Five Guys Burgers & Fries

Written by on March 16, 2011 in I Eat America, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

( – Gainesville, Virginia

How I heard of this place: The first I had heard of Five Guys was when the first one opened in Seattle (in Northgate). A few friends decided to check it out before a movie one evening and the reviews were all positive. I had only sampled the fries last year in July. Tonight was my chance to sample it full-on! 

Type of cuisine: Burgers and fries. No frills or gimmicks, just a good ol’ greasy burger and fries. Oh! And hot dogs, too!

When it comes to fast food and “fast casual” restaurants my standards aren’t usually very high…probably because I’ve been let down so many times. Five Guys Burgers and Fries has always been the exception. This isn’t the first time I’ve chronicled my love and passion for Five Guys, however my visit to Five Guys today radically changed my entire view on their restaurant and what we should expect from every restaurant we visit.”

Ambiance: Five Guys prides themselves, simply, on quality, service and cleanliness. The rest is just fluff. White with red and black accents, Five Guys is a recognizable franchise throughout the United States and Canada. Even the font used for the logo is simple, classic and unpretentious. Clean is an understatement at this Gainesville location, where patrons are welcomed to the counter and orders are taken off of the simple menu: Burgers, dogs, sandwiches, fries and drinks (in two sizes: regular or large). Fluorescent lights shine brightly, creating a sense of being outdoors, even though the sun has set and the street lights have switched on. Light, wooden chairs and tables, in regular fashion and bar-seating options (with tall tables and backed-stools), are found throughout the space, some alongside the floor-to-ceiling windows surrounding the establishment. Orders are available for pick-up just around the corner, after your burgers are grilled to your liking and your brown paper bag packed with greasy goodness. No plates, no silverware, just paper cups, foil-wrapped food, brown paper bags and white napkins.  

What I ordered: The three of us dining at Five Guys on this post-fast evening shared one order of the large fries ($4.99), cajun style. My two dining companions ordered large drinks ($2.19), which included free refills at the soda fountain. For our main entrees, I selected the little bacon cheeseburger ($5.09) with everything, or all the way as some might call it: mayo, lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, ketchup and mustard (all free) and the addition of jalapeno peppers. One of my dining companions also selected the little bacon cheeseburger. The third in our party went for the two-patty bacon cheeseburger ($6.59) with everything, except the pickles. He also ordered the bacon cheese dog ($4.79), of which he offered sample bites. 

On a return visit, Friday, May 13, 2011: After seeing “Bridesmaids” at the theater in Tyson’s Corner Mall, we needed a greasy bite to eat, and Five Guys won my vote of all of the Food Court options. On this visit, I selected the little bacon cheeseburger ($5.19) – as usual – all the way, topped with everything and then some! It was delicious, gooey and falling apart all over my hands and the piece of foil in which it was not-so-delicately wrapped. On the side, I had to have a regular size of the cajun style fries, regular-sized ($2.69), spicy and full of punch, just the way I like.

What I loved: The fries are to die for! Thick-cut and spiced with cajun seasonings, even those missing the seasoning, melt in your mouth. Freshly fried, served in a large cup and good to the last bite! These are not the type of fries you have to start with or find that they have gone limp and stale. One can enjoy them from the beginning to the satisfying, finger-licking end. I also loved the fresh jalapeno peppers, cut thick and full of heat, over my juicy burger with a generous helping of toppings.

Why I loved it: Really, what’s not to love? The food is simple, fresh and made-to-order. The taste: delicious. The space: clean and well-kept. The orders taken and food served easily and quickly. 

Cost: Average to high ($4-$7 per burger)

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