Monday, June 21, 2010

Five Guys

Someone recently told me that Five Guys was like In ‘n Out Burger in California and I quickly went from not being that interested in trying it, to becoming quite intrigued. I loved In ‘n Out, and even though there wasn’t one is San Francisco proper for quite awhile, hubby and I would regularly do a trip to the ‘burbs just to get one.

The first thing I noticed about Five Guys when I walked in was how clean it was inside. Everything was spotless. I should warn any readers with nut allergies though, that they have help yourself boxes of peanuts on the counter to eat at your table. I say “warn” because as a Mom with a child with nut allergies, this made this place a no go with the kids for me. Which is sort of a shame because the kids would probably like it. They have several signs up saying you cannot take the nuts out of the store for allergy concerns.

The menu is very simple and straightforward—they have “regular” burgers which are actually double patties of beef, and “little” burgers which are singles. They also have several hot dog variations and a couple of sandwiches. The only side item is the freshly made fries. I liked the fact that they had a sign next to the counter that told you where your potatoes were from on this particular day.

Well, I think I liked the fries better than the burgers, so I will start there. The fries, as I said, are freshly cut and fried—not the frozen things you get a lot of places. You can certainly taste this in them. Now, they aren’t super crispy fries, but they have a very pleasant, fresh potato (with a bit of skin left on), slightly starchy taste. They did actually remind me a bit of the In ‘n Out Burger fries which are also hand cut and made fresh. And they give you a TON of them. Hubby and I split an order (based on recommendations I had read elsewhere) and still barely put a dent in them. They fill up a little cup, put it in your bag, and then dump two more big scoopfuls in there too. But with the fresh taste, I could see how they could possibly become addicting. And they still held up, even though we got it to go.

The burgers were, as hubby put it, “a quality product” (he had the regular double patty). They aren’t amazing, but they are obviously very fresh and are cooked to order. You can choose from several toppings, including things like jalapenos, grilled mushrooms, and grilled onions. I went with the “little” burger with my usual, cheese, ketchup and extra pickle as toppings, just so I could compare it to my other standbys. They are sort of mid way between the really thin burgers and the really fat ones. But even with only one patty, I would say this is not a “little” burger in my book. It was a ton of food I thought, particularly when you factored in the fries.

So, in some ways the burgers are similar to In ‘n Out, because they are fresh and the buns are quite soft and they are approximately the same size (these are a bit bigger I’d say), but I can’t quite say they can live up to that In ‘n Out craving I used to get in California. A good burger, but not really craveable to me.

Five Guys Burger
5317 East 82nd Street (with several other locations)
Indy, 46250

Five Guys Burgers and Fries on Urbanspoon


  1. Love Five Guys burgers, although I've had to resort to getting the little burger. The double and an order of fries is just too much food!

  2. On the nut issue, all the fries are also fried in peanut oil.

  3. I was in CA last week and had my first In-n-out. I think the closest tasting burger in Indy is 96th Street Steakburgers - right down to the special sauce.

  4. As a transplant from Southern California I have never understood the people who claim Five Guys is like In ‘n Out. However 96th Street Steak Burger went out of their way to recreate an almost perfect In ‘n Out burger. They even have "monster" style which is just like the animal style burger and the fries are just perfect. The cups and wrappers are a clone too. If you haven't tried them yet you should! Hum now I know what I am having for lunch today!

  5. ok, well, now obviously I am going to have to put 96th Street Steakburgers in the list!

    and Nicole, you are totally right, they do use peanut oil.

  6. Five Guys is good but I have to agree that 96th Street is much better. The only problem with 96th is that they're way off the beaten path for me, with no regular shopping stops in that area. Five Guys has locations right next to both Traders Joe's in town, which results in more visits there.

    You can hit up 96th St. Steakburgers in the airport though! I love that they have so many home-grown favorites in the new terminal.

  7. I do love Five Guys, tho I too end up with the "little burger". With family in LA, I've tried In-n-Out a lot, and really appreciate the simplicity of their menu - it's like showing up at the McDonald's brothers original stand. Of course, you can find the "secret menu" on In-n-Out's site.

    I end up liking Indiana's own regional chain - Steak N Shake - more than In-n-Out. I'm not crazy about special sauce, and I prefer ketchup and mustard. And, I don't like the huge wedge of iceberg lettuce In-n-Out somtimes gives you.

    Like others have said, 96th Street is a lot closer to In-n-Out than Five Guys. I especially like the velveeta-ish quality of the cheese at 96th St.

  8. I tried a local place a couple of week's ago that "smokes" Five Guys! Chef Mike's Charcoal Grill at 71st & Woodland Dr behind McD's at I465 * 71st St on the west side has a great burger!

    Fresh made buns, hand pattied beef grilled on a real charcoal grills. Tasty, juicy, with that smoky backyard grill flavor. Folks, this was the "real deal" and it's locally owned and operated!

  9. Erin, Love the blog. I can't wait to try your fried chicken suggestions. Keep 'em coming! As for burgers, I prefer Scottys delicious creations.
    Chef Mike's is not good, even by bar food standards. Dry, overcooked burgers, mushy buns with limp lettuce and horrid service. Isn't the whole 'backyard grill flavor' shtick already being perverted somewhere else in town...ack ack Weber Grill Downtown?? Check out Urbanspoon's reviews for my take.

  10. 5 Guys is hit and miss, I like the fact that they use fresh beef (never frozen at least). The problem is, a burger, fry and drink will push you around $10. I rather go to 96th or Culvers..

  11. Mike Shark,

    Sorry to hear your experience at Chef Mike's was bad. I ate lunch there once and my burger was moist, slightly pink inside, the toppings fresh, and the bun was obviously "homemade" and good. Service was OK - not great - but the burger was one of the best I've had recently. All goes to show, some places can have good and bad days - sometimes good and bad meals during the same time. This is why REAL restaurant reviewers have to visit a place at least twice before writing a review which could put someone out of business.

  12. Victor-

    It would be great to be able to go to restaurants several times before reviewing them, but unfortunately I do not have the finances to be able to do that since I pay for my own meals, unlike reviewers who work for magazines/newspapers. Again, this policy is fully explained in my "review policy" in my blog.

    To date, I do not believe I have put anyone out of business. :)


  13. I like Five Guys a lot-- although some locays are better than others (which is weird) and they do serve up a good hot dog too. But-they're totally different than 96th St. It depends on what you like-- as far as a thinner or thicker burger.

    If/when you go to 96th St.-- they are not exactly In & Out- but close. The fries are homemade-- but smaller/thinner than In & Out (& have skin on them).


    (A snippet: "Executives of the fast-casual burger brand — which opened its 632nd unit in Sacramento, Calif., on Tuesday...")