Five Guys

I had heard about this place Five Guys as an East Coast version of In-N-Out.  One of my friends, who spent the summer in New Jersey, even claimed it was better than In-N-Out.  Since I’m now working in Torrance and one of the So. Cal. locations is a short drive away in Carson, I decided to check it out for the first time for lunch today.

Like In-N-Out, Five guys has a pretty simple menu.  The main difference, they have a bunch of toppings you can choose from to customize your burger (for no extra charge).  That and they also serve hot dogs (while In-N-Out does not).  The other difference…cost.  I’ll get into that later though.

The Burger

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I ordered a Bacon Cheeseburger with lettuce and BBQ Sauce (yes I like simplicity).  It’s a little hard to see in the photo, but the patties are definitely thicker at Five Guys.  Maybe not quite twice as thick…but close.  Being able to have bacon was pretty nice as well the BBQ sauce.  All in all, it was a pretty good burger and definitely filling (as I was pretty full just finishing the burger).  The only complaint was perhaps the cost.  The burger alone was $5.59.  That is not much less than the cost of the Double Double combo meal at In-N-Out (though I don’t remember the exact cost at In-N-Out at the moment).

The Fries

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Here is where Five Guys have In-N-Out beat hands down.  The fries are fresh and cut at the restaurant like In-N-Out, however they are a thicker cut fry at Five Guys.  For $2.49, you get more fries, than a regular order of fries at In-N-Out (There were plenty still left inside my bag).  I also found the standard cooking time at Five Guys to be much better.  At In-N-Out, I often find the fries to be a little undercooked (so end up ordering them lightly well done).  The cost is a little more at Five Guys, but I think you get a good value here.

Overall verdict

My order of Bacon Cheeseburger, Fries and a Drink came to $10.58 (including tax).  Like I mentioned above, I remember the Double Double combo meal being around $6 (including tax).  In fact I’m pretty sure I can get a Double Double, Fries and Shake at In-N-Out for less than my meal at Five Guys.  So is it worth $4 more at Five Guys?  I’m not so sure.  It has the nostalgia of In-N-Out to overcome and isn’t significantly better than In-N-Out.  Sure I could cut down the cost a little by getting the smaller single patty “Little Bacon Cheesburger,” and probably will the next time, since I was unable to finish my fries.  Will I go again?  Sure.  They definitely beat out Fatburger or any of the other major burger fast food joints.  However, I don’t think it’ll ever replace a Double Double, Fries, and Neapolitan Shake from In-N-Out.

*update 11/12/08:  A Double Double, Fries and Shake at In-N-Out is $6.42.

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