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My Five Guys Apprehension

Whenever the masses tell me a restaurant is good, I'm pretty sure it sucks. Recently Everyone has been telling me how great it is. CH is loaded with people singing its praises and it's really making me wonder. I'm away from home right now and there is one a few blocks away. For two weeks I've avoided it, but I think tomorrow I may cave in. I know in my heart it's going to be awful, but I'm going in with an open mind and definitely hoping to be shocked. I'm pretty picky when it comes to burgers, because I live a block away from some of the best burgers anyone will ever eat. That being said, a Whopper hits the spot sometimes more than a real burger.

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  1. Recently Everyone has been telling me how great it is. CH is loaded with people singing its praises
    not really.


    1 Reply
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      I've actually seen about 10-1 and heard about 30-1 of people I know saying it's great. I'm getting one today!

    2. Even if you don't sing its praises, it will be head and shoulders above a Whopper, and absolutely not the worst burger you've ever had.

      And you just might *like* it.

      Not much downside there.

      11 Replies
      1. re: sunshine842

        Head and shoulders above a Whopper? That's damn near chain food Blasphemy. I now have my King mask on shaking my head.

        1. re: jhopp217

          LOL! great visual there. i haven't had a fast food burger in more than 25 years, so i've never tried Five Guys...but when i was a kid i always preferred the Whopper Jr over the Quarter Pounder :)

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            With the exception of KFC, I normally have a fast food meal about once every three months. I usually hit BK up for a Whopper, but I was thinking about it and this year, I've really been bad. I've hit quite a few.

            Burger King - still the best, Whopper is the pinnacle of fast food burgers. Hamburgers are a great deal at $.99. I actually like their fries better than the infamous Mickey D's fries - or as I call them salt licks.

            Mickey D's - honestly had a Big Mac this year for the first time in five years. Had to pull over. I got physically ill.

            Wendy's - hasn't been good since Dave Thomas died...and that's the truth.

            Taco Bell - if anyone could explain what I ate that day, I'd appreciate it. The beans werent beans, they were paste, the meat wasn't recognizable and the rice was cold. Another near pull over.

            Nathan's (not in Coney Island) - ordered two dogs, one with onions, one with kraut. I drive away and stop at a light about four minutes later. No onions, no kraut. No packets of relish, no packets of mustard. Stale bun, cool hot dog. Never ever going back....other than Coney Island.

            1. re: jhopp217

              I actually like their fries better than the infamous Mickey D's fries - or as I call them salt licks.
              i never got involved in that debate - i was all about the BK onion rings!

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                bk onion rings? those reconstituted bits of chopped onion pressed into a circle? what did you see in them?

                Been to 5 guys once, it was ok, nothing special, nothing horrible. I'd go back, but i seem to like in and out better. but both are a 'treat' when i go to LA or wherever since they aren't in Hawaii.

                1. re: KaimukiMan

                  I eat the BK onion rings too-the onion ring dipping sauce is what it is all about. There is something addictive about the sauce...deep fried cat turds would be good dipped in that sauce. I am sure it is poison......yummy,yummy poison.

                  1. re: sedimental

                    dipping sauce? what are you talking about? i have eaten waayyy too many meals at burger king and never ever had, seen, or heard of any dipping sauce except for the same ketchup you put on the french fries.

                    1. re: KaimukiMan

                      Then you are missing out! It is a spicy, mayo based sauce in a little plastic tub (where you peel back the foil) and I think it is called onion ring sauce. You have to ask for it. It is orange colored -as all tasty poison foods are, so you know it's goooood.

                      Edit: Are you in Hawaii? Maybe they don't offer it there.

                      1. re: sedimental

                        <<It is orange colored -as all tasty poison foods are, so you know it's goooood.>>
                        :) HA HA!

                        1. re: sedimental

                          I did a google search and found it. Nope, never seen it offered in Hawaii, and I haven't looked in CA, cause I'm not fond of those reconstituted things they call onion rings... but if i knew they had special sauce.....

                2. re: jhopp217

                  big macs are only good at the big mac museum. they do 'em RIGHT there.

          2. I've only been to Five Guys a few times, but I do remember that you have to order a "Little" to get one burger, otherwise it's a big, double burger. I don't think the Cajun fries are worth the money, but that's my opinion. If you like your burger "Loaded", you won't find any other place that has more toppings and condiments without charging extra.

            Get lots of napkins and don't wear long sleeves.....It's juicy without being overly greasy.

            2 Replies
            1. re: awm922

              Five Guys is hard for me to describe for some reason. I'm writing an article reviewing them and I'm at a complete loss for words. I agree, the cajun fries were extremely disappointing, and even the regular ones didn't do much for me. The burger was fine , nothing special like everyone else seems to think.

              1. re: diningwithDeliaJo

                Honestly, I'd rather go to Red Robin for my chain burger. They even have a $5 cheeseburger special right now. Not sure if it's at all of them. Still get any type of cheese, all the toppings, meat cooked your way and bottomless fries! it's a great deal for my once in a while cheeseburger fix.

            2. Get a small fries and get them out of the bag ASAP. Great fresh, soggy when left in the bag and they steam.

              It's a 1/4lb patty done on a flat top. A regular comes with 2 patties so if that's too much order a single.

              Constancy is an issue. I've been to 3. One is always great, the other two are only just good.


              5 Replies
              1. re: Davwud

                I agree with you on all counts, and I'd suggest going with a friend to share the fries. They are legitimately worth the hype but the small size is a reasonable amount for two people. I think the Cajun spice is harsh and salty so I stick with the plain fries. Don’t expect greatness from the burger – it’s just an average griddled diner-type sandwich – but it’s nothing to sneer at.

                1. re: RealMenJulienne

                  YES to fries for sharing ONLY. If I go alone, I won't order them.

                  YES re the Cajun spice is "harsh"--I can only guess I'm tasting too much white pepper. Mind you, my Cajun spice at home doesn't even contain white pepper. What's the deal there?! It's a weird taste for sure.

                  But "my" Five Guys? I really am hooked on it. And I'm a rare burger gal all the way, so imagine my surprise when I tried one for the first time and liked it. Not the least bit rare, but definitely juicy, as evidenced by my need for lotsa napkins each time I go.

                  I used to get the double, then tried to ask if I could get it cooked less. The person at the counter suggested trying the little cheeseburger rather than the other--same size, just one patty instead of two. That's what I've ordered ever since.

                  I particularly dig "my" Five Guys 'cause maybe it's an exception to the rule. It's not just a bunch of careless kids. Yes, most are young, but they're friendly, eager to please, smile when they pass the bag of food my way...I dunno, maybe because I smile at them, too. Oh, and they have Sirius/XM on the Rewind station so I actually look forward to listening to 80s tunes when I'm there.

                  Love the toppings, too--for me--extra pickles, light jalapenos, mayo, shrooms. Yum! For under $5, it's a nice treat. It could only be improved if I could order a beer or a shake to go with.

                  1. re: kattyeyes

                    I agree with the shake - the one thing that 5 guys could do to improve their resturant - burger, fries, shake is classic americana, how can they not have it? This is where in n' out has them beat.

                2. re: Davwud

                  I'm skipping fries. Just want to try the burger. Plus, I rarely enjoy fast food fries.

                  1. re: jhopp217

                    these are hand cut from actual potatoes -- no frozen nasty frites here. They even leave the skins on, which warms the cockles of my heart. When they're fresh, there's none better.

                3. I wouldn't get so stressed over a hamburger.

                  I've eaten at 5 Guys twice. Burger was pretty good. I don't care for the fries and there are way too many of them, even in the small order. Plus, I think 10+ bucks is too much for an OK burger, fries, and iced tea.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: chileheadmike

                    Defijnitely not stressed and actually looking forward to it. Hope I'm surprised. I'm skippin the fries and drink. Just want to taste the burger.

                    1. re: jhopp217

                      "Just want to taste the burger."

                      And therein lies my problem with 5 Guys -- the burger has no flavor. The patty desperately, desperately needs a shot of salt and pepper. Without the toppings, there is nothing there.

                  2. What's the worst that could happen? If you dont like it, you're out a few dollars, but you dont ever have to go back again, and no one can make you! If you do like it, you have a new burger option for when the ground round jones hits, and it's only a few blocks away.

                    And while I dont necessarily agree about the Whopper, I do understand the feeling. Sometimes it's not just that I want macaroni & cheese, it's that I want Kraft Macaroni & Chesse, made following the recipe on the box with NO alterations.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Fydeaux

                      Funny, you should make that comment. MY 98 year old grandmother asked if we could get her Mac and Cheese that uses Velveeta. She said, and I quote "I know it's garbage, but it's so good for Mac and Cheese." Am I going to argue with someone who's been alive two and a half times my life?

                      1. re: jhopp217

                        awww...so true jhopp...she should eat whatever she darned well wants! ♥

                    2. Just keep in mind you are going in for a fast food burger. It's not going to blow your socks off, and depending on your particular branch, you might even enjoy it. It's far better then McDonalds and Burger Kings IMHO, but not nearly as good as one at the corner bar, or wherever your good burger is prepared.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: michele cindy

                        Oh, trust me. While I have an open mind, my expectations are pretty low. I'm just hoping for that "well it's not a real burger, but as far as a chain goes, it's pretty good."

                        1. re: jhopp217

                          I found the single to be more pleasing then the double. Agree with the other poster, open the rip open the bag of fries as soon as you get them to keep them crisp.

                      2. I'm one of the people who like it. I always get a regular cheeseburger, which has two patties (as opposed to the "little" which has one.) There is just something about that burger that tastes so much better with two! I love the variety of free toppings they have (I love a wet and loaded burger!) I always skip the fries. For one, I think they are ordinary. For two, a small order of fries can easily feed three people. I also skip the bacon, which isn't very good and has been sitting out all day.

                        I tried the hot dog once and was very unimpressed.

                        I have only been to Five Guys in DC, where it started - all the stores I've been to (about 5) have been uniformly good. I've read on CH though, that apparently there is a wide discrepancy in terms of quality from one store to the next, depending on the franchise owner.

                        It will most likely be neither the best, nor worst burger of your life. I think it's excellent when compared with the big fast food hamburger purveyors.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: woodleyparkhound

                          All this talk got me hungry so I went to my local 5 guys for dinner tonight. I know they make their burgers well done, but tonight I think the guy went over the top. It was super dry more then I ever had before. I think it might have been that it was slow at the time I went so he had nothing to do rather then do nothing he cooked and cooked and cooked my burger. I got 2, but still prefer 1.

                        2. I actually went for the first time last week while visiting my husband in Charleston, SC. I was really, really impressed! They have a big array of toppings to choose from bacon, caramelized onions, etc.- I stuck to the basics - ketchup, mustards, lettuce, tomato, pickles, and onions. We shared the fries (they are huge!) - they have a board in the restaurant where they write the name of the farm where the potatoes come from that day as well, which I thought was kind of neat.

                          The burger was good. (haha, I even commented to my husband that it kind of reminded me of Burger King because of the bun!) The plain fries were good, nothing special, but good and crispy, not soggy for us.

                          I definitely think there are much worse places to eat, and you will likely NOT be disappointed! I hope you like it!

                          1. OK, so I had my first Five Guys burger today. As I mentioned I didn't want the fries, so I stuck with the burger. My father and grandmother picked it up for me (by the way, just to be clear, I'm not a little kid, haha, I'm forty). Anyway, it was still nice and hot (he lives about two miles away, if that). Anyway, I was impressed immediately with the size of it. I ordered mine with lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle and a little ketchup. First bite first impression - nice soft bun, veggies all nice and crisp, but the burger was well done. I found out later this is their policy and had I known that I probably wouldn't have bothered. They claim on their website that they cook it well done to "trap in the juices." Anyone over the age of four knows this does the opposite. I finished the burger...and had a few thoughts running through my head when my grandmother didn't finish hers and asked me if I wanted it. I did, because she got hers plain and I wanted to taste only the beef.

                            Here's my final analysis. I like the double burger because it's substantial and the bun and veggies were very good (better than most, if not all fast food burger joints). The problem, and this is a huge problem, was the patty. Well done to the point the burger lost any juice....my grandmother's bun was completely dry. That's actually not my biggest issue though. The burger, despite being dry had clumps of what seemed like some sort of connective tissue. I'd take one bite and it was normal (dry and fairly tasteless) and then I'd get another bite and I had to chew it like I was breaking something down. It was very odd and not something I've ever encountered with a burger anywhere.

                            In the end, it's better than Mickey D's. Probably a little less than a Wendy's burger and a far cry from Burger King. As for people telling me it's better than restaurant's hamburgers....I pity them. The funniest thing was that I read some CH reviews talking about how greasy they were. I'd pay for the ones they got, because mine were bone, and I mean bone dry.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: jhopp217

                              There in lies the problem. The good one I go to the bun starts to fall apart because it's so juicy/greasy. IMHO that's a great thing, not just a good thing.

                              Keep in mind you're dealing with a chain and subject to some peon who doesn't care or know what they're doing cooking your burger. Get someone who cares and understands and it'll be a lot better. I've had a few that even had a hint of pink in them.


                              1. re: Davwud

                                I'd like to think that anyone at Five Guys isn't caring too much about my burger. As for the hint of pink, that is borderline scary at a fast food place. Especially one that brags about cooking well dont to "trap in juices."

                            2. I like Five Guys. I get the small cheeseburger with either (a) lettuce, pickles, ketchup and mustard or (b) bacon and grilled onions.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                I saw your name and it reminded me of you and Janet from Reno. Long time ago!

                                1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                  I'm with you Janet but I hold the mustard. The little burger is the perfect size and my favorite fast food burger.

                                2. It's a fast food burger.

                                  Don't overthink the room.

                                  No matter how good, or bad, it ain't going to change your world.

                                  1. I'm gonna go against the grain and say I like Five Guys' hot dog better than its burger (too well done for my taste).

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: MandalayVA

                                      I agree!! I love the Hot Dog.....Bacon, Cheese, Mustard, Chopped Onions...

                                      1. re: christy1122

                                        You use all of those accouterments, and I could serve you a leather shoe in a bun and it would probably still be pretty darn tasty.

                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                          The hot dog is top notch. I believe its a kosher all beef hot dog, (possibly Hebrew National) and it is split and grilled which is so much better than boiled or steamed in my book. My only ding on them is that I prefer a sweet pickle relish as opposed to the dill relish they serve.

                                    2. Five Guys burgers are ordinary burgers at a higher than the usual price for fast food burgers. They're not terrible but not vat all very special either. It's a gray ground meat patty, only less juicy (and often with more gristle) than some other fast food burgers.

                                      I've been a few times to give it an honest chance. If I need a fast food burger fix, quite frankly I'll reach for a Whopper. I think even the lowly White Castle is a better option than 5G.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: The Professor

                                        While the overly well done aspect I can almost understand for health reasons, the thing that really gets me is the gristle. I've never had that with any burger....no matter how low the quality of meat. I can deal with the price because of the size of the burger and the "free" toppings

                                      2. Five Guys is just now starting to pop up in the SF Bay Area. And while this may be In N Out country, the Five Guys near the Movie theatre was PACKED solid with customers waiting to eat last weekend. Most people I've talked to still prefer In N Out, mostly for it's novelty. The In N Out burger is very unique the way the cheese, spread, bun, beef, grilled onions, crunchy lettuce and tomato all come together. Five Guys reminds me of another local chain called Nations, in other words I don't find it groundbreaking.