Nov 22, 2010

Review: Five Guys - Little Bacon Cheeseburger

Five Guys is a popular burger chain with East Coast origins that not-too-long ago finally landed in California. I finally tried one of their Little Bacon Cheeseburgers recently for $4.69.

Five Guys is often compared to California-based In-N-Out Burger but having tried both, they're really apples to oranges. Except instead of fruit, they both are known by their fans for their excellent burgers.

The differences are many: different buns, their beef patties are different in size and even in grind, the toppings offered are different, with more variety and options offered by Five Guys. Even the cheese is different. In-N-Out is cheaper, but Five Guys serves up a bigger burger. In-N-Out is more of a fast food burger and Five Guys is more of a diner burger.
I liked the simple, open kitchen area.
The way the burger menu works at Five Guys is there's a set price for a hamburger, cheeseburger, bacon burger, and bacon cheeseburger (and their "little" versions where the only difference is one patty instead of the two you regularly get) which are as described and then pick your choices of toppings which are all complimentary.

The standard way to get your toppings is called "All the Way" and comes with mayo, lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, ketchup, and mustard. Other condiments/toppings available upon request are: relish, onions, jalapeno peppers, green peppers, A-1 sauce, barbecue sauce, and hot sauce.
What I liked: I like the beef patty; it was ground to a coarse grind that lends a bit of texture without falling apart. I liked that the bacon was fried crispy and the bun was fairly fresh and soft. The vegetables were fresh. I liked the pickles; they were crisp and crinkle-cut fairly thick.

What I didn't like: There were too many ingredients; I couldn't taste some of them as if they cancelled each other out. I would definitely get less ingredients the next time around. While I liked the crispy texture, the bacon wasn't bacon-y enough; not enough bacon flavor. The bun didn't together very well and started to deteriorate as I ate the burger. I didn't like the cheese; it wasn't melty enough and was too mild in flavor.
Overall, Five Guys does a pretty good burger that allows for a fair amount of tinkering to suit your tastes, but it falls in the premium price range for the fast food industry. The price makes In-N-Out a better value though, as I said before, while both burgers are good, they taste fairly different; you're never going to confuse one with the other, even if you had no sense of taste (literally, not figuratively).

I will point out that Five Guys did win the Zagat survey for "Best Burger" in their 2010 Fast-Food Survey which covered 97 major fast food chains including In-N-Out.

In terms of which joint I would frequent more often, I would pick In-N-Out for a better balance of ingredients, and a better cheese.

Five Guys Restaurant Locator

Nutritional Info - Five Guys Little Bacon Cheeseburger (204g)
Calories - 630 (350 from Fat)
Fat - 39g (Saturated Fat - 18g)
Sodium - 950mg
Carbs - 39.5g (Sugar - 8.5g)
Protein - 31g


  1. Nice review, Q. Despite having lived in DC, I've actually never eaten at 5 Guys. I've heard mixed things about the bacon, and one of the complaints I've heard is about the bun's ability to holdup (and, my God, you only got one patty!). Now that I've had In-N-Out though, I suppose I will HAVE to have Five Guys.

  2. Thanks! I got the "little" version rather than the regular double patty to save room for the fries!

    Haha, you better watch out with In-N-Out; when the one near my house first opened near my house back in high school, my brother gained like 10, 15 pounds from too many Double Doubles.

  3. Adam @ GrubGradeSunday, January 22, 2012

    LOL. Have you seen me? I could use it, especially with winters out here!

  4. Haha, what the hell is winter? We only get two or three seasons here.

  5. They have great hot dogs at Five Guys as well!! :)

  6. I shall have to try them sometime.


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