50 Burgers, 50 Days: Five Guys Burgers and Fries

A burger a day all around Austin, plus an answer
to the pressing question: fries or rings?

Day 6: Five Guys Burgers and Fries
3208 Guadalupe St. 452-4300, www.fiveguys.com.
Hours: 11 a.m to 10 p.m. daily.
By Mike Sutter | Fed Man Walking | 08.16.11
The burger: Five Guys invites overindulgence a couple of ways. First, the burger’s a double by default, unless you buck the peer pressure and order a “little.” Good luck, with that, tough guy. The other ticket to overload is a list of add-ons that other people charge you for, but that Five Guys builds into the sticker price: grilled onions and mushrooms, fresh jalapeños, green peppers. If I’m paying $6.69 for a double bacon cheeseburger, you bet I’m going to pile it on, even if the bacon tastes like charcoal. This foil-wrapped goliath is more like a plate lunch of juicy hamburger steak than a burger, because the picnic bun is like a showercap on a circus elephant. It’s an insult to the elephant’s dignity and everybody still gets wet. But that’s part of show business, and the red-and-white tiled interior of Five Guys is plastered with newspaper and magazine testimonials like a commercial that lasts all the way through lunch. (I didn’t see my 2009 Statesman review there, the one that impolitely mentions a Five Guys lunch will cost you a full day’s calories.)
Fries or rings? Unless you ask for a handful of grilled onions on the side, there’s no circular side option, just Jenga-sized blocks of potato, too hot to touch, a good balance of mottled brickle on the outside, flaked starch on the inside. They’re cut from the 50-pound bags of Idaho potatoes stacked like barricades by the front door. A regular order of fries comes in a soda fountain cup. Starts there, anyway. Five Guys’ mandate must call for them to fill your brown paper bag to three-quarters full with fries, no matter what’s inside. The cup is just a guideline. A regular order is $2.99, and a large clocks in at almost $5, but it’s enough for the table to share. Unless you need the salt, bypass the dusty red distraction of Cajun fries.
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)
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