Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Rate-A-Restaurant #261: Five Guys
Restaurant: Five Guys
Location: 8850 Tampa Avenue (Northridge)
Type of restaurant: Hamburgers
We stipulated: We've heard the Five Guys raves for some time, but hadn't found the time to make a trek to one of the chain's few (but growing) Southern California outposts. This Monday, we finally made the effort.
They stipulated: Five Guys is "the place to get a fresh, juicy burger with all the toppings you could stuff between fresh-baked buns." The chain claims there are over 250,000 possible ways to order a burger at Five Guys. Founded in 1986, it was only in 2003 that the restaurant began franchising -- and has already opened 900 stores around the country.
What we ordered: Mike: Hamburger with lettuce, pickle, tomato, grilled mushroom, jalapeno and mustard ($3.89); Maria: Hamburger with grilled mushroom, tomato, lettuce and grilled onion ($3.89). French fries with cajun spice on the side ($3.09).
High point: The fries are fantastic -- and the cajun spice a nice touch. Plus the burger patties are thick, and I appreciate the free toppings (including fresh, not pickled, jalapeno slices).
Low point: The burger buns are too soggy, perhaps a function of the foil wrapper trapping too much moisture.
Overall impression: Like any Southern Californian, we swear by In-N-Out. But I appreciate the larger Five Guys burger patty and the wide variety of condiments. Five Guys also offers quite a variety of diet sodas. I don't get the free peanuts thing (seems unnecessary), and Five Guys' stores are lacking in ambiance (There's a low-rent quality to decorating your walls with quotes from reviews. Hey, we're in the restaurant, you don't need to sell it to us.) The In-N-Out stores are nothing special, but they're more pleasant to sit in.
Chance we'll go back: Absolutely. In many parts of the city, Five Guys is opening up near an In-N-Out. Perhaps because of the novelty factor, we'd probably return to Five Guys again first.