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Oct 31, 2008 01:48 PM

I Had the BEST French Fries Today!

This was at Five Guys at the Gallows Road & Lee Highway (Merrifield) location. Maybe it was the potatoes from Rigby ID that they had today, maybe they're using a different kind of oil, maybe they got the fryer temperature and time just right. But whatever, these fries were absolutely stupendous. A good bite on the outside, soft on the inside without being mealy, hot, not greasy on the surface, and by the time I finally choked down the last one before giving up, they were still a bit warm. That was about 15 minutes away from the counter.

Maybe they can do it again, maybe they can't. But when a restaurant, particularly a factory like Five Guys, does something really right, they deserve a pat on the back. I only wish they had a smaller order than the small. Half as much would be fine. I'll have to redeem myself tonight by eating boiled chicken and steamed broccoli.

I know that all the Five Guys shops are different, and usually any one is different at different times, but of the few that are on my circuit - Leesburg Pike & Beauregard St, Clarendon, Annandale (where Whole Foods used to be) and Merrifield, the Merrifield one seems to be consistently the best, both for service and food. Somebody there must care.

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  1. Just curious about something: Has anyone had fries at Five Guys made from potatoes that weren't from Rigby, ID?

    4 Replies
    1. re: Bob W

      5G is now franchised over the East Coast, like 90 of them.
      Some are great. Some are...not. I was amazed to find a really good one at I-83 and Rt 30 in York PA,

      1. re: chowsearch

        They seem to be gearing up for a massive expansion - they just opened stores in Texas and Minnesota.

      2. re: Bob W

        I'm sure I've seen potatoes from other places in Idaho. I remember some from Washington (state) more than once. I doubt that the origin of the potato really matters a lot, but you never can tell. I'm not a farmer.

        1. re: Bob W

          The Five Guys fries we had last weekend were from somewhere in Washington, causing my wife to exclaim,

          "What, they couldn't find a good enough potato in Idaho that they had to keep driving all the way to Washington?"

          (Incidentally, I agree... great fries. The burgers? Meh.)

        2. I was at the Gallows 5G a few weeks back and the fries were excellent as you described. I think those were the best fries I've had at a 5G in this area.

          5 Replies
          1. re: dpan

            I mostly go the one on Wilson Blvd. near Courthouse, and they range from perfect to just OK.

            1. re: Henry Spencer

              OK, besides 5G, where are the best fries in the DC-Baltimore area? If we're going to bust the diet, it should be good. And maybe they'll use trans-fat-free fryer oil for a little less guilt. In Baltimore, Cafe Hon is pretty decent. Salt has duck-fat fries but they're not God's gift to fries lovers. Petit Louis' frites are OK, for little skinny ones.

              1. re: chowsearch

                Elevation Burger (Falls Church) cooks the fries in olive oil. Some love them, I've never been enthusiastic about them. It's not the oil (or maybe it is) but the few orders I've had there before I quit ordering them were inconsistent, sometimes overdone, sometimes limp. And they're "shoestring" size and cool off very quickly. If you try some, bring a buddy, share an order, and if you like them enough to want more, get a fresh order.

                1. re: chowsearch

                  The best fries (IMO) I ever had in DC were at a restaurant called JoJo. Steak fry size, crispy but not burned--perfect.

                  1. re: chowsearch

                    Rosemary garlic fries at Brewers Art

              2. I've never had what I thought were outstanding fries at 5 Guys, although I've never been to that particular location.

                Among my favorite fries are the crispy sensations served at Southside 815.

                1. Love Five Guys french fries....they are usually great......doesn't matter if they come from Rigby Idaho or Washington state...all potatoes from the NOrth West have less water then Eastern or Midwest potatoes because of the volcanic soil in that region......thats why those potatoes make better fries.

                  I just wish Five Guys would offer a "kids size" french fry or a small that was really SMALL ! THey think they are being generous by giving alot of fries in their "small" fry, but if I'm by myself I won't order them because the order is just TOO BIG for one person! ( and they are soooo good I would eat them all and feel guilty all day,,,,,,,,,,,)

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: MDicecreamguy

                    I've said exactly the same thing about the size of an order of fries at Five Guys. Maybe we should have a Chowhounds "meet for fries" section so we can have someone to share with. <G>

                    1. re: MikeR

                      You know there's a serving size problem when my family of four shares a small and get more than enough.

                  2. I had heard a lot about Five Guys over the past couple of years, before I moved here and got to try them. I have eaten at various 5G locations in MD and NJ. Sorry to report that the burgers and the fries were very disappointing. I find Johnny Rocket's burgers more tasty.

                    For fries... I think this is an extremely personal taste. Some like shoestrings that are thin and very crispy. Others like the softer thicker fries of chains like Wendy's. Chick-Fil-A's waffle fries have their fans as well.

                    For me, personally, there is only ONE "Cadillac of french fries." My fried tater of choice has to be Nathan's. Thick rough-hewn crinkle cut slabs of pure potato goodness. Thick enough to have a slightly crisped skin and exterior, and still have a moist, steaming interior of tender spud delight..

                    A close second are the places that still have and use those old Broasting machines. Sort of pressure-fried cookers I think. Hard to find, but worth choosing if you find one.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: chaordic

                      I used to love Nathan's fries from Coney Island (along with their pizza, raw clams, chow mein sandwich and, of course, hot dogs). However, I do not think I have ever had a good experience with their fries at one of their franchise operations. So, I stopped going.