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5 guys? Is it really that good?

We're looking for a decent (cheap eat) burger. I keep hearing about 5 guys - is it worth it?

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  1. Yes, and this is coming from a Californian who swore West Coast burgers couldn't be matched. It really is one of the best on the East Coast. It took me awhile to get past my denial, but 5 Guys always delivers the goods. And the fries are tops as well.

    1. I've found that the quality and cleanliness varied from place to place. The first one we tried left us feeling underwhelmed and wondering what all the hype was about. Plus the tables were dirty. Several months later we decided to try a different one and found that the burgers were much better and the tables were clean.

      1 Reply
      1. re: MizYellowRose

        I think this is the case. Some seem to be a lot better than other. I haven't had a problem with either of the ones I visit and love them. The last time I visited one, it seemed to cut the size of a fry order in half. It's not really that much of a value if you have to order your own burger and fries. I expect one regular order of fries to be enough for two people and then some.

      2. they are good, but they're huge.

        5 Replies
        1. re: hill food

          Not impressed, sorry. I don't get the 5 guys hype.

          1. re: kelarry

            Same here. I don't get it. They're greasy and taste just blah. I'd just as soon have a Wendy's burger if we're talking chain food. The exalted fresh french fries are usually pretty limp and taste to me as if they've been treated with a sugar solution to promote browning.

            1. re: rockycat

              Agreed. The fries look good, but are mushy and limp. Burgers only cooked well-done, and too much bun for a single burger. I haven't tried the double burgers.

              1. re: JennS

                if I'm in the Metro Center area and have a choice between 5 Guy's and Ollie's, I'm going to Ollie's. but with no such alternative, one could do worse.

              2. re: rockycat

                Man I agree. Have only been once, but the burger was greasy and the patty was loose and feel apart a tthe first bite. The fries were like greased spaghetti. I'll take a Big Mac before I'll eat another burger here. Best to look for a little local place--they're trying to make a living and don't have a "corporate" backup!

          2. Lousy burgers. Good peanuts. The fries are all right, but nothing special. I have no idea why the hype about these places continues.

            1. Because people's tastes in burgers widely varies, you really have to try it for yourself. I think they're great burgers. The meat itself has a good, beefy taste and texture. I love getting mine with cheese and jalapenos. Just remember that the small burger is, well, NOT small! The regular burger has two patties! You'll leave feeling full and your appetite for a good burger hopefully sated.

              1. 10 bucks gets you a good burger, fries, and a drink.

                It's better than ruby tuesdays, chili's, fuddruckers(at least the ones here, not in TX), burger king, jack n the box, mc donald's, wendy's.

                But it's not better than breaking out your own grill, firing up your own lump charcoal, and making them yourself. No burger can beat that.

                1 Reply
                1. re: WestIndianArchie

                  Seconded. I've yet to have a fast food or semi-fast food burger that compares to the homemade kind.

                  I was all set to try Five Guys a few months ago, but foiled myself. We picked up some burgers and fries a few miles from home, then set out (needed to get other groceries home). Got stuck in traffic. By the time we got home, the smell -- and grease soaking through the bags of fries -- had turned me off completely. Haven't been able to work up the motivation since.

                2. They are EXTREMELY over-hyped and the two times I ate there the fries were horrible and soggy! The burger is better than average but even Ruby Tuesday's serves a much better burger. You would be better served elsewhere

                  1. From what I have heard, it depends - some locations of 5 Guys are better than others. We've only been to 2 of them on Rt. 1 in Alexandria - both have been excellent. I've heard bad things about other ones though. Who knows.

                    The ones I've had have been infinitely better than Ruby Tuesday.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: MDoodle

                      The one time I went to 5 guys in georgetown, I was starving and it was delicious at the moment, (burgers and fries), but for the rest of the day, I felt like my lips were swollen from the salt they used, and I drank tons of water and couldn't quench my thirst. I've never wanted to go back.

                      1. re: MDoodle

                        Even for what it is, Ruby Tuesday's is bad. I can at least find something edible at Chili's or Friday's if I have to.

                        I think one reason for the negative reviews on Five Guys here is that the people who like it, like me, aren't necessarily moved to defend it. It's a damn sight better than your typical fast food burger, but it's not world class either. I get a craving for one every few months, and they've expanded enough that it's easily fulfilled. But I'm not going to go on about how great it is.

                      2. For cheap eats, yeah, it's worth it. As Jon Parker said, it's better than most fast food burgers (and that's really what it is, though it does take a few minutes as they cook when you order it). They're made with thin patties cooked through, normally with 2 patties per sandwich. If you like a variety of toppings, they definitely gain there. I prefer lettuce, tomato and onion only so the toppings don't help me much. I live in California right now and I think In N Out is superior, but Five Guys has a couple of locations in Charlottesville, VA where I went to school and where I may relocate in the next year or so and I'm happy that they're there for the occasional burger jones.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: ccbweb

                          ^^My friends from California are always talking about In 'N Out. I wish they would expand to the East Coast!!!

                          1. re: ccbweb

                            As a former (and potentially future) Cvillian, you will appreciate this: The reason Five Guys has expanded so much the last couple of years is that Corin Capshaw is now part owner. He supposedly approached the original owners in NoVa and bought in.

                          2. I love Five Guys and am quick to defend it. The bun is grilled and always fresh and I get the little burger (I prefer thinner burgers to big 'honkin ones) and the meat has not been frozen. I can get whatever topping I want based on my mood and how healthy I am trying to be. Healthy day....little burger with mustard, lettuce, tomato, pickle and onion. Feeling indulgent...little cheeseburger with bacon and grilled onions.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Janet from Richmond

                              plus side fresh tasting...minus side usually done medium well to well done...not actually my favorite way to have a burger....fries....usually reliable and large quantity...priced reasonably....all in all....better than the fast food places....equal to casual sit down and priced better.....

                            2. We only recently got a 5 Guys near us and we've been once since they opened. We really loved what we ordered. The fries were fresh and crisp and quite plentiful and the burgers were huge (next time we'll order the smaller burgers and one order of fries). We'll definitely go back the next time we're in the neighborhood.

                              1. A 5 Guys opened across the street from a Steak & Shake. I saw that S & S closed. I was sad. I was not that impressed with 5 Guys but liked S & S.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: SweetPea

                                  holy crap I had no idea Steak and Shake had been on the East Coast (your profile says SC) if I'd known that on a road trip to Hilton Head back in '03...

                                  well I'd have been a lot less grumpy in the back seat.

                                2. Hit or miss. I don't go that often but have had good burgers and fries and also not so good, especially the fries. The meat is small, and I think it's harder to cook that well w/out drying it out. The toppings are endless, look interesting but can overwhelm the burger so you have to be careful not to get carried away and get everything you want. The fries seem like they have the potential to be great, nice cuts w/ skin, but they're generally limp when I get them. But, they make it up with quantity (not a good thing--oily limp fries are inedible when they're cold). As fast food goes, though, it's the only place I go to, but it doesn't compare to In N Out and no shakes.

                                  1. Re: the fries at Five Guys, the key is to GET THEM OUT OF THE PAPER BAG AND STYRO CUP as quickly as you can. If you can manage to keep them from steaming, they're actually pretty good, but they definitely suffer for their time in the bag/cup.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Suzy Q

                                      I like to use the paper bag to absorb grease. Disgard the styrofoam cup and let the brown paper do what it does best- soak up the oil. I agree that the fries can be soggy, I prefer them a little dryer and crisp

                                    2. How lucky are we? In our small town we first had a Cheeburger-Cheeburger, now we're getting a 5 Guys. Oy!

                                      1. I liked the burger, fires, and experince very much. I do not recomend getting the regular (double patty) burger, instead get the smaller of the two. I also do not recomend the "5 guys style" with mushrooms. The mushrooms taste like they came from can..no bueno. I would get the burger with what ever toppings you like to put on your hamburger you will enjoy it more! I like mayo mustard ketchup onions lettuce pickles.

                                        1. First 5 Guys visit today. Fries astoundingly unremarkable, despite the availability of malt vinegar, but I was quite happy with the hot, beefy burger. (I had the standard, which is 2 medium-thickness patties) I'm visiting in Manassas, where there are Fosters Grilles around, and I'm generally happy with theirs, and will probably invest my calories there unless I don't plan to get fries, which Foster's is consistently delivers hot and crispy.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: lemons

                                            I didn't think much of it. The burger was so sloppy it fell apart when being eaten and the patties were too big IMO. The only place a double patty has ever felt right to my mouth is In-N-Out. I ended up taking one out to eat the burger and just thought it was ok. The fries were bad. Soggy and seemed to have msg or a seasoned salt on them.

                                          2. My opinion is they're fairly basic oldtime burgers, the kind you'd get almost anywhere until McD's changed the landscape. Hardee's used to serve burgers like this - maybe they still do but I haven't been near one for years.

                                            1. Interesting that this topic came up again. I live in AZ and we have In-n-Out and Culver's, but not Five Guys. Lately, I've preferred Culver's to In-n-Out. I am visiting family in NJ right now and I'm going to try the Five Guys in Hackensack tomorrow. What MUST I order to get the complete experience. At In-n-Out, I'd say a Double Double Animal Style, but I know nothing about Five Guys and I'm looking forward to doing a comparison.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: ejs1492

                                                The Five Guys hype is not one I buy or get either. My stepdad goes there from time to time and brings backs dinner for all of us. These are heart attack burgers for sure, holy moly! The best I've had? Not even close, plus the fries are nothing to rave about. Want a nice burger go to iHOPS or something, heck even Fridays is better than Five Guys and that's saying a lot.

                                                1. re: burgerhound7

                                                  Wow. You must've gone to a really bad Five Guys to say that an IHOP burger is better. I'm curious, though - what do you think makes Five Guys more of a "heart attack burger" over any other kind?

                                              2. Hit or miss. Depends entirely on the individual store. When they're good, they're very good. When they're bad, they're no better than any chain burger, and often worse.

                                                Get the fries out of the bag ASAP or they'll steam and reabsorb all the grease.

                                                Cheap? Not really, unless you just get a small burger or the hotdog.

                                                1. I am a meat eater but I'm not a big fan of ground beef burgers...except at 5 Guys. I love this place. I've yet to have a bad burger or order of fries in many visits. Their hotdog is quite good too but I wouldn't get it again 'cause I can't go there and not get a Little Bacon Cheeseburger with buffalo sauce, mayo and lettuce.
                                                  Their bacon is crisp (deep fried and delicious).
                                                  Great burger...I don't think it can or should be compared to Wendy's (as a poster has indicated). Plus sure you can make burgers on the grill at home...as long as someone's picking me up some awesome 5 guys fries to go with that.

                                                  1. burgers really good, a little greasy but great . Better than the typical fast food so it is made to order. Overly generous order of fries, one small easily feeds three

                                                    1. Quality varies dramatically by location. And the single patty burger is better than the standard double - a better balance of toppings to meat. Even better is the vegetarian burger - just the toppings. But the bun is too sweet and mushy everywhere. Fries are good when hot.

                                                      This food does not travel at all well - after 10 minutes, it turns into a soggy mess.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: alwayscooking

                                                        Went to 5 Guys for the first time last week in upstate NY. I got a little cheeseburger w/ketchup and pickles and a small fry. Cost about six bucks. I loved every bite. I thought the place was great and I've been thinking about the food ever since. Can't wait to go again.

                                                      2. I really like the 5 Guys in Nanuet NY. Their burgers remind me in flavor of the kind I used to get at the soda counter at our local pharmacy a really long time ago. My daughter 8 is super picky, never eats too much, and this is the only burger I've seen her ever devour. There's something in the blend of their meat that has this kind of almost marrow like flavor. Not sure how to replicate it at home - if anyone knows tell me. I'm sure locations vary so this may not be true for others.

                                                        1. lol @ this getting moved from the DC/md/va board

                                                          5 Replies
                                                          1. re: WestIndianArchie

                                                            ^^I didn't even realize 5 guys was a national chain? Where else is it?

                                                            1. re: beauxgoris

                                                              Outside of the VA, Maryland, DC
                                                              - NYC
                                                              - Houston
                                                              - CA
                                                              - FL
                                                              - midwest

                                                              They've gotten huge

                                                                1. re: beauxgoris

                                                                  And Alabama (saw one in Huntsville last week).

                                                              1. OK here we go with my 5G scorecard.Keep in mind Ive only been to one store,been there a dozen times or so.

                                                                1}Fries are the best I've had.But only if you get them out of the brown bag immediately.And I dont mean 10 minutes later when you get home or back to the shop,I mean immediately,like right now!Im not kidding,Any time in that bag decreases their goodness exponentially.In 2 1/2 minutes they will be no better than Wendy's fries,which arent real great.
                                                                2)Burgers good quality,never frozen,cooked to death.More expensive and no better than Wendy's which are also never frozen and cooked to death.
                                                                3)Service was good the first time I went,I think they were imported trainers.All times after that it was the same thoughtless service as all the other chain places.

                                                                Overall it was as good as Wendy's but loses points because too expensive.

                                                                1. Yes, yes it is.

                                                                  I went last Tuesday and liked it so much I went back again on Wednesday. I had a single (2 patties??) with cheese and bacon and a regular fries. Both aspects were excellent.
                                                                  The burgers are done on a flat top which IMHO is the best way to do a burger. Ya it's a bit greasy but it's supposed to be.
                                                                  The fries looked to be cut on site and were crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. My only complain with them is a regular order is enough for 3 people.

                                                                  We went to the one off University Ave. in Huntsville, Al.


                                                                  1. Co-workers and I were excited to see we had a 5 Guys nearby after seeing Obama visit on the news. We ventured out to try it a couple weeks ago.

                                                                    I'm not a burger person necessarily. But these I really liked. I had read others comments ahead of time so we knew to take the fries out of the cup, and I only ordered the smaller burger. I didn't pile a ton of stuff on it and it was quite enjoyable. I found the service to be really fast and very friendly.

                                                                    This location is not close so it won't be a regular place for us but when in the neighborhood, I would definitely go back. I'm waiting to take my husband, who is the true burger man in the family to see what he thinks.

                                                                    ETA - this one is outside of Seattle.

                                                                    1. president obama likes it

                                                                      1. MY review of 5 guys is as follows
                                                                        i give the burgers a 5/10 i had to get TWO of the DOUBLE burgers just to feel filled up. also the burgers are 6 dollars each and are slightly bigger thanh a 99 cent double burger at mcdonalds. they are burnt which i hate and refuse to accomodate for those of us who like medium burgers. however the meat and cheese was pretty good BUT NOT BETTER THAN WENDYS OR WORTH THE HYPE. the bacon was burnt to shit and tasted horrible. the hype is not worth it and fuddruckers pwns this place.

                                                                        i give the fries a 5/10. i got the cajun fries. i was told a small order was huge and that they fill a whole paper bag with them and then pour some more into a huge cup. i got a small styrofoam cup fileld with fries that was a lie. also they were soggy limp and gross. the mseasoning made them kind of tasy though so they get a 5/ in my book. however for 3 dollars i wont go back there.

                                                                        i give the price of the items a 1/10 if i could go lower i would. 6 dollars for a burnt burger thats no bigger than a bignmac and 3 dollars for some limp soggy small order of fries.
                                                                        came out to 15 dollars for JUST ME to get myself full and im not a big eater.

                                                                        i give the customer service a 3/10. after driving 45 minutes to try the GREATEST BURGER EVER. i was told i could not have it off the grill a little early and t must be burnt and well done. i was like w/e and got it. i give it a 3 because they let us call in our order and because even with the overwhelming amount of people it took around 10 minutes to get our food to us which was pretty good. they claim they only well done their burgers to serve a consistent product however the first time i went their my burger was not burnt so idecided to give them another chance and i got two burgers since one was to small, and this time ONE of my two burgers was burnt. how does that happen??? they should ahve taken both of my orders out the same time.
                                                                        5 guys sucks.

                                                                        11 Replies
                                                                          1. re: pdpredtide

                                                                            Seems to depend on which one you go to. Inconsistency is not a good trait though.


                                                                            1. re: Davwud

                                                                              Agreed. Both of the 5 Guys I've been to are great. The regular size is more than enough for most people I know to eat with fries, and typically the little with fries is just fine.

                                                                          2. re: RCTRIPLEFRESH5

                                                                            RC: given the inconsistency by location, where was your 5 Guys?

                                                                              1. re: RCTRIPLEFRESH5

                                                                                RC: thanks, I only went a coupla times when working near one in DC because the (small) burger was just too big there. Ok, but not stellar, crowds out the door, long wait, greasy fries and just ehhh "I could do worse".

                                                                                weird that what's served is enormous here but is McD sized there. it's interesting the serving sizes vary so much. that is one lesson the Kroc's had to offer for a franchise operation.

                                                                                not that they were ever the true standard (but that's another thread that might provoke violence)

                                                                                1. re: hill food

                                                                                  definitely sounds like he went to a 5 Guys that was FRANCHISE owned. If that was the case, then he could of just been an individual case of a poorly run restaurant with poor managment. which in turn could result in poor tasting food, not so great employees, unfresh ingredients...

                                                                                  1. re: Woof Woof Woof

                                                                                    That would be my thought. The only one I've been to is great IMHO. A good beefy tasting (good size when you consider it's two patties) burger that's done on a flat top. The fries were good, serviceable fries. Nothing special but not at all terrible.
                                                                                    I thought the price was decent and the place was clean.

                                                                                    Now, the thing is, after reading others reviews, it's like I've been going to a different place. So clearly consistency is a real problem for 5 Guys.


                                                                                    1. re: Davwud

                                                                                      Alright i was away a little while but I wanted to get in for the 4Q 09 5 Guys vs Wendys Update.
                                                                                      5G is up first.Regular size burger,American cheese,no bacon.Cooked to death.Satisfying taste though.Obviously fresh meat.Fries,just exceptional.Removed from bag within 30 seconds.Soda,nothing special.
                                                                                      Total price $10.15 (!).
                                                                                      WendysClassic Double cheese,fresh,tasty meat,never frozen,cooked to death,satisfying.Fries,very weak.Not even McD quality.Limp.Very bad fries.
                                                                                      Soda,it was soda,it had ice in it.
                                                                                      Total price $6.19

                                                                                      The 5G meal was a little better because of the good fries.It was not 4$ better.It was maybe a dollar better.If 5G would offer a combo (which takes over a buck off a la carte prices at wendys) I might go back,but they show no interest,service was bored and perfunctory.So was Wendys but at least Wendys gave me a VIP discount for another 62 cents off-total 5.57! Easy decision-Winner-Wendys.See you in 2010 I hope.

                                                                                      1. re: billfish

                                                                                        vip discount? i live at wendys where's mine?

                                                                                        1. re: RCTRIPLEFRESH5

                                                                                          Try telling the drive thru girl shes cute?Usually works for me.

                                                                          3. We got to try the one in Palm Bay, FL on Wed. There were some problems...

                                                                            1. The place was packed. The guy working the fryer got way ahead of the guys on the grill. As a result, our fries sat in the styrofoam cup for quite a while before we got our order. The fries weren't nearly as crispy as they should have been. I wasn't watching but I'm not sure if the fries were salted when they came out of the fryer. Ours needed salt. This may be a quality control issue at just this franchise.

                                                                            2. I ordered the regular cheeseburger (the 2 patty job) with a minimum of condiments (ketchup, mustard, grilled onions & tomato.) The bun doesn't have enough substance to support this combo. It was a falling apart, soggy mess have way thru the burger. The bugers themselves were juicy & tasty, even being cooked well-done.

                                                                            Based upon this experience, I'd have to say that their not really "that good".

                                                                            1. I had been waiting to try Five Guys for a while. I finally went in (No drive thru’s) to the new location yesterday. They asked me if I’d been before and walked me through the basics.
                                                                              No combos, everything is separate. Order your burger and condiments desired and you’re sides. This particular location had free peanuts to munch on while you wait for your food.
                                                                              I’ll have to say it wasn’t what I expected. I’d heard all the hype. The burger wasn’t bad. It wasn’t good or great, but still not that bad. The fries, SUCKED.
                                                                              (Cheap burger) I don’t think so. 2 (Small) burgers, 1 order of fries and 2 medium drinks. Cost $18.00.. Holy cow, that’s four cheeseburger value meals at In N Out. Then they have the nerve to put out a tip jar.

                                                                              Overall : Not impressed.