Five Guys (see their website) touts their “famous Burgers and Fries,” but my family and I actually prefer their “dogs and goobers.” On a recent warm Halloween day we sat at one of the outdoor tables of the Charlottesville, Virginia eatery and enjoyed the passing parade of costumed and non-costumed people, while we waited a short time for our lunch. A nearby fountain splashed prettily in the autumn sunshine.
The restaurant has a very limited menu. You go up to a counter and order a burger or weinie. They have Hamburgers, Cheeseburgers, Little Hamburgers, Little Cheeseburgers; and 100% Kosher Hot Dogs, Cheese or Bacon Dogs, or Chili Dogs. For the cheesitarians they offer Grilled Cheese. For the vegetarians, they sell the Veggie. Fried-in-peanut oil fries are available, Five Guys Style or Cajun. Soft drinks (with free refills) are available. The neatest thing is the fact that you can select a bunch of different toppings for your entree (though a couple of the items my daughter requested were left off). When your order is ready, your number is called.
The difference between the “Burgers” and “Little Burgers” is whether you get one or two patties. I ordered a Little Hamburger ($2.69) and our son Jonathan chose the Little Cheeseburger ($3.19) and Regular Fries ($1.89). (As you guessed, they have Large Fries [$3.79], too.)
The burgers were good, but to our tastes, certainly not the “best all-American burgers” or “no better [anywhere],” as Five Guys' cups proclaim. Just in recent years, we have had better burgers at Mandina's in New Orleans; River City Café in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; and at Herron's in Duck, North Carolina. However, the aforementioned places all charge more for their burgers than does this chain; the Five Guys' are reasonably priced.
Five Guys' Kosher Hot Dog.
My hamburger was enhanced with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, mushrooms, green pepper, jalapeno peppers, mustard, and hot sauce. Jonathan had similar condiments. Fried onions, ketchup, A-1 Sauce, and Bar-B-Q Sauce are also available. Vinegar is provided for dipping the oily, but tasty, fries.
You can order any or all of the fun toppings to go on the hot dogs. I sampled my husband Henry's Kosher frank and it was excellent — good quality meat; nice, clean flavor; and the toppings made it altogether special. Henry especially loved the fresh tomato slices on the frank. Daughter Sarah was satisfied with her Cheese Dog.
If you eat inside the little restaurant, you can have free roasted peanuts.
The Charlottesville Five Guys is one of a chain of restaurants started by, ta-da: five guys! Now five sons, and a father, actually. (See their history.)
Towns need places like Five Guys — unpretentious; not too expensive; open long hours; with predictable, decent food. We plan to return to this useful eatery.
Little Cheeseburger and Fries.
Copyright © 2005 Patricia B. Mitchell.