Five Guys Burgers and Fries

Five Guys’ focus is on the burgers.

With Brian Barker May 19, 2009 Published in the January 2009 issue of Portland Monthly

THIS EAST COAST-BASED hamburger chain may limit its decorative flair to spiffy red-and-white tiles, boxes of free peanuts, and fifty-pound sacks of potatoes. But as evidenced by the myriad signs displaying praise from journalists, such as the “Willy Wonkas of Burger Craft” or “Heaven on a Bun,” Five Guys’ focus is on the burgers.

Served on fresh-baked sesame-seed buns, the burgers ($5.09 for a cheeseburger) are as close as you’ll get to those old-fashioned, juicy, drive-in hamburgers that ooze American cheese and spill mayo-coated lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles. Ordering one “all the way” nets you a heap of grilled onions and mushrooms. Be advised, though: A standard burger comes with two three-ounce beef patties. A Little Hamburger, which still tips the scale at one-third of a pound, is a good choice for appetites just short of Herculean.

Five Guys is also a good bet if you want to load up on fries ($2.69). Cut fresh every morning with slivers of skin left intact, the toasty wedges are shoveled into a white Styrofoam cup, which is placed, overflowing, into a brown and soon-to-be-grease-stained paper bag. The Cajun fries ($2.69) are especially addictive.

Five Guys might also consider shoehorning “hot dogs” into its name. Incredibly plump, the dogs ($2.99) are the kind you’d chance missing a foul ball for at the World Series. These 100 percent kosher beef beauties get sliced down the middle and fried alongside the burgers, a unique serving tactic that allows for a pile of mustard, relish, and onions, or any of the other dozen toppings. Feel free to plead the hot dog’s case as a worthy part of the joint’s moniker on your way out.