malt vinegar and a little ketchup these are some of the best fries around.  If you like your spuds with a little kick, you can order cajun fries, which come with seasoning salt.  Five Guys Fries –  GrubGrade: 9.50/10 (GrubGrade Hall of Fame)

Five Guys Fries

Five Guys is one of those places that isn’t shy about what it offers.  Big, thick, greasy burgers.  Every brown paper take-out bag from Five Guys I’ve ever had did little to hide the evidence of grease spots.  This is an award winning burger spot born out of the Washington Metro Area and it’s a growing chain that proves the customers know what they like.

Pros: I really don't know where to begin. The burger is juicy, delicious and perfectly cooked. Large variety of toppings. Soft bun keeps everything where it's supposed to be. The fresh cut fries are crisp and tasty. When combined with the malt vinegar they provide the perfect complement to the burger.

Cons: Taste wise there are no cons. Nutritionally there are plenty, but we won't talk about those.

Taste: 9.25/10
Value: 7.50/10
Grubbing on-the-go: 7.50/10
Price: $2.59 (Regular Size Fries) | $5.39 (Bacon Cheeseburger)

Overall GrubGrade: 9.50 (Five Guys Fries) | 9.25 (Five Guys Cheeseburger)

More Info: FiveGuys.com
Nutrition Facts:
Bacon Cheeseburger has 920 calories, 62 grams of fat 180 mg of cholesterol, 1310 mg of sodium, 40 grams of carbs 2 grams of dietary fiber and 51 grams of protein.A regular order of fries has 620 calories, 30 grams of fat, 90 mg of sodium, 78 grams of carbs, 6 grams of dietary fiber and 10 grams of protein.

32 comments on “Fast Casual Review: Five Guys Burgers and Fries

  1. Marvo says:

    Despite how messy that burger looks, I want to make sweet love to it. Oh man, that looks soooo good.

    New thing to add to my checklist: Eat a Five Guys burger.

  2. rob says:

    My favorite burger place. I used to eat at the original one on Glebe road in Arlington VA.

  3. Bear Silber says:

    “The fries are fresh cut daily. On the whiteboard next to the register was a sign stating that today’s potatoes were from Teton, Idaho.” – That is so freakin’ cool.

    This place actually looks like I’d like it. Normally I have a reluctance to enjoy something that has become such a pop hit (i.e. Sprinkles…Pink Berry…Jamba Juice) but this place seems legit. I really like what they’re doing. They’re like a lesser In-N-Out (bias speaking, ’cause there isn’t a 5Gs near me_ 😛

  4. Ryan says:

    People rave about their cajun-style fries. Never had them. I think the last time I had a Five Guys burger was 8yrs ago. I did have a bacon cheese hotdog last year that was pretty good. They also have shelled peanuts everywhere to munch on while you’re waiting for your order.

  5. Bear Silber says:

    @Ryan – I totally wanted to do that at my place, a huge barrel of peanuts, but my supplier scared me out of it (allergies). I opted for a smaller barrel of free pretzels 🙂

  6. Ryan says:

    Good idea Bear. “These pretzels are making me thirsty.” = higher drink sales.

  7. While I will admit that the burger is above average, the cost of this place far outweighs the taste of the food in my mind. For me, it’s not worth it.

  8. nuttyturnip says:

    I used to feel that way about the cost, but since I work in downtown DC, the price compares to other fast food (and it’s hard to find chain fast food downtown). The fries are the best part. It’s too bad the ones near me are in food courts, and don’t have the free peanuts.

  9. James says:

    The cajun fries are OK. It tastes more like plain seasoning salt than any type of cajun seasoning. I much prefer the plain fries.

  10. rob says:

    They have one at our local hockey stadium, best stadium food ever. The burgers are exactly the same as the ones in their regular stores and only cost $1 more.

  11. Francois says:

    Don’t worry too much about missing In-N-Out. Five Guys dwarfs In-N-Out by comparison in taste. In-N-Out is mostly just hype and a brilliant marketing team.

  12. fujiko says:

    I love the place and the burgers are easily heated up and great for leftovers. I did not like the bacon at all on mine. It just seemed to be a nuisance and re-heated, not good at all. I usually call in an order to pick up. They tell me 10minutes. I get there 20 minutes later and its still not finished and I end up waiting another 15. So that is a complaint I have. But the food is great. Buns are so good. I like the helping of fries they give. Only have to get one large cup and two of us can’t finish them.

  13. john says:

    This place is AMAZING. It’s an occasional visit for me, but worth it every time.

  14. harleytexas says:

    At best, the burgers are a 7/10, the cajun fries are 9.5/10. A lot of hype, not somewhere I’d go out of my way for.

  15. Didn’t like the cajun fries, I like the plain. My problem is that they don’t have a smaller fry option. With a fry, burger and a drink, tax it is almost $11. I mean, it is a good burger, but not sure if it is that good… On the same hand, it’s fresh and made to order with a ton of toppings to choose from. The pic of the burger is nice though! Makes me hungry.

  16. brad says:

    when my friends repeatedly told me I had to try some five guys burgers, I couldn’t imagine why, but after I did I totally knew. my favorite thing about that place is the ample amounts of peanuts they have in-store

  17. Justin says:

    I heard this franchise has outrageous fees to start up and operate one.

    All you have to do is make your own patties and fries and you can run your own joint like this.

    These places take 10% of your REVENUE, then overcharge you for supplies, replacement equipment and make you bear the cost of promotions. If you’re lucky to not have a manager that steals, you’re almost virtually a slave!

  18. Bear Silber says:

    @Justin – I’ve never quite understood running a franchise either….it seems like your creativity would be stifled too. One of the most fun parts of running your own place is the ability to change things whenever you see fit….add menu items, try different promotions (
    http://pizzapartyonline.com/blog/2009/06/win-a-24-stuffed-doggy), etc.

    I guess people get a little bit of security not having to start brand new and having the backing of a proven product. That’s the funny thing with many of these places, you have to agree to multiple units and usually have $200k per unit (at least) plus the leases plus several million in assests.

  19. LW says:

    A lot of mom and pop start up restaurants fail because they can’t draw in enough customers in the beginning. This could be that their restaurant simply doesn’t have good enough food, bad location, or whatever. It can be kind of a gamble.

    With a chain restaurant, the general public recognizes a brand name and associates it with a level of quality they can expect. That’s what the franchise has to offer. Not that all franchises will succeed, but the idea is that your chance of keeping the place up and running is longer, and profits will be greater.

  20. When I first moved to North Carolina last year everyone kept n telling me to try Five Guys. They didnt have them in Boston where I lived. (Although they do now I hear). I cannot get enough of the bacon cheeseburger and the cajun fries. Its the type of burger that tastes like someone invited you over to their house and made you the sloppiest hand packed homemade burger just for you.

    Love.

  21. Justin says:

    If you saw how much money the average franchise rips you off of, you’d start an independent joint too.

    I read the horror stories and the lawsuits against Coldstone and Quiznos. It’s obscene how ridiculous the typical franchise is. It’s not just the 10% of ALL REVENUE that hurts, it’s the extortion from the items they make you buy from the store the corporation sets up as a sweetheart deal.

    I’ve read of people even committing suicide, or posting on message boards in despair that they can’t do anything. My former boss even got a call from a fellow owner who was losing his store. Corporate wouldn’t help him. They just bled him for what he had.

    It’s like an elaborate pyramid scheme.

    • Ryan says:

      I heard that a lot of places require you to purchase in multiples. Is that true? Like you can’t just have one Quiznos you have to take 5. (Quiznos just a random example)

  22. Bear Silber says:

    @Ryan – Yep, that’s true for many places…but you can always petition to have single units….but you do have to have a lot of assets….like usually at least a $1,000,000

  23. Justin says:

    I went to a Five Guys today. The burger was definitely NOT special, it was something I REALLY could make at home. Supposedly, each unit costs $300-500K to build? You are getting jacked! It looked like it cost $50K, 100K at the MOST. There are no trays, just everything is done on the cheap. But somehow, they get franchisees to pay that much money?

    Then it was $10 for everything, the cheeseburger, fries and drink? Cut that price to 5 or 6 bucks at most!

    I just can’t afford, or care to come back, when I could go to Outback, Fridays, wherever, and get a better product. Don’t invest your money in this place, it’s not going to be around long!

  24. Zach Vargo says:

    I love eating at Five Guys. They just recently built a Five Guys by my house in Jacksonville, FL. Also, in Charleston, where I go to school, they have 2 restaurants nearby. It is definitely worth the price.

  25. […] I saw Grub Grade’s Review a few weeks ago, that yummy cheesy burger made me think…  it has been a while since I have […]

  26. SkippyMom says:

    I have said it before – we grew up eating at the original in VA. It was awesome. It was voted best burger several times by Washingtonian Magazine and the Post – but since the family franchised the quality has gone down.

    We don’t enjoy it as much as we used to and it doesn’t seem as special that anywhere we go we see one [NC, SC and I saw a review in Indy and NYC – which has 5.]

    I guess we are disappointed that something that was considered special and local to us was sent out into the world and the ambiance and quality was ruined. I don’t want to see a Five Guys in Nags Head when we go on vacation next month I guess…it isn’t the same. 🙁

  27. […] I saw Grub Grade’s Review a few weeks ago, that yummy cheesy burger made me think that it has been a while since I have […]

  28. ClockCat says:

    No bible scripture on your paper products at Five Guys. That makes it automatically better. 😀

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