Crawls Backward (When Alarmed)

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American burgers and fries - some of the elixirs of life

It was about 12:15 PM when I was on my way from The Despot back to the worksite (aka home). I am thinking about lunch.

Now, as it happens, there is a Five Guys on the way. Bwhahahahahaha.

If you aren't familiar with Five Guys, it's an outstanding hamburger place. It started in Arlington, VA, in 1986, and is now (as they say) in over 300 locations in 25 states. Meaning, if you're in the US, there's a 50% change there's one in your state.

Five Guys is focused on quality. I can vouch for the fact that the burgers are excellent and their fries are killer. If you like fries that are not too thick, not too thin, and with the skins still on part of them, you have come to the right place.

The decor is diner-meets-warehouse and the color theme is red and white. Since I happened to have my trusty vintage digital camera with me, I took some pictures for you, Fthfl Rdr. I was looking out for you, because it is, after all, all about you.

In the shot of the grill, note the bloke on the left. He was the grillmeister that day. And, to be honest, he was just not with it. I had the longest wait ever in Five Guys - about 12 minutes! - to get my order. In another life, Yr Fthfl Blggr worked at the now-defunct Gino's, at Wendy's and at the dreaded McDonalds. So I know my way around fast food operations for the most part. And Our Grill Dude was just not keeping up on this day. When he should be hunkered down over the grill flipping burgers, he's standing and watching the bun station. I was tempted to jump over the counter and run the grill, but I didn't. I have a sun room to get back to.

The fact that I am complaining about a 12 minute wait tells you that Five Guys, in general, is ridiculously fast. So I give them a pass on this day.

I had a 'regular' cheeseburger, which is 2 good-sized patties, with mayonaise, tomato, lettuce, grilled onions, and jalapenos. Made fresh. Can you dig it? I think you can!

Five Guys follows the basic Wendy's model - which is to have the meat on the grill, and when the order comes in, the grill person puts the meat on the bun, and the bun person dresses it. When I worked at Wendy's, I thought this was the way to go - compared to the McDonald's model using frozen patties. Much much better quality this way. Mind you, my experience was many years ago, and McDonald's may have adapted. Or not.

Five Guys takes pride in the fact that they don't use freezers, only refrigerators, and that everything is fresh.

The difference with Five Guys compared to Wendy's is that Five Guys is just burgers, hot dogs, and fries. No chicken, chili, nothing else. The limited menu means they can make their burgers totally rock, which they do.

Their fries are outstanding; the only comparison is Boardwalk Fries. My experience with Boardwalk is the quality can be hit-or-miss.

One neat touch at Five Guys is they have a board with where the potatoes are from. Does anyone else do that? This reinforces the "fresh" image, and also reinforces the "American" image as well. There are also a couple dozen 50 lb. sacks of Idaho spuds conspicuously stacked in the front of the store - where customers pass them. Well done.

So there you have it - got de burger (and fries) for me and Ms. Yr Fthfl Blggr. She doesn't know it's coming - should be a nice surprise.

We probably eat at Five Guys once a month, so this is a treat.

One last mini-soapbox. Fast food places call the device on which they cook burgers and the like a "grill." It ain't. Technically, it's a griddle. A griddle is a flat, heated surface, usually metal, on which food is cooked. A grill is an open grate with a fire under it. The food is cooked on the grate, also (correctly) known as a grill.

It's probably just the fact that "grilled" food is seen as preferable (it mostly is, imho, but that's another topic - that and those deplorable gas 'grills'...) so the term is used instead of "griddle." But, it's wrong and it's a pet peeve of mine. So there.


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