When I discovered their first store in 1986 Five Guys was definitely "roadfood": as they were only a walk-up you had
to eat in your car. As they have (some would say) metastasized into a national "chain" interest in them among Roadfooders has led to many passionate threads where the lovers and haters fuss endlessly about them. As this hoary topic has crept back into "Hamburgers", I thought that you all may find of interest a recent post I did on the occasion of In-N-Out's spectacularily successful debut in Texas:
-------------------------- As promised, I finally waited the 45 minutes necessary to get my food mid-sfternoon last Saturday. West has
at last come to meat East! Mrs. Metro and I happen to be lucky enough now to have two Five Guys and two In-N-Outs within 10 miles of our home in McKinney, TX, birthplace and burial ground of Haystacks Calhoun!
If only Haystacks could have lived to see this ... MiamiDon's Photo VS. Presentation:
After having discovered their first store - a now-closed walk-up with no seating in the Westmont Shopping Center in Arlington, VA, I have been a Five Guys customer since the Reagan Administration. Their quality, reasonably-priced food then overcame my objections of blaring music, no seating, and sh*tty "presentation". Since, the music has been toned down, they now provide seating, but their presentation is still sh*tty - especially as one can see above vis a vis In-N-Out . When they were only a walk-up I could see putting everything in a poke as I had to take it to my car to eat. Why they have not evolved beyond that is beyond me. Mrs. Metro, who does not allow condiment bottles on our dinner table (ketchup, steak sauce, salsa, etc. are served in minature pitchers or small ramekins with tiny spoons) is absolutely horrified by the "pokes".
Another thing I hate about Five Guys presentation is that my burger looks like this on their prep table:
And 20 seconds later when I take it out of the steaming poke 'o fries and unwrap the foil, it looks like this:
This gives me PSTD-type flashbacks of trying to keep the grease away from my Charvet tie when eating such in my Euro-Coupe! I am seriously tempted to take my own plate when I next go. In-N-Out wins presentation hands down and six ways from Sunday! The meat:
Both use excellent quality fresh, hand pattied beef. As neither wants a salmonellosis scandal, both source their own beef and cook it "well done". As Five Guys's patties are 65% larger than INO's (3.3 oz. vs. 2 oz.), Five Guys is the jucier, tastier finished product. The bun:
In keeping with the tradition of their first store which was located next to their bun supplier, Brenner's Bakery, the Guys use a substantial sesame seeded bun while INO's is closer to a Wal-Mary "Great Value" bun. That said, Five Guys bun had better
be substantial in order to survive the abuse it undergoes with their above-mentioned (and illustrated) sh*tty presentation! The toppings:
Both are fresh and top-notch, but the Guys have a far greater variety (A-1, sauteed shrooms, etc., etc.) which they apply at no extra charge. (Nothing is "free", however, see pricing & value below). The fries:
You tell me: Five Guys (this photo illustrates less than half their "small" portion) vs. INO
Both cut their own fries fresh in-house, blanch them, then fry them to finish right before serving. INO peels their potatos, the Guys do not and also cut a larger fry and serve a MUCH larger portion. The Guys fry in peanut oil, INO uses vegetable oil. The Guys' fries have a definite potato taste; INO's are kind of mealy. The "fry contest" is in fact "no contest". And the Guys even provide malt vinegar! Price, FYI:
INO Double Double w/cheese, L/T/P/Sauce (4 oz. beef): $3.75 (and looks very pretty when served!)
Five Guys "regular" w/cheese and "you name it toppings" (6.6 oz. beef): $5.69
Five Guys "small burger" w/cheese and "you name it toppings" (3.3 oz beef): $3.75
INO Fries Regular: $1.75
INO Fries "animal-style" - regular size w/ sauteed onions & burger sauce: $3.30 (served w/ fork, thank you)
Five Guys "Small": $2.79 (more than twice the serving as INO, and
malt vinegar is available!) Bottom Line:
Both places beat the living snot out of McWendyKing and are excellent exemplars of American Entrepreneurship.