While driving to work this past week, I recall hearing that by February, 50% of those New Year's resolutions have fallen by the wayside. So I thought it was time for our Fourth Burger Week. I had my doubts at first because it seems that we've covered a good bit of ground. From iconic burgers served at places like Rocky's, Hodad's, and Nessy, to "pub burgers" at joints like The Waterfront, to newer places like Burger Lounge and The Counter, I wasn't sure I had it in me. But after trading emails with Cathy and Ed from Yuma, I realized that there's always another burger somewhere down the street.
A couple of months back, Five Guys Burgers opened up in San Diego...... part of a West Coast expansion of an East Coast favorite. This prompted a whole slew of Five Guys versus In N Out posts and articles. Some of my favorite Food Bloggers like The Catty Critic and Passionate Eater weighed in on the debate.
Thus I put a visit to Five Guys on my "list".......... then my trip to Madison and Chicago came up. An acquaintance of mine who had tried the San Diego location of Five Guys told me that for some reason, in his opinion, the burgers at Five Guys in the Midwest and back East taste better. He told me to check out one of their location in Chicago if I had the chance. And I did indeed have a chance, as I came across a Five Guys in Mount Prospect on my last morning in Chicago.
Even though I arrived right at opening time, there was already a short line. It gave me time to check out the decor, all of the declarations of the greatness of Five Guys plastered on the walls, the large sacks of potatoes, the peanuts for eating while you wait......
The menu, much like In-N-Out's is deceivingly simple; Four burgers, four "little burgers", hot dogs, two sandwiches, and two style of fries. The gimmick here is that you have the choice of up to sixteen free "toppings", everything from Ketchup to A1 Steak Sauce.
Those folks that know, realize that I like a pretty unadorned burger, just the typical veggies and maybe some mustard. Which is how I ordered mine. It all came wrapped in foiled lined paper. It's good that I was eating this here, as a burger would keep on steaming inside this wrapper had I waited too long....
I liked the look of the burger, the sesame bun was nice until it started falling apart. This was a fairly hefty burger, but I thought it over-priced at five bucks($4.99 actually)...... though I guess you could make up that difference if you got everything but the kitchen sink on it.
The meat itself wasn't seasoned, lacked any beefiness, and was on the "mealy" side. No wonder President Obama needed to order his burger with Jalapeno.
Five Guys Burgers
118 East Kensington Rd
Mount Prospect, IL 60056
This didn't turn out to be the burger I had expected. But I decided to check out the Liberty Station location in Point Loma, just to see if there was any difference. I arrived on a Sunday evening, and the place was packed.
Because I wanted to be boring consistent, I ordered the same thing as I did in Chicago. I even managed to score an open table. This is what my burger looked like when unwrapped....
What a mess....... that bottom half of the butt was pretty much a goner, just minutes after making.
At least the burger here had a bit more char to it, and was more moist than the version I had in Chicago. I still think the meat has a kind of mealy texture, and is under-seasoned. The meat here cannot stand alone, The packaging left much to be desired as well.
Five Guys Burgers and Fries
2445 Truxton Rd
San Diego, CA 92106
So what about the Five Guys versus In-N-Out thing...... being that Five Guys' burger is larger, it's hard to compare. But I will say this about the burger...... For the price of one burger from Five Guys ($4.99)..... I got this at I-N-O:
Smaller, but dressed in a similar manner - two double meats, mustard instead. I enjoyed In-N-Out much more as well.....
There is one thing at Five Guys that I enjoy much more than at In-N-Out...... it's the fries. I've never developed a taste for the fries at In-N-Out.......yeah they're "natural" style fries; but just about every other place I have that type of fries have been head and shoulders above In-N-Out.