Burgers, burgers, chains, chains.
I’m talking about two chains in one week? If I am, they’ve got to be good– and small. I think you know by now you won’t be seeing any Burger King or McDonald’s reviews here (unless, of course, it’s April Fool’s) but a smaller chain like In-n-Out, Penn Station, or Five Guys fits the bill.
I’d been to Five Guys once before, at Dulles on the way home from our Christmas trip in 2008. I’ve had a lot of airport food since then, and it’s still the best I’ve had. That’s not really saying a whole lot, so when I heard that Five Guys was opening, I was pretty excited– I could try it again and remove it from the context of the airport (where the bar is pretty darn low). So last Sunday, Terry and I were discussing lunch options, and how we so rarely go to Clifton (mostly because of parking issues), so I suggested Five Guys.
Five Guys is incredibly proud of its appearances on “Best Of” lists across the country– and you can tell, since those same lists are prominently displayed around the restaurant, whose decor otherwise reminds me of a diner. There are 50 pound bags of potatoes and 25 pound boxes of peanuts around the restaurant as well (the origin of the potatoes is also prominently advertised). Be advised– they fry in peanut oil, and whole peanuts are available as a snack while you wait– so if you are allergic to peanuts, you might want to avoid the place entirely.
They (much like In-n-Out), have a small menu– they focus on a few things and do them well. Hamburgers are double-patty burgers, Little Hamburgers are one-patty hamburgers; hot dogs, veggie sandwiches or grilled cheese. Veggie sandwiches are buns with vegetables/condiments, no meat; grilled cheese is the bun with cheese and any vegetables/condiments you’d like. All of the toppings are included in the price of the sandwich.
Terry and I both got hamburgers, and split an order of fries. I chose the Little Cheeseburger, with bacon, grilled onions, pickles and barbecue sauce. Terry picked the Cheeseburger, with onions, tomato, lettuce, mayonnaise and mustard. The burgers end up steaming a bit in their simple aluminum foil wrappers. They tout that all of their burgers are cooked “juicy and well done”, and though they are certainly not dry, “juicy” would be an overstatement. It’s a good, standard burger– no Terry’s Turf Club, but pretty darn good for a “fast food” burger.
Other locations include Rookwood, Crestview Hills, and West Chester, and a location in Mason will be opening soon (replacing the much-missed Metro Bagel).
(P.S.– photos later tonight. I haven’t had a chance to get them off the camera, darnit.)