Five Guys

Countless comparisons have been made between Five Guys and In-N-Out over the years. With Five Guys opening in Fresno not too long ago (about a year) the local Internet has been abuzz with burger feuds. Everyone has their favorite and there is no convincing the other party. Until now I’ve stayed away from Five Guys, mainly because I wanted the stench of Johnny Rocket’s disgusting burgers to come off the griddle before I ate at there.

My experience there taught me two things. 1) More isn’t always better when it comes to a burger. 2) There is no comparison between a Five Guys burger and In-N-Out.

First things first, burger minimalism. I’ve been an advocate of burger minimalism for quite some time now. I haven’t fully thought out the minimalistic approach on burgers just yet, but there are a few ground rules. No lettuce. No humongous tomatoes. No giant pickles. Bacon of course is always acceptable but only if it’s the same bacon you would eat for breakfast. It needs to be somewhat thick and pretty salty. None of this crappy stuff. Five Guys, however, makes me more of an advocate for a different reason.

I ordered the Bacon Cheeseburger with grilled onions and sautéed mushrooms. First things first. The bacon cost me an extra buck or so and it was pretty much non-existent. If you’re going to go with bacon, make it worth my while. This was a sad excuse for bacon.

Sautéed mushrooms are acceptable too. But it can’t just be smeared on like a mushroom tapenade. I had to push the measly amount of bacon to the side to even find the even more measly amount of mushrooms. So in this case more isn’t always better. Especially if the more is barely more. Five Guys lets you add on toppings but if they’re all paltry, what’s the point?

Second point. There is no comparing to In-N-Out. Simply put, Five-Guys has a bigger patty, bigger bun, offers bacon, different sauces, and just more in general. Oh yeah, they also offer thicker cut, soggy fries. My fries were just okay for about the first 3 minutes.  After that they were a limp mess.

So let’s quit comparing the two. The only thing similar is the red and white decor. Beyond that I’m just not seeing it.

Okay enough complaining. The burger overall wasn’t that bad. Heck I’ll even call it pretty good (paltry toppings aside). You can tell the ground beef was fresh and had a good fat ratio (juice and grease).

Will I convert now and spend my fast food burger money at Five Guys now? Probably not. I’d rather just stick with In-N-Out. Or better yet, I’ll make a stop at Dari-Delite.

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14 Responses to Five Guys

  1. Donna says:

    In-N-Out is a clean restaurant, Five Guys is not. I couldn’t believe how dirty the floors were on a weekday afternoon and the bathroom also, looked like someone splashed a drink on a stall door and it was dry, hadn’t just happened. No complaint about the burger or fries but I’ll stick to In-N-Out, love it there.

  2. Nicole says:

    I wasn’t impressed with the burger at all. It tasted like a Wendy’s burger. I don’t know why, but it did! I do like Five Guys fries (I’ve always hated In-n-Out fries), but I wouldn’t go back there just for fries. So far, the only place in town I’ll go to specifically for fries is Irene’s (both regular and sweet potato).

  3. TOPS BBQ says:

    I have only visited Five Guys once. Was the burger good? Yeah, but not the best I ever had. It was definitely expensive than In-N-Out. If you took In-N-Out’s sauce, you would have a Five Guys burger (without the additions). Fries: Regular, IMHO were better at Five Guys. Except for their Cajun Fries. Wtf? They were not good at all.

    If someone asked me to go with them, I would. But I wouldn’t be asking my friends to go there. Also, it’s in River Park. It’s just not convenient.

    Regarding your take on toppings. Humungous tomato – No. Thin sliced tomato – Yes/Fine. Lettuce – Shredded/Yes. Actually I’m fine with lettuce regardless. Pickle – Spear on the side is totally fine. Thinly sliced inside – Fine/No prob. You have seen a pic of what I consider a great hamburger, so minimal isn’t always that great.

    • fresnobites says:

      I can be convinced either way as long as the toppings don’t overwhelm the patty. When the weather cools we need to visit Chuck Wagon.

      Oh yeah. Did you go to the BBQ thing this weekend for some trophy stuff. Haha. Just wanted to get you riled up.

  4. Les Ciapponi says:

    Sorry, but the best burger for the money is The Habit. Do what Dominic and I did. Go to your three favorite places order a cheeseburger and then immediately share all three with your group. The majority rules.

  5. Barak says:

    We went to Five Guys when they first opened. It was actually good, at least for my taste, but not impressive enough for my wife to go back. In-N-Out never changes! It’s always good. It’s more consistant than McDonalds….oops….sorry I mentioned the two in the same sentence! If Five Guys has gone down hill, I would tend to blame it on the owner of this particular one, because it was better when we ate there. That being said, I discovered a burger joint down in So. Cal. called Umami. Supposedly there is a fifth sense of taste that we all have along with sweet, sour, bitter, and salty that the Japanese discovered called “umami”. Whatever the case, we ate at the one in Hollywood, and it was so good I had to go back. Much to my dismay, they are out of business. Why? Why? Why? Why does a lousy burger joint in Fresno stay in business, while a rockin’ burger joint in So. Cal. goes out of business? Or better yet, why does a burger joint that went out of business, still have a website with tantalizing photos that make so hungry you’d drive to LA to get one? http://www.umamiburger.com

    • fresnobites says:

      Barak I keep hearing Umami’s ads on KNBR so something tells me they are still open in the bay area.

      Regarding Five Guys, it wasn’t awful just not worth going back unless I stumbled into it.

  6. Jeffrey Whitaker says:

    Umami Burger Rules! FG’s burger tastes like a Wendy’s burger. In and Out Burger is better and fresher tasting that FG. But I like the diner type burgers so you will see me at Triangle Burger on Parkway and Belmont!!!

  7. JJJ says:

    Im wondering if the Fresno location is off, because after all the praise….it was super disappointing. The fries were terrible, and the burger was just normal.

    • fresnobites says:

      I have a hard time thinking it’s just Fresno. But other chains on Fresno aren’t as good as other cities. Ruth’s Chris comes to mind.

      • JJJ says:

        Some chains lack the quality control that keeps the product consistent. I remember a few years ago I LOVED Tony Roma’s, having had it in Miami (many times), Los Angeles and even Puerto Rico.. I told my family I wanted to go to the Fresno location, and they said I was crazy, it was horrible, how could I like that overpriced crap?

        Well, after having eaten at the original Miami location for years and loving it, I decided to visit the Fresno location. It was horrible. It went out of business a few months later. It may have been the same chain, but it certainly wasn’t the same food. The Fresno location even charged $1.50 for a rock-hard loaf of bread.

        Perhaps Ill try 5 guys in the DC area in the future to see if it’s the Fresno location I didnt enjoy.

  8. Scott says:

    Remember about 15 years ago, every fast food joint on earth was selling their burger for $1 (burger wars!!!), the Whopper, the Big Mac, the square thing at Wendy’s, the Super Star at Carl’s Jr., the Jumbo Jack at Jack in the Box. How I miss those days. One time my college roommate and I went around and got a burger at all of them to do a taste test of the spectrum. While I rarely eat fast food these days, I still think the whopper tops them all fast food wise, because it’s toppings are perfect (ketchup/mayo sauce, thin but big tomato slice, some lettuce, cheese). There are better options at each of those places now, but for the standard run on of the mill burger with basic toppings, that’s where my $1 went.
    I’m still a fan of In-N-Out, but it’s in a slightly different category than those burgers, and it hasn’t sold for $1 since the early 80’s probably. I haven’t tried the Five Guys, but judging from the comments above, it doesn’t sound spectacular, and it does sound overpriced.

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