Five Guys just opened up on Calhoun in Clifton Heights. Not sure if today was the first day, but it is still listed as “Coming Soon” on their web site. In case you miussed it from the name, this place specializes in burgers and fries.
The restaurant is riddled with rave reviews, and lists of “Best of” victories in a number of cities. They focus on providing fresh food. Unfortunately for a few friends of mine, they fry their fries in peanut oil and offer peanuts in the shell while you are waiting.
Yes, there is a little wait. Kind of like the Penn Station wait. There are no pre-made burgers waiting under heat lamps here. As best as I can tell, they are all made to order.
The menu is basic, but that is a good thing. They focus on what they do well. The cashier asked if I had been there before, and when I indicated I had not, she gave me a very concise and complete overview of my options. The Hamburger is actually a double-patty. I chose the single patty Little Hamburger.
I ordered it with Grilled Onions, Mayo, Lettuce and Ketchup. Unfortunately they added tomato, but that was easy to remove. If you look at the menu, there are a number of options, and I forgot to add pickles.
They make a lot of noise about the fact they have their buns specially made at selected bakeries. I found the bun pretty unspectacular. I would rate it as mediocre to satisfactory. They only serve burgers “Juicy and Well Done”. I was suspicious of this description as well done and juicy doesn’t typically go hand in hand. My suspicions remain. It was far from dry and tough, but I would not call the burger juicy. I totally get the need to cook well-done, but I am not a fan of well-done.
The fries looked great, so I ordered a small. I could have easily split the small with one or two other folks. My cup literally runneth over with fries. You can spy some of the surplus I put in the peanut basket behind.
The fries were really good, they remind me a lot of Penn Station. They were cooked inside and golden brown out.
So, is it the “best”. I don’t like to label best, but I will say my first experience did not supplant Zip’s as my favorite burger. It was a very good burger, and I will definitely go again, and not just because they are so much closer, or serve Coke.
It will also be interesting to try again to see if I like it better. I mean, it’s not like I haven’t had a bad burger from Zip’s. Definitely check it out.