Five Guys has been a Washington, DC area favorite since 1986 when Jerry and Janie Murrell offered sage advice to the four young Murrell brothers:”Start a business or go to college.” The business route won and the Murrell family opened a carry-out burger joint in Arlington, Virginia.
Under the guidance of Jerry and Janie, the Murrell family served only hand-formed burgers cooked to perfection on a grill along with fresh-cut fries cooked in pure peanut oil. The little burger joint quickly developed a cult-like following. Press paid attention. Customers voted the burger “#1” in the metro area.
During the 1980’s and 1990’s the Murrell family perfected their simple system. Five Guys was The Place to get a fresh, juicy burger with all the toppings you could stuff between fresh-baked buns. A fifth brother was born and, as their family grew, so did their business. Four more restaurants with sit-down seating were added to accommodate the growing clientele.
Early in 2003, Jerry and Janie, together with the “Five Guys,” began offering franchise opportunities. In just under 18 months, Five Guys Enterprises sold options for more than 300 units. The overwhelming success of franchising a local restaurant made national news, with articles in trade publications such as Nation’s Restaurant News, Restaurant Business Magazine and the Franchise Times.
Now, 30 years after Five Guys first opened, there are almost 1,500 locations worldwide and another 1,500 units in development. Five Guys continues to receive generous media attention and has grown a cult-like following around the world.
When I was invited to lunch at the well established Bullring Five Guys I was bowled over by the team’s clockwork efficiency and fast paced energy. You order at the counter, and get to choose from a seemingly endless array of toppings, add-ons, and varieties of chips, dips, flavours, hotdogs, burgers – small ones, large ones – and perhaps THE best milkshakes in the country! REALLY…
I was dining with my veggie wife, and so she was keen to explore the chain’s option for her, a Veggie Sandwich (not a veggie burger).
The freshly grilled onions, mushrooms, and green peppers, layered with lettuce and tomatoes, on a soft toasted bun made for mouth watering treat, far superior to other burger brand attempts at wooing the veggie to dine. This combo can be adapted and there’s a host of options to help you on your way. Alternatively you can opt for grilled cheese or a veggie BLT.
I decided to go for the highly acclaimed, now award-winning Bacon Cheeseburger. At Five Guys all the meat is refrigerated freshly ground beef. The patties are succulent and generous portions of beef which melt in the mouth, coupled with some of the most inventive toppings you will come across in any chain burger venue including Jalapeño Peppers, A1 sauce and Grilled Onions, just like you used to get back in the day.
The burger is wrapped in a heat protective foil layer and your number is called out from the kitchen. Smiles a plenty at Five Guys.
When it comes to the fries, you can go all out with some sizzling cajun flavour kicks or keep it cool with Five Guys original. They are pretty awesome, skins on wedges but with a far softer and creamier texture to the cooking process thanks to the delicious peanut oil – good for those watching their cholesterol. Around the restaurant, you’ll find little brown cardboard bowls with an abundance of shell on peanuts to sample – for free. Five Guys makes no apologies, probably the last place for someone with a severe nut allergy but here they are treasured.
As for the milkshakes, a range of flavours and full thickness ice cream milk makes you reminisce about the first time you ever tried a milkshake, and then puts that experience to shame.
You can happily eat and drink for two people for about £25 and you will be completely content at the end of it.
Yes, it’s a bit steeper than your average fast food chain, but this is more like restaurant quality food, so those extra few coins are well worth it.
To find your nearest Five Guys as the restaurant has many wonderful establishments all over the place go to: