I have been contemplating this idea for a while now; this notion has been boiling so long it is spilling over. What is the difference between living life asking questions, and spending your days believing answers?
I want to preface today by saying how awesome it is writing in RAW (that’s a photography pun for you photogs). I took up this year long project for two reasons: to learn how to shoot photography and to get … Continue reading
This idea has been twirling around my head for a while now; reflecting on my short existence and the existence humans in general. This eternal struggle has caught me in the crossfire. When is enough, enough? I’ve thought about this on a variety of levels; what do I want with my life, how should I strive for it, and when should I be satisfied. Continue reading
I posted a lunch break picture a couple weeks ago, and it seemed like people enjoyed looking at food. It could have also been that it was my third day on this blog and people were exploring the rest of the site. Either way, I wanted to post up another ‘Lunch Break’ and maybe even make it an ongoing deal from time to time. This is going to work like a review as well because there are some things I want to get off my chest (this is going to be longer than normal). If you have bad words about Five Guys, please keep reading so I can reestablish a positive perspective for you, and so I can still accept you as a follower. The setting of the establishment, the quality of food going into your stomach and the amount of joy you will experience from eating here are the main areas you need to focus on when talking about Five Guys.
I was introduced to Five Guys by word of mouth from a buddy of mine in NY. He just mentioned the name Five Guys and I inquired about it some more. Just me asking a question about it put him in shock. I immediately understood his passion for this chain restaurant. The first time my stomach was introduced to Five Guys was during a trip to Charleston. We were looking for something cheap and quick for lunch/dinner and we stopped in. When you enter a Five Guys, you will see a lot of people, in the open kitchen, busy at whatever station they are assigned. They always have someone walking around cleaning up too. It is a pretty clean and open restaurant. You will also notice a huge line of potato sacks. They usually form a low corridor meant for new patrons to walk down to arrive at the register. Another thing to note is the large crates of peanut oil. It might seem weird to have these boxes strategically placed in the store, but when you see the open container they are next to it starts to make sense.
In every Five Guys you will find a couple peanut stations. Good old fashion baseball stadium peanuts. They are sitting there, exposed to the world, waiting to be snatched up. Do so. They are free, and they are delicious. I have a theory, and I haven’t looked into this at all, but when you eat the peanuts before your burger there seems to be this sensory explosion that occurs and the burgers actually taste better… and that is saying a lot because of their natural quality.
One complaint some people have about this restaurant is the price. They see Five Guys and immediately think fast food. I would have to place Five Guys a notch above fast food and a notch below a “sit-down” restaurant. You cannot order a burger and expect to see it in 2 minutes or less. I mentioned earlier that the kitchen is open, and you can see everything going on. I mean everything. You can see the fresh red slabs of meat being slapped on the grill and that initial sizzle sparks your senses. You can watch them wait, and wait, and wait until just the right moment when they flip the patty, smash it down with their flattener and then allow the second side to sizzle, and cook. The burgers are never well done, and they are never rare. They have learned from practice and precision how to make the burgers just the right level. This is where your money is going, into the quality.
Another important factor to note is the toppings provided. When you purchase your $5 burger you start off with two beef patties and cheese. You pay a little extra for some bacon, but we will stick with the free topics. Once you choose which base burger you want you are free to add any and all of the toppings they have listed: ketchup, mayo, mustard, pickles (the normal free items). Do you want to make it a “deluxe burger?” well just add some tomatoes, onions or lettuce. Pretty average so far, so let’s add more: grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, jalapenos, relish, BBQ sauce, sliced green peppers, or even A1 steak sauce. All of these are complimentary. Because you have decided to spend 5 minutes of your life and $5 from your wallet, they grace you with these gifts. This also allows you to create a unique burger each time you come to Five Guys. Quality is important at this restaurant, but burgers are only one side of the story; enter the fries.
You saw those large stacks of potatoes and you saw the peanut oil. Here comes the culmination of those bounties. When you order a side of fries, regular(large) or large(extra large), you are getting high quality potato sticks brought to you by the current potato farm (which is posted right near the register). I noted that regular is more like a large. When you order these fries you are given enough to feed a small family. They give you a regular cup and then some more. This brings me to the joy you feel eating here.
After you place your order you are given a number. You use this time to get your drink, get some free peanuts and find a seat. The waiting starts. The anticipation begins to grow. You don’t know if you are eating the peanuts to quell your eager stomach or to fight back the nerves created from the anxiety of waiting. “Ticket number 75!” the Lunch Bag Technician calls out. You look down at your receipt. “Crap, number 76.” You wait some more. Your foot begins to shake as you crack into some more peanuts, hoping you won’t spoil your appetite. “Ticket number—“you don’t even hear the number and you start to rise out of your chair and head to the front, “—76!” You are there with open hands ready to accept the greased up brown bag from the generous person. You go to your seat, sit down and take a deep breath. This massive brown bag sitting in front of you looks like it is ready to explode. You quickly open the top. A huge gust of “that fry smell” overtakes your nostrils. Your appetite is back. You think there is a mistake, because you can’t see your burger. The bag is filled with fries. “But I ordered a regular.” You think about getting up to correct the mistake, but your body tells you to stay put. This is how it’s supposed to be, everything is just fine. You pull out the overloaded cup of fries and you see the glimmer of the tin foil on the bottom of the bag. “My burger!” The heat from the freshly made fries is actually keeping your beefy delight warm. You free your burger from its dark cave and you plop it on the table. You slowly open it up to reveal the beauty. The cheese is sticking to the foil, creating yellow, stringy webs. You are hit by the second gust of freshly cooked meat and condiments. You grab the burger with both hands, making sure not to drop anything (a futile task), and you bring the steaming creation to your mouth. With a huge bite you rip into the beefy goodness and the flavor explosion occurs. Mayo, beef, green peppers, relish, BBQ sauce; It’s all there. You feel a tear building up at the corner of your eye. You know you aren’t sad though, this my friend, is a tear of joy. You free one hand from the magnetic forces created by the burger and grab some fries. Dipping them into your cup of ketchup for some lubrication you stuff them into your mouth. You look around to make sure people aren’t looking at you funny. No one cares, because everyone else is doing the same thing as you. The joy of the patrons radiates and the restaurant begins to glow a bright white. Is this Heaven? No, but close.
You may criticize the large portions, the price, the time it takes to get your “fast food,” or even the farm style openness of the restaurant, but where else can you find a place where everyone in the building is smiling ear to ear, in complete bliss. Do I hold a bias towards Five Guys over other chains? Yes, but that is only because I have experienced other places, and I have experienced Five Guys. As long as I can digest meat, I will prefer the culinary prowess Five Guys holds over the rest. So go online, find the closest Five Guys, make a day trip, fly to another state, or go for a walk. It doesn’t matter, just find this establishment and enjoy.