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Burger Time: Five Guys

[One of the many laudatory messages pinned to the restaurant's bulletin board.]

Five Guys is a chain that started in Virginia, colonized D.C. and the surrounding area, and eventually went national. We visited the Liberty Station location. The place is heavy on the In-N-Out vibe, from the red-and-white tile to the stripped-down menu. (A Bacon Cheeseburger will run you $6.59; large fries, $4.99.)

Image

But no shakes! Instead, the soda fountain offers exotic selections (read: Cherry Coke). And speaking of beverages:

Image

These five guys are not shy about promoting the good things that others have said about them. Positive reviews and other accolades appear not only on the soda cups but all over the walls. It's a little odd: "You've made the decision to come here; now let us tell you how smart you were to make that decision!" But it does keep things positive!

Also like In-N-Out, they advertise never-frozen beef, so that's a good thing. And the place goes In-N-Out's open-kitchen design one step further, going so far as to let their basic (and branded) ingredients serve as decor:

Image

Image

Oh, and there are free peanuts -- not great peanuts, but a smart, salty way to keep folks happy while they wait.

Image

While we're on the subject of seasoning, let us now praise Five Guys' Cajun fries, which use the teeniest touch of heat to keep you eating long after you've tired of the starchy, mushy interior beneath the slightly heartier exterior. And the portions? Massive.

Image

On to the burger. Meat: pebbly and firm, rich and flavorful and lightly greasy. Cheese: gloppy-gluey American. Too much for me, and not as smoothy oozy as In-N-Out. Lettuce: bountiful, cold, and crisp. Tomato: what do you want from a fast-food joint? And yet, there were hints of genuine flavor. Bun: substantial in a chewy sort of way, and sweet.

Image

Style placement: somewhere between In-N-Out and Fatburger. I dunno - given all the raves, somehow I was expecting more. And the cheese was a real drawback for me. Your mileage may vary.

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[One of the many laudatory messages pinned to the restaurant's bulletin board.]

Five Guys is a chain that started in Virginia, colonized D.C. and the surrounding area, and eventually went national. We visited the Liberty Station location. The place is heavy on the In-N-Out vibe, from the red-and-white tile to the stripped-down menu. (A Bacon Cheeseburger will run you $6.59; large fries, $4.99.)

Image

But no shakes! Instead, the soda fountain offers exotic selections (read: Cherry Coke). And speaking of beverages:

Image

These five guys are not shy about promoting the good things that others have said about them. Positive reviews and other accolades appear not only on the soda cups but all over the walls. It's a little odd: "You've made the decision to come here; now let us tell you how smart you were to make that decision!" But it does keep things positive!

Also like In-N-Out, they advertise never-frozen beef, so that's a good thing. And the place goes In-N-Out's open-kitchen design one step further, going so far as to let their basic (and branded) ingredients serve as decor:

Image

Image

Oh, and there are free peanuts -- not great peanuts, but a smart, salty way to keep folks happy while they wait.

Image

While we're on the subject of seasoning, let us now praise Five Guys' Cajun fries, which use the teeniest touch of heat to keep you eating long after you've tired of the starchy, mushy interior beneath the slightly heartier exterior. And the portions? Massive.

Image

On to the burger. Meat: pebbly and firm, rich and flavorful and lightly greasy. Cheese: gloppy-gluey American. Too much for me, and not as smoothy oozy as In-N-Out. Lettuce: bountiful, cold, and crisp. Tomato: what do you want from a fast-food joint? And yet, there were hints of genuine flavor. Bun: substantial in a chewy sort of way, and sweet.

Image

Style placement: somewhere between In-N-Out and Fatburger. I dunno - given all the raves, somehow I was expecting more. And the cheese was a real drawback for me. Your mileage may vary.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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