(2008) Five Guys Burgers and Fries built its cult following in the Washington, D.C., metro area and has been spreading the mania far and wide, including—thank heaven!—to two locations here. How good is the chow? Well, Michelle Obama treated her staff to a Five Guys luncheon not long after she arrived in Washington, which just goes to show what good sense she has.
The menu, summed up in the chain’s name, is simplicity itself, although the owners maintain there are 250,000 permutations of its basic burger. The hand-shaped burger patties—the meat, like everything, is fresh—are slapped on the grill when you order. Fries come not from freezer bags but from big buckets of freshly sliced Idaho potatoes. The basic “Little Hamburger” (which isn’t little at all) starts at $3.29, topped with anything from grilled onions and A-1 Sauce to jalapeño peppers and hot sauce. Make it a cheeseburger (really, you must) for another 40 cents. I like mine with mustard, pickle and raw onion, but Colette gilds the lily with sliced tomato and grilled mushrooms. If you’re really hungry, the standard burger ($4.39, $4.99 with cheese) doubles the beef.
Do not fail to accompany the burger with an order of monumentally good fries. A sane person can get by with the regular order ($2.59), or, like me, you can go nuts and wallow in the large for $3.99. These hot from the no-trans-fat peanut oil beauties overflow their styrofoam cup and practically jump into your mouth, which is a beautiful thing.
In place of a wine list there’s a Coke list that hits all the right notes, from Classic Coke to my favorite Cherry Coke. Other soft drinks, bottled water and very good iced tea are available, too.
I predict one Five Guys lunch will make you an addict.
Five Guys Burgers and Fries
8447 Cooper Creek Blvd.
6783 Manatee Ave. W. in Bradenton
Hours:11 a.m.-10 p.m., 7 days per week