A five guys recently opened in the area and my boys were anxious to go.
They have talked about the place and how good it is for a very long time so I figured I’d give it a peek, however for the last three weeks the lines have been long and the parking lot full so I’ve not had a chance to go until Monday after 2 p.m when after running errands I finally got a chance to drop by. Here is what I found.
A very simple menu, Burger, with or without cheese, with or without Bacon, Dog, Fries, with or without Cajun spice and soda
The standard 5 guys burger is two patties on a pretty nice bun, there is a vast array of toppings available for no charge from green peppers to A1 Sauce they will either grill or make your unions raw.
They also have a small burger which is a single patty, the patties are 3.4 oz so you are talking just under a quarter pound per.
I had the bacon Burger with light Mayo, grilled onions, lettuce, ketchup mustard. It was a solid quality burger that tasted fresh clearly superior to McDonalds & Burger King and compatible with Wendy’s. It resembled a burger you might cook at home.
They also have all you can eat Peanuts if you are a peanut guy that’s heaven.
The place is organized well, there are bags of fries as you walk in that help steer you to the counter. Whereever you look you see the signs on the wall and articles talking about how wonderful they are over the years. Strangely enough only two of those signs were from after 2010 One for “Best burger in NH 2010-2012” and one by the men’s room saying “Best Burger around town 2012” from the Boston Globe.
It’s a smart psychological game, but the real attraction is the cooking layout. You can see the burgers go on the grill, & watch them cook, additionally they lay out the bun with the toppings first so you can see your toppings arranged neatly on the bun with whatever you ordered waiting for the patty. Once the burger is done it’s wrapped and sent to the fry station to be packed and bagged before serving.
This is where five guys lost me.
The burger alone at Five guys will easily cost you the price of combo meal elsewhere. Because of the higher quality than McDonalds or Burger King (which happen to be across the street from their Leominster location) you might be willing to pay that extra 30% or more, but if you are willing to drive a mile or two down the road to the nearest Wendys You’ll find yourself wondering why you paid extra.
Or to put it another way. If I work at the twin city mall in Leominster/Fitchburg can either have a five guys burger with bacon & cheese or the all you can eat Buffet at Tang Dynasty in Leominster about the same price.
And if like me you live within a few doors of a butcher shop you can have a five guys quality burger in the tie it takes to cook it yourself.
The one saving grace are the toppings If you are a person who wants every single topping offered then that’s a different story as those toppings would cost a premium elsewhere and if you are a mushroom & Jalapeno man it’s the only game in town.
Bottom line, Five Guys makes a good burger but you are paying a restaurant price for a fast food atmosphere. The genius behind it is atmosphere & the marketing which translates a simple menu done well into an experience.