I read an article recently in the New York Times about the New York-based hot dog purveyor Papaya King opening in Los Angeles to take on hometown favorites like Pink's. As an example of this overall trend, it was mentioned that Five Guys, a hamburger chain based in Virginia invaded California to take on the much-adored, if not downright revered, In-N-Out. How dare they?
Well, dared they did--and with much success, it seems. We went at dinnertime on a Saturday and the place was packed, though at 42 and some change I was probably the oldest person--customer or employee--in the building. My wife and I each ordered a hamburger, for which we could add as many toppings, chosen from an extensive list, as we wanted to for no additional cost. I had mine with grilled onions, tomatoes, mustard and ketchup. The burgers were juicy and the patties soft. They weren't compressed as one would find at McDonald's or a school cafeteria. Most notable of all was the strong beefy flavor--this was no turkey burger. It was a good deal for $4.99 and it will bring us back.
The large fries come in an overflowing--VERY much overflowing--16 oz. cup. They're hot and crisp, but a little salty. One of the boys ate two Little Cheeseburgers (and, the photo doesn't lie--the cheeseburger is indeed "little"), each coming with one patty instead of the two that come with a regular burger. The other six-year-old told me he liked In-N-Out more because they give out stickers.
If In-N-Out offers an advantage, it's those ice cream shakes, which aren't available at Five Guys. Five Guys has been stubborn about this because they don't want to have freezers in their restaurant as a testament to the freshness of their ingredients. Perhaps some day they'll give in? In the meantime, to satisfy that need for protein, one can enjoy complimentary peanuts in the shell available in the back corner.
116 E El Camino Real
Sunnyvale, CA 94087