“Best Burgers in the City”
“Zagat Survey Rated”
“Fries alone are not to be missed”
These are just a sampling of the signs and plaques you will see when you walk into any Five Guys Burger chain. The praise is displayed in such a manner that it borders on obnoxious. With so many accolades I figured I was stepping into Thomas Keller’s French Laundry not a rapidly expanding national burger chain who just added their 400th location.
However, I have been there three times and I must admit I am kind of hooked. People rave about their french fries,which are made fresh at each store, but on my first visit I was very disappointed. The fries were limp and mealy inside. Thankfully on the second visit they were much better, and on the third they were spectacular. They are even better with the cajun seasoning and some malt vinegar, a condiment that few other restaurants provide. I think the differences in fries comes from using different potatoes on different days, in fact each store has a board where they identify where today’s potatoes come from. It also could come from the person cooking them too. Every store cooks them in peanut oil, which is the best way to obtain a crispy golden french fry. They also give you an obscene amount of them. A small order comes in a paper cup. After they place the cup in your bag, they dump another large scoop of fries on top of that. One small order could easily feed two adults.
What about the burgers? Well they are cooked only after you order them and you get to pick your toppings from an impressive list of 15 free toppings. A sign on the wall sadly informs you that they only cook their “burgers juicy and well done,” which seems like an oxymoron but somehowthe burgers do manage to stay juicy and flavorful. My favorite topping combo includes fried onions, jalapenos, mayo, tomato, and bacon. Be forewarned, the regular burger is two decent sized patties, its a massive burger. Add a regular order of fries and you are sure to be very stuffed. I kind of prefer the “little” cheeseburgers, which along with an order of fries is plenty of food. The burgers are probably the best burger I have eaten at a fast food chain, unless you count Kopp’s as a chain. Juicy, tasty, and made to order, its everything you could want in a burger from a chain restaurant (except I’d like medium rare). Steak and Shake may have its legions of fans, but their burgers pale in comparison to Five Guys.
What I admire most about Five Guys is that they don’t try to impress the “Eat This, Not That” followers who are seeking healthy alternatives. The notion of eating healthy at fast food restaurants is lost on me. Eat healthy at home, splurge on occasion when you go out. What is the point of eating a salad at a place like Culvers when the specialty is Butter Burgers? There are no salads, wraps, or “healthy choice menus” at Five Guys. No grilled chicken breasts or low carb versions of their burgers (you want low carb, throw out the bun). You choice is hot dog, hamburger, or grilled cheese. The only sides are fries and free in-the-shell-peanuts, which are a nice diversion while you wait for your burger to be cooked to order.
Five Guys will never compete with Kopps, Sobleman’s, Solly’s, The Wicked Hop, or other popular places for burgers in Wisconsin but they make a very good burger and some excellent fries (most of the time). Five Guys has three Wisconsin locations; Pewaukee, Delafield, and Glendale (at Bayshore).