Monday, December 08, 2008

Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Orange Park, Florida

Five Guys Burgers and Fries
1910 Wells Road, #C02D-5
Orange Park, FL 32073

I'd heard about Five Guys Burgers and Fries on various food blogs, but never tried their food. There seemed to be two camps of thought: the long-time fans ("It's the best burgers ever !") and the nonplussed newcomers ("Um, I don't get the hype.")

Recently, Five Guys opened a location at the Orange Park Mall, next to Maggie Moo's. There were four of us dining that day: two major fans and two newbies. We were assured "You don't know what you're missing. So yummy !"

I'll note this up front: If you're allergic to peanuts, Five Guys is not the place for you. There is a warning about peanut oil and peanut dust on the front door. Upon entering, I noticed sacks of peanuts and potatoes stacked around the restaurant. There was another peanut warning sign posted, asking customers not to take peanuts outside the building.

This location was very noisy. I have a high tolerance for loud music, but the volume of their radio was beyond ridiculous. The employees kept trying to greet us across he room, but the music drowned them out ("WELCOME TO FIVE GUYS !" "WHAT ?" "WHAT CAN WE GET FOR YOU ?" "WHAT ?").

The employees were very friendly, once we were in hearing distance. They pointed out the sacks of potatoes were for homemade french fries. When asked about the brand of hot dogs, both employees shot each other panicky looks. Then they answered "kosher beef." No kidding, I could see that on the menu board.

The wait for the food was rather short. Kudos for that. Our group had 3 drinks, 3 burgers, 1 hot dog, 1 order of plain fries and 1 order of Cajun fires. The hot dogs were worth trying. They were juicy and plump. The fries were hot, crisp and fresh. The hamburgers were hot, fresh and properly cooked. Although we newcomers commented "I'm not impressed with the meat itself. I've had this hamburger at street fairs. Meh." The price tag for this meal was $31. Ouch.

My overall reaction: Five Guys gets an A for the concept, simplicity and efficiency. The service we received was quick, friendly and efficient. The fan girl hype is over the top, but the food is good. I might go back for a hot dog. I wouldn't order a burger again, though, due to the price. Also, I would be happy if Five Guys added a simple dessert option to the menu.

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