Review #15 - Five Guys Burgers and Fries

Posted by Hamburglar | | Posted On Thursday, April 9, 2009 at 9:49 AM

We normally do not review burger chain restaurants unless they have a particular tie to the Alamo City. However, there had been a lot of hoopla leading up to the opening of a Five Guys restaurant in San Antonio, so we felt obliged to check it out.

Five Guys is located at 260 E. Basse Road, Suite 107, in a new shopping strip center in the Quarry area. Even though we are not fans of eating in strip centers, we were willing to keep an open mind for Five Guys.

Since the restaurant is named Five Guys, we expected to find 5 men behind the counter taking orders, fixing burgers, cutting and cooking fries, etc. I half expected to see the 5 guys merrily whistling as they went about their work. What we did not expect to find was a sea of employees dressed in red waving to us as we entered the restaurant and hurriedly preparing orders. The massive number of employees was actually a little intimidating, and the sea of red made me think that at any moment an angry bull would come charging through the restaurant towards the red shirts. In the restaurant's defense, we did pay them a visit during their opening week, so we assume that on an average day the size of Five Guy's staff would be, well, average.

The menu is pretty simple and straight forward - burgers, fries and dogs is about all you can order. They make up for these limited offerings, however, by offering you every topping you could possibly want on your burger for free! I felt like I had just won the biggest loser competition and was about to pack on some much needed poundage.

Five Guys is apparently big on their fries. They proudly display where their potatoes/fries of the day came from (see below). Unfortunately, as Fry Daddy pointed out, they spelled the name incorrectly. Fry Daddy, of course, was familiar with this area and reminded us in his best Kip voice that Napoleon Dynamite was filmed near the Rexburg, Idaho area, Gosh!

The Burger - 6.0 out of 10
Five Guys' serves a good burger - not great, but good. The best part about the burger is that all toppings are free. So, you can get what you want and not feel like you have to shell out extra to have it your way. I guess the old truism is not so true: some things in life are free. Unfortunately, the presentation of the burger leaves a lot to be desired. Even though you may be planning on eating your burger at the restaurant, Five Guys wraps your burger up in foil and puts it in a brown bag "to go." I guess it may be a subtle hint that they don't have enough room in the restaurant for customers since they have to house the 25 employees who are wrapping up the burgers in foil and waving at everyone who opens the restaurant door.
Five Guys employs a brilliant "up-size" marketing strategy with their burgers that I believe is very effective on male patrons. At Five Guys you have a choice of the "Little Hamburger" or a "Hamburger." The Hamburger is, of course, a double meat burger that costs extra. What man in his right mind would go up and order a "Little Hamburger?" It goes against all things manly. One of our fellow bloggers, Justice Warren E. Burger, is the only man I know who would have no issue ordering a "Little Burger," but, he is an anomaly.

Sides - 6.5 out of 10

Your options for sides at Five Guys are fries, seasoned fries or free peanuts. We all passed on the free peanuts, mainly because they were sitting in open boxes on top of the trash cans. For some reason we just couldn't get excited about eating peanuts that are sitting on top of trash. The fries on the other hand, from Rexburg, Idaho, come out of the fryer (not the trash) and are actually pretty good. Of course, keeping with the "to go" theme, the fries come in a Styrofoam cup (an environmentally friendly one I'm sure) and are placed in a brown "to go" bag with your burger.

Ambiance - 5 out of 10

The ambiance is lacking at Five Guys. The walls are covered with news articles praising Five Guys and are like a shrine to the awesomeness of the Five Guys restaurants in other towns. Personally, I think it may be Five Guys' propaganda. The giant road signs and flare that you find at most burger joints is nowhere to be found at Five Guys.
Here's what some of my fellow reviewers had to say:
Burgermeister Meisterburger - "I got sick of reading all the press reviews they had posted on their walls. Where's the Galaga machine?"
Fry Daddy - "I was frightened by all of the overly friendly redshirted workers, but I guess that's what I should expect on opening week. I give it a month before all the happy workers disappear and are replaced by despondent teenagers with pimples. "

Price - Average
As I mentioned earlier, the only plus side here is that all the toppings are free, but this is not enough to raise it above the average.
Service - Above Average
With all of the employees behind the counter, we found the service to be better than par. The cashier told me my burger would come out in 8 minutes, and it actually came out in 5. I picked up my burger at the counter in its "to go" wrapping and that was it. After you finish with your meal, make sure to throw your waste in the trash receptacle, and don't forget to grab some peanuts off the top of the trash "to go."


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