Five Guys – I don’t get it !!!

I recently took a trip to America, the state of Florida to be specific. I, being an absolute maniac for hamburgers, it was high on my list to visit Five Guys and try their Double Bacon Cheeseburger. And that is exactly what I did!

A little background to this story; I love burgers, and I have some friends who love burgers too. Naturally, we talk burgers together… where have we been recently, what has been notable about recent eats. Burger chatter is pretty regular discourse for my group of foodie friends. One of my best mates runs a burger review blog which I follow somewhat regularly. It is Five Guys who hold the prestigious #2 spot on his “Hot List” of reviewed burger, with an impressive 96/100 score. These guys are serious foodies, very capable cooks in their own right and conservative in their scoring. So, the near perfect score of 96 impressed me and charged me up for a visit to Five Guys USA.

Read the review yourself, see if it doesn’t get you a bit excited about Five Guys:

Until this moment in time, I have never eaten a burger or enjoyed so much as a milkshake at any Five Guys Restaurant. That is quite something to say for a self professed burger fanatic. But as my life took its path, there was never a Five Guys in my lane. Five Guys is a hugely successful burger chain. They boast a ridiculous 1700 restaurants in the world, in some 25 different countries. And Five Guys has a dedicated and passionate set of fans and brand champions. You can count Former US President Barak Obama as a lover of Five Guys burgers. His social media regularly has pics of him chowing down on one of their burgers.

Ok, so in we went, Five Guys Orlando. Short line, order processed pretty quick. I grab myself a root beer and wait for my Double Bacon Cheeseburger. When ready, I grab my bags of fries and burgers. First thing I note is the weight, wow there is some heft to this order. Fries are good, plenty hot and plentiful. The abundance of fries is amazing really, too much for one person in all reality. My advice would be to share an order of their fries with someone else or the group. Finally I get my hands on my burger. In addition to the weight, first touch tells me it is piping hot and also pretty moist. I pull the burger out of the bag and am staggered by a hot, wet waft of pure greasy hamburger grease. Honestly, the entire joint had a powerful stench of burger grease, but what came out of the bag knocked me back a step. The stench was not like a dry bbq smoky grease fire, it was more akin to a hot, humid grease jungle thing. Cautiously I cleared my tray and centered the wrapped burger for a closer inspection. As mentioned before, the burger was wet, the paper already soaked through in spots with grease. My hand also covered in a slick coat of grease, but not so slippery to prevent me from peeling back the wrapper. And there we have it, finally revealed and much anticipated, a Five Guys Double Bacon Cheeseburger in all its greasy glory.

Onto the tasting! I came here to try Five Guys and damnit I was going to eat this sucker, despite being a bit turned off by the reality of it. I would love to recount you with glorious tales of savory delights and recount how the mastery of the burger surpassed my reservations; but in the real world this fairy tale burger trip did not have the expected happy ending. The burger did go into my mouth and a generously sized bite did happen, but that burger was out of my mouth just as fast and spat into the bag. The burger was not so delicately re-wrapped, stuffed back into the bag and unceremoniously dumped into the closest trash. A dude was standing there watching. His face registered a bit of shock but also a bit of understanding. Then I rushed off to the bathroom, having to wash my face and hands to get the stench off. When I came out of the bathroom it was like, “the curtain had been pulled back,” on Five Guys. Laid bare to see was not a burger heaven, a Mecca of artisanal burger mastery; rather, it was yet another burger chain selling grease pucks to people in a rush. All was not lost though, the root beer was bottomless and the Idaho French fries pretty damn good. Had my fill of those and cut out quickly to the parking lot and used the strength of the Florida sun to cleanse me of the experience.

It seems almost inevitable that Five Guys will eventually make their way to Portugal and the streets of Lisbon. I for one though, will hope it doesn’t open here and that our domestic burger ecosystem remains untouched by the Five Guys brand. The burger business is not easy here and one less chain could help make it just a bit easier for our local burger joints and food trucks. And for the Five Guy fanatics in Portugal, talk care on your way back from Madrid (the closest Five Guys restaurant)… greasy hands make for dangerous driving!