Who ARE These Guys….?

That’s undoubtedly what executives of the national burger chains are asking themselves about Five Guys Burgers. Less than 10 years ago, there were just half a dozen of them in the northern Virginia area, where they were consistently ranked as the top burger.  Today, there are over 700 Five Guys in 40 states and four Canadian provinces.

The “original” five guys were the Murrell family (father and four sons).  The family had a fifth son and the sones are the current “five guys.”

I first encountered Five Guys about a year ago at Pier Park Mall in Panama City Beach.  I stuck my head in their door and saw a long line.  Most of the tables were full.  Since it was “new” I thought perhaps folks were just checking them out.  Looking at their menu, I was a bit shocked that a burger was about $4.50. That seemed too much for a burger.  Even with splitting a drink and fries, I calculated that a meal for two would be a good 50% more than at Burger King or Hardee’s.

On return trips to Pier Park Mall, I continued to see the same long lines and full tables.  I still did not check them out.

A few months after first seeing them in Panama City Beach, I noticed a sign near my office complex announcing that Five Guys would soon arrive.  They did not; not at that location anyway.

Instead, they showed up at a strip center near where I live.  There’s a movie theater across the street.  The center’s main businesses are restaurants, which include Subway, Red Elephant Pizza, and a sports restaurant whose wings I like.

One day, after taking in a foreign film at the theater across the street, I decided to check out Five Guys. Was the burger really worth $4.50? The fact that during that quarter Discover was giving me a 5% bonus on restaurants helped me justify the almost $14 price  😉

Inside, I noticed that most of the tables were full.  Just like at Pier Park Mall.  I noticed that the burger was pretty “loaded”….grilled onions and mushrooms, healthy portion of lettuce and tomato, slathered with ketchup and mustard (I held the mayo).  I also appreciated that while waiting for the burger there were plenty of roast peanuts in the shell to munch on.

That burger was easily the tastiest burger I’ve ever had.  I cannot stomach a McDonald’s and even a Whopper or Thickburger have a certain “greasy” taste.  The “regular” fries was so large that Susie and I could not finish them.

Now, my burger dollars are going more to Five Guys and less to Burger King / Hardee’s.  We visit about once a month.

Those regular burgers are too much for Susie and me.  Although even the little burger meal comes to $13 after sharing the fries and drink, I don’t mind.  It’s definitely a value.  I never leave Five Guys less than stuffed and needing a nap.  (I do indulge those roast peanuts; too bad these guys didn’t begin in the deep South so that those peanuts would be boiled instead of roasted.)

Last week, I ranted about the Bloomin’ Onion.  Five Guys burgers have been on various “unhealthy” lists.  But choosing the little burger drops calories from 700 to 480 before toppings.  (I cut out the mayo and that knocks off 100 calories.)  The regular fries come in at 620 calories but we can’t eat them all.  We bring about half home for the next day.

It’s been said a picture is worth a thousand words, so here‘s what a “little burger“ looks like….

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5 responses to “Who ARE These Guys….?

  1. That little burger doesn’t look so little to me!

    I’ve never heard of Five Guys, but now I’ll be looking to see if there’s one anywhere nearby. (Just checked. Looks like there’s one in Minneapolis.) I want to give them a try. They sound a bit like SmashBurger. SmashBurger is expensive in comparison to the other fast food joints too, but we have also found it to be worth the price. Especially the Smash Fries – seasoned with rosemary and olive oil.

    • I checked their website and there are no Smash Burgers anywhere near me. They have little presence in the South.

      But, there’s four of them in my second home – Vegas. One is just a stone’s throw from the airport, strategically located near UNLV and the big shopping mall. So on our next trip, probably in March, we’ll check it out. They do seem similar to Five Guys, but a bit pricier. (And probably no roast peanuts.)

      I’m also going check out Strip Burger in Vegas. Another big burger and very well rated. Then, I’ll compare all three burgers in a post.

  2. I’ve got 4 of them within 5 miles of me. Went once and enjoyed it a lot. Thing is I have Red Robin 1 mile away and they are more my speed, as I like an adult beverage with my burger. If I want the 5 guys environment I can go to Mels hot dogs and some away stuffed and entertained by the circus environment Mel provides. But 5 guys is on a roll nationwide and may be around 4 a while. Tallahassee is a funky retail environment so ya best enjoy while ya can.

  3. I was just thinking that the oldest continuously operated fast foodies that I can remember since the 60’s in Tally are the Whataburgers on Thomasville Road and on Tennessee St. And the oldest restaurant is Mon and Dads on Apalachee Pky.

    • Well PT, that’s one of the advantages of living in an urban area – many dining options. (Many options period.) Towards the end of the month, I’ll post about a half dozen Tampa restaurant’s I’ve checked out over a few months’ worth of day trips there.

      We have no Red Robin, although I hear they’re good too. There may be one at Pier Park in PCB. I’ll see next time we’re there. But since I’m not much of an “adult beverage” drinker, especially in restaurants, that is not a inducement for me. I’m happy with Coke Zero fortified with Cherry Coke! 😉

      As for Tally dining, I believe Mom & Dad’s is still open. Been there once or twice, but Italian is not one of my favorites. And if I’m in the mood, there’s a hole in wall on the Circle (NE) called Ricardo’s that has a huge following.

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