5 Guys

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Baah Ben
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2009/02/02 00:49:02 (permalink)

5 Guys

Well, today I finally got a chance to go to a 5 Guys (Lakeland off Exit 32).  
My buddy got a burger and we ordered a regular fry to share.  I did not notice the size, but I just wanted to try them.  The regular size was $2.45 and it was a lot of potatoes served in a brown paper bag. 
 
I observed a very limited menu, a place that could have been a heck of a lot cleaner, an amazingly stark place (bare bones decor) and good customer traffic. 
 
I watched the hamburgers being cooked (I'd liken it more to being destroyed) on the griddle.  The sign says we cook to well done..They ain't kidding!  Even more brutal than the Steak and Shake "mashing process."  Ridiculous IMHO.
 
I tasted my friend's burger and it was so greasy tasting; reminded me exactly of Steak n Shake's burger.  I would never order one, but I'd sure go back for the fries.  Very, very good.  Skin on, Idahos (they tell you where the potatoes are from), cooked in peanut oil (Sam's is selling 5 gallon container for $54!). 
 
They served them to us in a brown paper bag slightly salted.  There were not greasy at all.   I liked them with the skin on.  I'd go back for the fries in a heartbeat.
 
Hey BB - It reminds me of the number of people, who go to the "Dirty O" (Pitts) just for the fries.     
#1

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    John A
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    Re:5 Guys 2009/02/02 08:10:46 (permalink)
    Apparently someone is not happy with your reporting a negative experience at their favorite burger joint BB. " />
    #2
    joerogo
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    Re:5 Guys 2009/02/02 08:17:57 (permalink)
    Baah Ben, Ditto!!!  I just fail to see the need to smack that burger down till it's paper thin and tasteless.  Just MHO.   
     
    Oh yeah, BAM!!!5-Stars  I appreciate the effort that everyone makes to post an honest and well written report.
    post edited by joerogo - 2009/02/02 08:30:14
    #3
    ellen4641
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    Re:5 Guys 2009/02/02 09:06:16 (permalink)
    Hey, welcome back from your "Sarasota & more" adventure, Chuck!!

    (I sure hope you still got to meat up with Ribdog and the Dr of BBQ.   It sounds like you hit the Five Guys on the way back home)
     
    I'm glad you got to experience Five Guys , just to see firsthand if it measures up to all the hype...
     
    YES,  very limited menu!
    YES,  very BARE BONES set up
    Personally, I wish they had a few more items on the menu, like homemade onion rings and chocolate shakes...
    perhaps some salads, too..
     
    Also , I know a drive thru is tough, cause the burgers are cooked to order, and you don't actually just "grab" a burger like one would at Mcdonalds....
    HOWEVER,  a call ahead/curbside takeaway set up would be nice
    like the Outback and Carrabba's have...

    Although I do prefer pink in my burgers, the last few I had there were well done, but still tasty..
    But the one I had before , in one of their other nearby locations, was NOT that great....

    Like is often the case, some locations are better than others..
    and many feel that Five Guys was much better in it's infancy, when it was just in the Wash. DC/Baltimore area..

    There's even Five Guys right in Manhattan now, which I consider a travesty!  (as there are so many other non chain places to eat at)   You won't ever catch me eating at the Five Guys in NYC or Philly, etc...    
    I only resort to it every month or so, while I'm on my home turf...
    (due to needing some variety from my cheesesteaks, subs, and pizza, etc)  I wish there was a COUNTER BURGER instead, though..
    right here in my AC area...
    We are getting a Red Robin coming in the spring....(I've had them before occasionally while living in L.A.)  Sometimes their burger tastes good to me, other times, it does'nt do much..  I do like their steak fries , and their chicken fingers a lot..
    but it sure is pretty in there, with all the tiffany lamps over the tables...  (makes it nice to go with a date)  the upcoming Red Robin in Egg Harbor Township is replacing the Johnny Carino's restaurant....(which is another chain that still has other locations open)

    Glad you're back safe, Chuck!!
    You were overdue for a Roadfood adventure....
    I know your 2 doggies keep you on the home turf quite a bit...
    #4
    MiamiDon
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    Re:5 Guys 2009/02/02 09:11:58 (permalink)
    BB:

    I've been to two Five Guys Burgers and Fries restaurants, and at both visits the fries were a bit limp - and yes, I ate them in the restaurant.  I think that it is great that they use fresh potatoes, and that they leave skin on, but the cooking technique is not optimum.  At the second location that I visited, the deep-friers were at right-angles to the pickup counter, so I could read the temperature displays.  They were set to 345º, which explains a lot.  Also, bagging them probably makes for a bit of steaming after frying.

    I think that the seating and decor are designed to make one not want to linger.   Not to mention the loud music.
    #5
    Greymo
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    Re:5 Guys 2009/02/02 11:53:18 (permalink)
    Well Ben, we may not agree on the quality of independent Italian restaurants in  Daytona, but we both have the same opinion of a 5 guys hamburger.

    Here is what I posted a couple of months ago:

    When my number was called, I walked up and got my very greasy bag and decided that I needed a few more napkins. I took one bite of my hamburger and could not believe it. Some people have called them juicy and flavorful; I call it greasy and nasty. I bravely tried to eat it but after three bites, it was wrapped up and put back in the bag.

    The French fries were enough for a family of three..............what a waste! I do not like French fries that much but these were really nice and hot and good. There were a lot of them that had burnt edges but that did not really matter as there were way too many for anyone to eat. I ate about one third of them.

    For nearly $8.50, I learned a good lesson. Five Guys is the last place that I would ever go for a hamburger. If forced to go there, I would order a diet Coke and watch everyone else get indigestion.
     
     

    #6
    John A
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    Re:5 Guys 2009/02/02 12:10:04 (permalink)
    Gee, I've been looking foward to the one coming to Port Orange. So much for that.
    #7
    MiamiDon
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    Re:5 Guys 2009/02/02 13:02:20 (permalink)
    Well, two out of three of us in this thread so far liked the fries.  I thought the burger was OK, just not great.  Definitely better than most large-chain fast-food places.  The burgers are grilled on a standard flat-top grill, so I can see that with ten going at a time, there is going to be a lot of grease released.

    #8
    rebeltruce
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    Re:5 Guys 2009/02/02 13:07:43 (permalink)
    I just had a Five Guys burger and Cajun fries for lunch.....as usual it was fantastic. I guess it depends on the location.

    As I've said in the past I've never been disappointed at any Five Guys location I've visited. 
    #9
    HollyDolly
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    Re:5 Guys 2009/02/02 14:08:13 (permalink)
    I think it just depends on where you go as far as how the food tastes.None around here in the San Antonio area yet.
    #10
    the acting man
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    Re:5 Guys 2009/02/02 14:55:21 (permalink)
    ellen4641
    There's even Five Guys right in Manhattan now, which I consider a travesty!  (as there are so many other non chain places to eat at)   You won't ever catch me eating at the Five Guys in NYC or Philly, etc...   


    Yeah, they're growing in numbers here.  There are two in Manhattan that I'm aware of, and even one in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, walking distance from where I live.

    Burgers in NYC are a bittersweet pursuit, I'm finding.  I've made it a point to hunt for the really good pizza joints since moving here three years ago, but when applying that search for a good hamburger, I'm finding that Five Guys do as good if not better than much of what I've been finding up here.  For the product, how it comes together, and the cost, there isn't a whole lot that stands in front of them.  To date, I'd rank Jackson Hole and Joshua Tree ahead of them, with the rest looking up to Five Guys and the other two.  Shake Shack, NY Burger Co., brgr, Pop Burger; they all cost too much for what you get (NYBC offers good ingredients, but they don't mix well).  Unlike the pizza, Chinese, chicken, and hot dog joints up here, and much like the BBQ and sushi places, you're ultimately paying for status and store ambiance in this city rather than product.  I never knew so much pretentious drivel could drive up the cost of a patty of leftover beef product until I moved to New York City...
    #11
    GB944
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    Re:5 Guys 2009/02/02 16:59:29 (permalink)
    Not listed on the 5 Guys menu, but available are the fries "well done".  If your cashier can't find it, have them look under the "weird stuff". 

    It makes the fries even better... almost twice fried!
    #12
    sk bob
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    Re:5 Guys 2009/02/02 17:42:54 (permalink)
    just have to rub it in.......
    Ihad a nice juicy RARE Brickyard burger last night, mmm good.
    #13
    ellen4641
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    Re:5 Guys 2009/02/02 19:28:39 (permalink)
    sk bob

    just have to rub it in.......
    Ihad a nice juicy RARE Brickyard burger last night, mmm good.

    ALRIGHT, you got me JEALOUS now, sk bob!
    (since I've previously declared that the Brickyard and the Stonewood Grill are  the best 2 burgers I've ever had!)  (with the Counter Burger coming in 3rd)
     
    I like my burgers medium rare/medium with a nice amount of pink...good and hot, not warm, though).... and I do very much prefer it JUICY !
     
    With that being said, the FIVE GUYS burger  does NOT qualify as being juicy, in the sense of dripping juices, etc...
    It  somehow was still TASTY to me, nonetheless.... cause I felt like I was eating good FRESH QUALITY meat....  (I think of Five Guys as the way WENDY'S should be, if Wendy's were actually GOOD)...(IMO, Wendy's is a boring mediocre burger, usually just served warm, not freshly made, like they claim they are... I rarely go there)
     
    Hey, REBELTRUCE:
    I appreciate you not being afraid to speak your mind..
    I also think it really depends on the location....
    I feel Five Guys get way more hype than they deserve....
     
    Hey, the ACTING MAN:
    I really enjoyed reading your post.....it was very articulate, and you summed the NYC eating scene up pretty well....
    (when in NYC, I like eating at places I can't get down here, like the CARNEGIE DELI, etc) ....that's the main reason for me not going to Five Guys..
     
    I know what you mean about "pretentious drivel" regarding burger and bbq joints in NYC...
    I , for one, just prefer my burgers to be made with ground CHUCK, or sirloin;
    don't need any of that fancy/pricey stuff mixed in....
    I just really want a great beefy flavor!!
     
    Hey, have you tried GOODBURGER?!? (they even have one in Philly now)
    I tried the one in NYC twice........the first time I liked it, the 2nd time, it had a nice charbroiled flavor, but no real good beefy taste! (very plain, boring taste)
    I should've quit while I was ahead, I guess!!! Serves me right for going back, huh?!? (LOL)
     
     
     
     

     
    #14
    Baah Ben
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    Re:5 Guys 2009/02/03 01:15:50 (permalink)
    MD - I'm sure it would be better to put them in a type of paper baskets rather than a brown paper bag....I really liked these fries.

    JohnA - No, be happy they are coming to Port Orange.  I would definitely go there for a coke and a regular order of fries and be happy.   You might like the burger..If you like Steak and Shake, you will like this burger, too.
    #15
    CCinNJ
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    Re:5 Guys 2009/02/03 03:40:42 (permalink)
    There are millions of people living a daily life, in and around NYC. The daily mindset is not always geared to the certain places that many visitors would consider "must haves" on a daily basis. Maybe if you are here for the day, or on vacation you would never consider going to a  Five Guys in NYC. The same is not true, when the "must haves" are always there, to enjoy, and they are right there...tomorrow, next week, etc. If a Five Guys is "normal" to visitors while they are at home, it will be "normal" to find it in NYC.
     
    It is only pretentious drivel, when someone goes to a restaurant just to be seen, or say they were there, with no consideration about their own enjoyment factor of the dining experience. NYC is a very populated place, and a very popular tourist destination. The market exists  for anything/everything. It is also very expensive to operate a restaurant in NYC. Is it pretentious to honestly enjoy an upscale dining experience? I do not think so Unless you decide to beat someone over the head with the fact that you were here, there and anywhere and that makes you "elite" or "special" just because you were "there" and have "arrived" in life. There is NO magic or mystique for me, when I am in a restaurant. I will go, to enjoy a meal, and my evening. If you enjoy it, and can afford it, you do as you please. It is not limited to dining. Some people choose to indulge in all sorts of things they do not "need" but enjoy. Travel, jewelry, hobbies, collections ( lets say expensive wine for just for example, of course ) , gambling, ect. Different strokes.
     
    I will be attending a business meeting on Thursday, and will most likely eat a hamburger that costs around $40. Is that pretentious? No! That is business, and I will not be paying for it. Is that pretentious? No! That is smart. Is that pretentious? No! Pretentious would mean that I did not work hard (which is not smart), for that free burger, and that business deal.
    post edited by CCinNJ - 2009/02/03 04:35:49
    #16
    mr chips
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    Re:5 Guys 2009/02/03 05:00:37 (permalink)
    Five Guys has a location in suburban Portland now and I enjoyed the exper placeience. I had the burger with all the fixings and really liked it, finding it a bit better than local chain Burgerville  on In N Out. Definitely liked the fries. Very loud, very efficient. Mrs. Chips likes her burgers well done. The owner is planning further expansion of the franchise so we will see if one makes it into my part of town.
    #17
    leethebard
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    Re:5 Guys 2009/02/03 07:45:48 (permalink)
    I'll echo the comments about francise differences...Our 5 Guys serves a good burger and the fries are crisp and delicious..the place is clean, and the staff friendly......never judge a franchise by one or two locations!!
    #18
    ChrisOC
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    Re:5 Guys 2009/02/03 10:45:15 (permalink)
    I have been to the 5 Guy's in Somers Point and the one in Rio Grande.  IMO both of them are good but the Rio Grande burgers seem a little juicier to me.  I have never had a dry 5G burger.  The fries are great and one small order serves me and Mrs. OC

    Chris
    #19
    joerogo
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    Re:5 Guys 2009/02/03 16:19:48 (permalink)
    Jeez, $40.00 burgers.....And you offer me a trip to White Castle?  Ya think ya know your friends
     
     
     
     
    #20
    douginvirginia
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    Re:5 Guys 2009/02/04 08:05:49 (permalink)
    BaahBen,

    I find it amazing that  having "finally got a chance to go to a 5 Guys" , you did not at least try the burger - other than having a bite of your friend's.

    This would leave me to believe you are either:
    - a cheapskate, WHICH I DOUBT - or
    - overly influenced by the commentary of fellow posters here.

    I mean, it's 5 bucks, why not give it a try?
    #21
    tfrielin
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    Re:5 Guys 2009/02/04 08:33:12 (permalink)
    Five Guys came here to Athens, GA about a year ago and I've partaken at both locations, especially the one downtown directly across the street from the Arch.

    I have come to dislike their burgers--they are expensive and rather tasteless. Someone compared them to Steak and Shake burgers, but I think the latter have much more flavor than Five Guys burgers. Plus at Steak and Shake you can get the best shakes going right now at any chain restaurant.

    And Five Guys may have fresh french fries, a rarity that should garner them major kudos in my book as I think the current state of tasteless frozen cardboard fries served at just about every fast food chain is or should be a national scandal.

    But they give you way too many fries--they fill a small styrofoam cup with them, then dump a whole shovel-full more on top of that, resulting in far too many fries for one person to eat. And worse than that, all too often the fries have way, way too much salt. Apparently the salt builds up in the fry bin and by lunchtime it is way over salted.  So even given the potential plus I should give them for taking the trouble to make real, fresh fries, they lose points for the excessive qquantity and salt. A shame, really.

    Frying them in a beef tallow mix like McDonald's did in the old days, before the Pleasure Police took away beef tallow from us, would make for an interesting french fry, but i suppose you can't use beef tallow today.  

    The concensus of my office mates is if Steak and Shake came to Athens, they would clean Five Guys clock and I have to agree.

    I give Five Guys another couple of years here in this college town before they wear out their welcome and fold.
    #22
    ellen4641
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    Re:5 Guys 2009/02/04 18:57:24 (permalink)
    ChrisOC

    I have been to the 5 Guy's in Somers Point and the one in Rio Grande.  IMO both of them are good but the Rio Grande burgers seem a little juicier to me.  I have never had a dry 5G burger.  The fries are great and one small order serves me and Mrs. OC
    Chris

    And have you tried the SONIC burger, right next to the Five Guys in Rio Grande?
    I eat at the one in Waretown, by Forked River, once in a while...
     
    I have'nt been to the Rio Grande "Five Guys", as I've got 3 of them closer to me in my  AC area (Absecon, Mays Landing, and Somers Point)
    I  found the ABSECON location juicier than the SOMERS POINT one..
    so we've both determined that the Somers Point one is a little "off" for our tastes...
     
    BAAH BEN,
    I was a little surprised you did'nt get at least their small burger for yourself to try.  Perhaps you were'nt so hungry, as you had just "pulled an Ellen" already!?
     


     
    #23
    sk bob
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    Re:5 Guys 2009/02/04 20:39:57 (permalink)
    I've never been to 5 guys but everyones cmparing it to Steak & Shake.
    a triple at S&S is only worth $3 IMHO.
    doughinvirginia says "only" $5 for a fast food burger, please, NO FF burger is worth $5.
    I will try 5 Guys when it opens in Port Orange with an open mind.
    #24
    Baah Ben
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    Re:5 Guys 2009/02/05 01:31:32 (permalink)
    Doug...

    When S&S first came to Ft. Lauderdale, Neil Rodger's, a local DJ known to have a pretty good feel for food places, raved about S&S.  So, I tried it.  

    I always loved to watch the prep action and that's easy to do at S&S.  I watched them place these little circles of fresh burger meat on a griddle, flatten them down into a patty and continue to flatten and flatten and flatten until all the grease was removed as well as all the flavor IMHO.  I didn't like the burger at all.  The shakes were good.  I think I may have been back to a S&S twice since 2003 because someone I was with liked it..Lots of people love S&S!  I think it is an incredibly overrated chain.

    I looked forward to trying 5 Guys.  When we got there, we just watched the action for at least 10 minutes.  The sign clearly says they cook all their burgers well done.  No, I did not expect anything different.  My intention from the get go was to try their fries.  That was my primary interest, but I was willing to try the burger until I saw the same smash, smash cooking process. 

    My friend had to ask me twice to try his burger..I finally took a bite and to me, it was just like a S&S burger.  It was greasy and not the kid of burger I enjoy.  But, like I said, I really liked the fries. 

    I would definitely return to 5 Guys for fries and a coke!  Their fries are so much better than any other fast food type place so I am glad they are coming to Port Orange, FL.  

    SK Bob - Yes, to me the two places make very, very similar burgers.  Tonight I had a friend in from Seattle and we went to Stonewood.  I told him to try the burger.  He said it was one of the best he's ever had... sorry to digress...We're talking about a different type of burger.

    Doug, I get the sense you like 5 Guys burgers?  Hey, that's great.  I did not form my opinion on the comments of others.  If anything, it made me want to go.  A lot of people love them.  I formed my opinion looking at the product being prepared; it had nothing to do with the cost of the burger. 

    Incidently, we both shared a regular fry and the two of us could not finish it! 

    TF - S&S has a much more diversified menu.  But their fries cannot compare with 5 Guys.  
    post edited by Baah Ben - 2009/02/05 01:34:07
    #25
    rebeltruce
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    Re:5 Guys 2009/02/05 06:43:54 (permalink)
    I'm not quite understanding why anyone would complain about being given to many fries........Don't know, just seems strange to me.
     
    Admittedly, I like 5 Guys, always have, ever since my first visit to the original one in Arlington, Va almost 20 years ago now. I was happy to see them expand, but expected that with growth they wouldn't be able to uphold the original quality, and sadly to a certain extent that seems true in some of the franchises.
     
    I'll say it again though, I have never had a bad experience. I did try a dog recently and didn't care for it, I don't like my hotdogs split down the middle.
     
    Getting back to the fries.....they've always done the full cup dump, and then filled the cup again before placing it in the bag. It's their thing, part of the charm, their shctick (sp).....I've heard folks complain about the amount of fries, as well as praise them for the size of a small order, but ya know what people always talk about the fries. Boy are those fries good, as long as you eat em hot out of the bag, they don't hold up well if they've got to travel.......I mostly get the cajun fries these days...... 
     
    Seems like the few pennys it cost them when people throw a few fries away is well worth it just for the word of mouth advertisment.
     
    I guess I'm saying potatoes are cheap compared to the cost of advertising, so if the size of an order of fries gets people talking and in the door why not do the full cup dump?
    #26
    tfrielin
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    Re:5 Guys 2009/02/05 08:57:18 (permalink)
    rebeltruce
    I'm not quite understanding why anyone would complain about being given too many fries........Don't know, just seems strange to me.
     



    Perhaps because I was raised with my Mother telling me to clean my plate because there were children starving in China. I just can't stand to see the waste they make with their fries--I typically throw away 80% of an order and I think such waste is wrong.  Iusually take them back to work but once the fries get cold, they are not very tasty, so that tactic doesn't even work much to reduce the waste.

    I suppose I could leave the bag for the homeless guys who are always hanging around downtown Athens, but panhandling is discouraged by the local businesses and the police and that makes the waste more frustrating.  Sorry to say it, but if everyone passed on their surplus fries, downtown would be choked with the homeless expecting the handouts.

    I just wish they would drop this whole bunch of fries schicht (sp?) and give customers a quantity that one person could handle.

    And, yes, Steak and Shake may flatten down their burgers, but at least the dressing on the burgers is better--S&S give you good onions and decent lettuce. These two elements at Five Guys are not nearly so tasty.



    #27
    SassyGritsAL
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
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    Re:5 Guys 2009/02/05 14:58:37 (permalink)
    I agree with Baha Ben about 5 Guys burgers - they are terrible but the fires are great. Of course, the grandkids love to go there and when I do take them I share a fry with one of them.

    I do admit though that I like the double burger at Steak and Shake when I go through the drive-thru and it is hot and fresh.
    #28
    ellen4641
    Filet Mignon
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    Re:5 Guys 2009/02/05 17:23:15 (permalink)
    TFRIELIN: Besides the onions and sauce, I LOVE the S&S long , thin PICKLE SPEARS!!
    #29
    CCinNJ
    Sirloin
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    Re:5 Guys 2009/02/05 23:19:27 (permalink)
    What does a cartload of Five Guys fries go for, these days?
     
    If I have leftover fries(and they are tasty) I will make potato salad with them. Usually, very delicious.
     
    If I had leftovers, I would not give them to my homeless friends. I will buy an entire meal for them, instead. I can do it, and it usually puts things into proper perspective, for me. Nothing is such a big deal, when I realize how blessed I am, in life.
    post edited by CCinNJ - 2009/02/05 23:45:07
    #30
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