3208 B Guadalupe
National chain comes to Austin. Started in the DC area in 1986. Highly regarded by venerable burger blogs Hamburger America and Hamburger a Day.
Mighty Fine, er, I mean Not Bad
Original Review Date: 11/22/2008
Rating: +1/+3(Not bad)
I've been looking forward to the opening of Austin's first Five Guys after reading positive reviews on some national burger blogs (A Hamburger Today and Hamburger America). They wasted no time in getting up and running (unlike the disappointing Mooyah, which took forever to be constructed).
This is a setup very much like the other newest additions to the burger scene here--Mooyah and Mighty Fine. Red and white color scheme. Emphasis on fresh everything (fresh never frozen beef, fresh-cut fries, etc). Prominently displayed produce and burger infrastructure items stacked in the open around the restaurant (e.g., at Five Guys, sacks of potatos form the barrier at the entry where you line up to wait to order, at Mighty Fine, the walls are lined with vats of mustard and ketchup, sacks of onions are stacked throughout the dining area, etc.). Wide array of free toppings (at Mooyah and Five Guys at least, not so much at Mighty Fine). For me, Mooyah falls flat (see my review). Mighty Fine has grown on me with their slightly thicker burgers and the thin fries, and Five Guys seems to have it down as well. One reason I liked my Five Guys experience is the fries--I like their type of thick cut fry, and they give you a very generous portion even if you order the regular size serving, and they are cooked crispy (unlike the soggy ones at Mooyah). I watched as the expediter guy who put the bags together dumped an extra scoop or two of fries into every bag he made. The bonus scoop was about the equivalent of a regular order.
As for the burger, it's good as far as a thin patty griddle burger can go. Nothing outstanding, but it was tasty and juicy enough.
One odd note is that they apparently only cook the burgers well done, although as they put it, "juicy and well done" (usually an impossible achievement). Their website proclaims "our opinion is that our burgers taste best cooked juicy and well done". They do end up juicy, and the patties are thin enough that requesting any specific doneness would be silly (unlike Mighty Fine, which serves slightly thick patties). I suppose the grease factor on the griddle keeps things moist.
All in all, a good fast food burger experience. It was very crowded, and parking is difficult, but there is still construction going on at the restaurant (it just opened in November), and there are some dumpsters eating up chunks of the parking lot, so when the construction is finished, it should open up more space in the restaurant and in the parking lot. Anyway, you can munch on the free peanuts while you wait.
Now we just need to get an In-N-Out here...
Arboretum Update: Made it to the new Five Guys at the Arboretum. Overall an OK burger and fries, but nothing outstanding. Burger kind of bland really, and the fries, while ample (with the extra dump in the bag), are just OK as well.