Monday, January 07, 2013

Five Guys

So, Five Guys Burgers and Fries. Never been. I've always been curious because of the reputation it has, but I've been putting it off for years now. Well, yesterday was the day.

Five Guys is often compared to the West Coast chain In-N-Out Burger. They're very similar: short menu, greasy food, loyal cult following. I went to In 'N Out in 2009 on a trip to California, and while it was good, it gave me massive indigestion. That's kind of what I was expecting here. (See why I've been putting this off for so long?)

First impression: the price. Burger and fries? $9, plus tax. This had better be good! But I suppose while $9 is a lot for fast food, this isn't really supposed to be fast food; Five Guys' objective is sit-down restaurant quality food with fast food-type service. And, $9 is about what you would pay for a burger and fries at a place like Applebee's (before the tip). Thing is, though, if I'm going to pay $9 for a meal, I want the full sit-down restaurant experience.

Second impression: I already knew the food was greasy, but the bag is, too!

That's actually grease from the french fries. Suffice to say, there was a bit of fry spillage in the bag. That's what happens when you try to fit two cup-fulls of fries into one cup. Not that I'm complaining, but I mean, why not just use bigger cups? Maybe they think that customers are happier when you give then an overflowing cup of fries, compared to an appropriately-sized cup of fries, even if the actual quantity of fries is the same. There might be something to that: the illusion that you're getting more than you paid for.

(In other words...yeah, it's $9, but you get a lot.)

I didn't take any pictures of my cheeseburger, because I downed it pretty quick. Yeah, it was good, but I want to comment on the sizing. At a lot of restaurants, they have a standard size, and then a large size that you can "upgrade" to. At Five Guys, it's just the opposite: the regular burgers are the large burgers, while smaller versions are called "little". I would assume that the "little" ones are quarter-pounders, and that the regular ones are half-pounders.

The burger was good, yes. The fries, on the other hand, had too much salt on them. WAY too much. I didn't finish them. Yes, fries are only the side dish, but I think they're an important part of the "burgers and fries" experience. I usually spend more time eating the fries than I do the burger itself. That was kind of disappointing, because I really liked the In-N-Out fries. But on the bright side, at least I didn't get massive indigestion this time. (Hooray!)

So: In-N-Out, or Five Guys? Who wins? If I had to choose, I guess In-N-Out wins on the strength of the fries, but really, the answer is nobody. Since I would like to live to see my 60th birthday, I only let myself do this kind of thing - that is, eat an extremely unhealthy meal - once a month, at the most. And I still prefer Bojangles' chicken over either In-N-Out or Five Guys.

Actually, just for fun, let's compare and contrast the Five Guys cheeseburger+fries meal with the meal I usually get at Bojangles' (breast and wing, fries, biscuit):
- Calories: Five Guys 1,460, Bojangles' 1,135
- Grams of fat: Five Guys 85, Bojangles' 67
- Grams of saturated fat: Five Guys 32, Bojangles' 24 (but no Trans Fat in either, woo!)
- Cost*: Five Guys $9, Bojangles $6

(* - Does not include any associated medical costs.)

If I ever need motivation to ride my bike more, that'll do it.

So, anyway...that was fun, but no more Five Guys for me.

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