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Five Guys Westport

Good burgers creeping closer to Stamford.

http://www.westportnow.com/index.php?...

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  1. I'm not sure I get how 5 Guys and "good burgers" are connected.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Scott_R

      Five Guys is like In 'N Out in California. A pleasant diversion from BK and McD every so often. If you ever fly through Washington - Dulles (IAD) airport, you can sample their food at the dreaded - A - gates. FYI, they also do a decent breakfast. Their 'gimmick'? Everything is fresh. Wouldn't it be nice if the others guys used the same gimmick?

      1. re: dhammer53

        Funny gimmick, using fresh meat and then charring it into a hockey puck.

        1. re: dhammer53

          I beg to differ.....Five Guys does NOT compare in any way to In 'n Out. It is much more expensive, less tasty and greasier. It may be an In 'n Out wannabe but does not hold a candle to the real thing. I would rather go to a locally operated burger place in CT than to Five Guys.

      2. 5 guys is pretty damn good, however i prefer the fries/onion rings from cheeburber... unfortunately cheeburger does not hotdogs...

        1. I still can't get a good explanation of why 5 Guys only does their burgers well done. If the burger is so good, the meat so fresh, why the hell can't they make it medium rare? Bah humbug!

          1 Reply
          1. re: menton1

            I can't stand the policy for well done burgers, but 5 Guys are still pretty good. As to why, it's no secret. Same reason you can't get a medium-rare burger at Wendy's, McDonalds, BK, Outback, Chili's, and on and on and on.

            Risk of e-coli, and the chains are not willing to pay to insure against it (which is probably bad P.R. for them anyway -- like buying off a death or 2) or take their chances with careful meat handling.

          2. Since thisplace is not open yet, why doesn't everyone wait to see if it is any good. Jfood understands that the franchisees for this one are some ex-hedge fund guys who may be in it for the money versus the food.

            Jfood will give it a try when it opens. But from New Canaan and twenty minutes in his pocket he is not going west but driving east for a great burger.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jfood

              jfood meant he would drive west for the burger. directionally challenged tonight

            2. Since this is a chain with strict rules, no "waiting for it to open" will be necessary to know what the food will be like. 5 Guys burgers are ONLY served well done. And they have no good explanation for this peculiar rule. Shoe leather, anyone?

              13 Replies
              1. re: menton1

                We tried it once (the one in Newtown or Monroe)...we all are medium rare burger eaters. While I didn't find it to be dried out, hockey puck, shoe leather, I did find it to be extremely tasteless. The kind of food you keep taking bites of looking for the flavor, only to realize it just isn't there.

                The fries on top were good and crispy...ones that were underneath were pretty soggy. This was a while ago and to be fair, we did drive at least 15 minutes home before eating. Perhaps they are better right off the griddle? I'll give it another try once the Westport one opens since it's close by...

                1. re: sibeats

                  That's what I found, by and large--that it had the taste of cardboard if not exactly the texture. Perhaps "hockey puck" was, while glib, not the most precise description--not that it mattered exactly WHAT KIND of bad it was.

                  1. re: Scott_R

                    Because it was so well done, it is hard to tell if it is beef or beef with a soy mixture and some added grease. It has minimal taste other than char.

                    ~Fred19

                    1. re: Fred19

                      I am probably the biggest food skeptic at-large today; I won't eat at 95 percent-plus places due to cleanliness, food issues, etc but what you guys are saying about Cinco Hombres is just not right.

                      What are you guys, the grandkids of Ray Kroc? Cinco Hombres makes FAST FOOD (so no cooking to order, no rare-medium-rare) in the tradition of the "great" hamburger chains but with a critical difference......

                      The food is much better and the prices are much higher. For me, that's heading in the right direction market-wise. And if a place opened up where they sold hamburgers that cost 15 bucks but were like grass-fed or organic or whatever, with no european-style waiters acting like they own the table, I'd go there also.

                      BTW when the HECK was it determined that the major chans would sell double cheeseburgers for one dollar? Talk about hideous hockey pucks...Talk about turd burgers.....You guys need to aim your vitriol at Wendy's and Burger King. Cinco Hombres is not the problem here. Sorry.

                      1. re: shark_attack

                        Just because McD's and BK have food that is basically inedible doesn't mean that one can't criticize 5 Guys. Firstly, 5 guys has about 100 stores (and expanding apparently) compared to upwards of 10K stores each for the other 2. And if anyone has glanced at the book FAST FOOD NATION and frequents CH as a foodie they realize that these Giant chains are not only providing inedible food but have all sorts of issues including cleanliness and environmental.

                        My main "beef" (pun intended) with 5G is their insistence on cooking Well done. They don't explain, and if their highly self-touted meat quality and handling is so superior why the heck do they have to do this? When I can get a MR burger at 5Guys, I will sing their praise.

                        1. re: menton1

                          They have a bit in their FAQ about cooking well done, though I think it rather sidesteps the issue:

                          http://fiveguys.com/faq.aspx

                          1. re: Scott_R

                            Yes, they side step and don't explain, but they don't have to. This is an insurance issue, plain and simple. Their insurance underwriters have undoubtedly told them - "we don't care how clean and safe your meat-handling, if you want coverage, you need to cook well done." It's no different than an underwriter insisting the warehouse have a fire alarm and sprinkler system installed.

                            1. re: sbp

                              Nah. Restaurant insurance means overcooking? No way. Do you have any first-hand knowledge of your scenario?

                              Why, then, can you get a RARE burger at a chain like Applebee's or Houlihan's? Do they have a better insurance company? No, it's definitely nothing to do with insurance.

                              1. re: menton1

                                I can't get a rare burger at Applebee's in NY. And no, I don't have first hand knowledge of this precise issue, but I do have firsthand knowledge of the underwriting practices of some rather large insurance companies. This is the kind of thing that is an issue. And where a mom and pop restaurant may get insured for a few million dollars, a chain most likely has hundreds of millions in liability insurance, and has to get directly involved in excess insurance, umbrella coverage, even reinsurance in order to get a package that fully protects them. And because of the large numbers involved, you see more conditions with respect to practices. It may not mean the difference between coverage or no coverages, but it could have a huge impact on premiums.

                              2. re: sbp

                                Well, sure. I emailed asking them about precisely this and received a nasty reply in return.

                                menton1: I'm not sure about what you mean about first-hand knowledge. There have been lawsuits from people who've been sickened by ground meat, the biggest one being:
                                http://www.about-ecoli.com/ecoli_outb...
                                A company might prefer to take the lowest-risk route over customer choice.

                                1. re: Scott_R

                                  I went back to 5 Guys today at 11:30 am. I was fairly shocked to find their operation in full swing, with 50 customers either eating, ordering, or mostly, waiting for food.

                                  They had a new guy there today, a guy for him this was NOT his 2nd day in the burger business. For he was an expert expediter, ordering around everyone in the "kitchen" and acting with an efficiency and certainty bespeaking years, not days, in the burger business.

                                  Today it only took 15 minutes to get my food, 2 "little" cheeseburgers to go.

                                  The burgers are what I would call very ok, or pretty darned reasonably decent, with a positive bias:)

                                  And their operation is a model of capitalist burger efficiency. As I stood watching, I felt a Henry-Fordish pride in the benefits of assembly-line style burger production and task specialization welling up within me.

                                  And I live 30 seconds away......That's what I'd call a winning burger formula:)

                                  1. re: shark_attack

                                    Have you still not tried the fries? A small can easily serve 2-3.

                                    1. re: shark_attack

                                      This place is polarizing, just like all other 5G locations. For example, the burgers I've eaten in their DC locations were cooked through but in no way were they "dry, flavorless hockey pucks". They were juicy and nicely flavored and extremely edible. On the other hand, the burger I had in their NYC g village location was dry and flavorless and inedible. Location, location location as they say...

                                      But, it would also be complete hogwash to say that all burgers cooked well done means they are dry and devoid of any "juicy" element. All down to the meat composition and the skill of the burger man.

                                      I look forward to trying the westport location but I'm not champing at the bit to get there. It is what it is. Now, what we need is for shake shack to open up out here. Then I will be happy...

                  2. 5 guys is a step up from mcdonalds, BK, wendy's and even places in fairfield county like swanky franks.

                    It'll just be a place to get a quick burger when you're hungry. plus the new one in westport is less than 5 min from my house. other than that I don't see myself going there all that often

                    13 Replies
                        1. re: menton1

                          Ok, I just ate at 5 guys...

                          I walked in and found the place half full of teenagers by 11:30 am on both sides of the counter. There were 16 employees working hard, none over the age of 20 save the manager, and from the look of things, it was everybody's very first day in the burger business.

                          The line to order was short; the line for food was long. I waited over 15 minutes for a Cheesburger, as pimply-faced teenagers scrambled to create menu items as music blasted on the stereo. The place has a high energy feel, which is nice. So how was the burger, you're wondering...?

                          The short answer is, pretty darn ok. I order a single and got a double, no problem, at least it had catsup and pickles, as I had ordered it. And it was....Kind of reminiscent of when one grinds up some pretty good chuck at home, steams the bun, and throws lots of American cheese on top. You kind of can't go wrong.
                          If you've ever found yourself wondering why the major burger chains don't just raise their prices and start offering good tasting food for a change, this place is for you. It's not cheap. My burger, whatever it was and a regular drink was over 11 bucks. I guess they did charge me for a double. Anyway, like the other fellow said, I live a hop/skip /jump from Cinco Hombres, So I will be going there.

                          Addendum: I found the burger fully cooked but not dry or hockey puck-ish at all, just cooked. And of course, it isn't on the same level taste-wise as some of the premium joints we discuss on here a lot, Cherrystreet, Black Duck, those would still be the go-to places that I know of. But on the other side of the great divide, places that don't serve drinks, This is about as good as it gets. Around here, at least.

                          Next time....The French Fries!

                          1. re: shark_attack

                            FYI, a regular hamburger comes with two patties, you have to order the little burger or specify that you only want one pattie

                            1. re: shark_attack

                              Your 11 bucks did include fries, right? Because the double patty burger is about $6, drink about $2, if I recall correctly.

                              1. re: sbp

                                Interesting info.

                                Don't know why I was charged so much, maybe an opening day special?

                                Seriously, I liked it. I'm going back. Maybe right now:)

                                1. re: shark_attack

                                  So I returned to 5 Guys today at 11:30 am in order to beat the crowds. I shouldn't have worried so much.

                                  When I got there the place empty, no line to order, 5 workers down from 16 and they had their operation, such as it is, down to a science.

                                  Now understand....It still took at least 15 minutes to get my food, but I felt better about things in general (being in a room with any more than about 3 people under the age of 20 makes me slightly nervous) and the woman who essentially prepared my food was really nice, smiled a lot and the burger was a 5 guys burger, but good.....The bun had a more fluffy consistency this time, and the beef was quite juicy and tasted "alright -to- pretty good", as these things do. I didn't like the pickles too much but the bacon burger w/catsup is essentially a winner for 5 bucks and change, no tipping, and no one with scary tats looming over you ruefully wishing you'd get soused before noon:)...Just kidding, I love the Duck.

                                  When I left 5 Guys there were fewer than 20 customers and the average order size seemed smaller while I was there (purely anecdotal observation).

                                  1. re: shark_attack

                                    Thanks for the update SA and welcome back, we missed ya. Seems like water finding its natural level. Next stop for you when the weather gets better is the ho-down grill at Stews. :-)

                                    1. re: jfood

                                      The gloves are coming off and I'm ready to speak freely about the Five Guys experience.

                                      For anyone who'se ever experienced true burger greatness, Five Guys sucks.

                                      And it's expensive. A small burger is 5 bucks. A small fries is 3 bucks. And I have to say, that price point on the fries is just ridiculous, considering that they bestow enough of those greasy little calorie monsters upon you at that price to feed a family of four. It's only if you are alone that ordering them makes no sense. And then, should you dain to not order fries, when they present you with the "burger" they shout your order number as well as "No Fries!" as though you'd just grabbed the cash register and were making for the door, which, in a way, I suppose you are.

                                      More later.

                                      1. re: shark_attack

                                        "For anyone who'se ever experienced true burger greatness, Five Guys sucks. "

                                        Agreed. Burgers are OK, if you dig well done with no juice at all. And their hot dog buns are terrible. My kids wouldn't even touch them when we visited the Woodbridge/NH spot last week. They did like the fries though...even though we took home enough to feed another family. I thought the fries were OK. Now if they could only serve them with skins on every one.

                                        Won't rush back...but I would say 5G works in a pinch over "Fast" burger options.

                                        1. re: LorenV

                                          I'm all on board for the notion that, "Five Guys Sucks." I went there on a recommendation of a friend from Darien, when I asked when the local Burgers Shakes and Fries would open (I'm now told mid-October as they are re-doing the floors). The burger was well done, EXTREMELY greasy, and tasteless. All the free toppings in the world could not remedy this. Nor could the lousy bun, which became soggy FAST with all the grease. I'll wait for BSF in Darien to open if I get a burger craving.

                                          1. re: Jadelise

                                            Yes, yes, I know it's cool to hate Five Guys. Like it or not, they make a great fast food burger - way better than the competition, and the fries are light years beyond as well.

                                            1. re: ratbuddy

                                              it is not cool to like or dislike 5Gs, it is an opinion. if you enjoy this place, great, but many of us do not like it at all, and cool has nothing to do with the dislike, no more than wanting to be a member of a large crowd has anything to do with liking it.

                      1. When I saw the person manning the grill put the spatula down on each "burger" and press hard making a hockey puck I was appalled! I complained to the management [Orange CT - that's OK because the franchise has regions - so you get the same management] & they said they would take care of it. NoFWay! Repeated visits resulted in a hockey puck - eat a hot dog or grilled cheese.

                        GO THERE FOR THE FRIES!
                        A bargain!

                        What Mac Donald's and Wetson's were in the 1960's before frozen pre-blanched spuds were endemic in the U S of A.

                        Otherwise in the parlance of my grandmother ---- FEH!

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: algct

                          Wetson's OMG someone else remembers them. One popped up a nine iron away from jfood in 1963ish and it was the first fast food burger he ever ate.

                          1. re: algct

                            The burgers are a smashed and griddled style. Maybe it's not your thing, but don't complain to management just because they're properly cooking their chosen style of burger.

                            1. re: ratbuddy

                              I think the objection needs to be clarified. Mashing when you put the meat down on the griddle flattens the burger, assuming it's not already a formed patty. Mashing WHILE IT'S COOKING (especially after flipping) pushes out the juices.

                              1. re: Scott_R

                                Yes - while it was cooking - AKA making a hockey puck without being charred on the outside.

                                Real well done is OK by me, but not ersatz [chopped] beef jerky.

                                1. re: algct

                                  I always think when there that if these five guys would merely upgrade the quality of the beef they would literally RAKE in money. Key thing....That's the franchisees who would make more money.

                                  The owners are busy making money hand over fist selling franchises with little incentive to change anything at present.

                                  Then, if they would pull out the flattops and put in flame grilling, they would do that much better.

                              2. re: ratbuddy

                                jfood thinks that giving feedback to management is an important aspect of serving the customer. Could you imagine if sales started sliding and the manager has no idea why? The customer feedback is one of the MOST valuable business insights a company can receive.

                            2. Granted that in the Fast Food world of Mickey D, BK, Wendy's, etc. 5 Guys is top of the heap, the East Coast In 'n Out.

                              But 5G isn't even FAST food. and hardly a bargain. The two times I was there, the order took 15 minutes and cost twice as much as MD with twice the grease (esp. fries) and calories......

                              I will give them credit. Their PR is superb -- they don't advertise and through a skillful manipulation of the media (Obama on NBC nightly), have created a real following. The Emporer's New Hamburger IMO.

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: louuuuu

                                nicely put L. $10 for burger fries and a soda is a gimmee putt from real burgers in the area. unbelievable word of mouth and targetted PR, a business model where the customer can "Make it My Way" (what a novel idea) and then cook and serve.

                                1. re: jfood

                                  $6.50 for their cheapest burger, $3.00 for fries, $2.00 for a soda, plus tip, in a bar, alla the black duck. Maybe Biscuitboy's calculator is broken, but 5Guys wins...and it's somewhere a bit more family friendly than a bar room. 5Guys is pretty good for what it is

                                  1. re: BiscuitBoy

                                    Okeedokee, jfood will bite and calculator seems to work well for a single but not for the situation where kids are involved.

                                    Black Duck Cheeseburger 7; fries 1 (if ordered with a burger); soda 2; Child that includes all plus ice cream 6; tip 3 = $19

                                    So math states if you go by yourself it is $10 at 5Gs and $12 at BG (delta is the tip you leave at BG); If you take one child it is a push and 2 children it is less expensive at BG plus the kids get ice cream. Which is a better location for lunch with kids is a personal thing.

                                    So to compare to BG is a losing proposition, same prices and real burgers versus hockey pucks. You should compare to Wendy's, McDs or BK since, as you state, "for what it is" and those are the comps, not BG, or Cherry Street or the Burger place in SONO. IMHO

                                    -----
                                    Black Duck Cafe
                                    605 Riverside Ave, Westport, CT 06880

                                    1. re: BiscuitBoy

                                      Ok,BB for argument's sake, let's forget this nonsense about bar rooms (a total red herring,) and pit 5 Guys against its own genre: an order-wait- pickup-and seat yourself hamburger emporium. One that serves thousands of hamburgers a week..

                                      I happened to be in the City last night and stopped in at the UWS Shake Shack. Here are their prices:

                                      Double Hamburger 5.75
                                      Fries 2.75
                                      Soda 2.00
                                      Tip -
                                      Total 10.50

                                      That's more or less in the same $ ballpark as 5G ... but the taste, texture, and quality of Shake Shack are in another league. (admittedly 5G would be the clear champ in a hockey rink.)

                                      btw, waiting time was 8 minutes 21 seconds -- not the 15 minutes that ticked away my last two experiences at 5G (one in Westport, the other in the City)

                                      And more families there than I've ever seen at 5G.

                                      1. re: louuuuu

                                        Absolutely louuuuu

                                        Jfood wonders if people have the same non-alcohol standards in their own homes.

                                        1. re: BiscuitBoy

                                          I've never had to wait at Five Guys - they take phone orders.

                                          1. re: ratbuddy

                                            yep...Biscuitboy doesn't think it's rocket science either

                                            1. re: BiscuitBoy

                                              You never have to wait at 5G because there is honestly "never" anyone waiting on line, and to me, that says it all.

                                              Oh once you're there you do have to wait, while they cook your totally nondescript fast food quality burger to order, making a show out of what otherwise would hold very little interest. Once, the very last time I was there, I didn't have to wait; they had many burgers going in advance of lunch or soemthing. On that occasion my burger was assembled ass-backwards, with the bottom bun on top, the top one on the bottom, and curiously, the bacon ABOVE the meat, so you couldn't even flip it over and pretend it was right side up.

                                              I still think the prices are OUTRAGEOUS, I'm sorry.

                                              5 bucks for a small puck? Cmon. 3 bucks for a "small" fries?

                                              I'd much rather pay 2 bucks for half as many fries, but if you know the fry biz you know they are cleaning up on the fries, and then, literally cleaning up as many of those fries find their way into the circular file cab:)

                                              Forget 5 Guys......Except for the smart sons of the founder, who decided, probably after reading Fast Food Nation about a decade ago, to begin selling franchises, which, if you know anything about it, are a complete cash cow. Those boys brought in something like 80 million in franchise fees, and yes, that sure do beat flippin' flippin' pucks, don't it baby?