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Nom Nom Nom – Review: Five Guys

So I’ve done a review of a sushi place that is only in this area. And I’ve done a review of the various buffets that can only be found in Las Vegas. Hopefully this week’s review will be more pertinent to those of you who aren’t living in any of these specific areas. I’ve chosen to go in a different direction for this week. I chose to review a “fast-food” restaurant. But don’t worry, it’s not the fast-food as you think it is, like Mickey D’s, Burger King, or Wendy’s. I am here this week to give you my review of the famous Five Guys!

Five Guys
Dedham Mall
170 Providence Highway
Dedham, MA 02026

Review Date: June 2010

So before I get flamed here or being thrown at with glass bottles or tomatoes for doing a fast food review, let me just say that Five Guys has received rave reviews from some of the very well-known sources in the nation, say ZAGAT Survey for one. According to their website (and apparently inside their stores too, plastered all over the entrance to the place), it has been ZAGAT Survey rated every year starting from 2001 to 2010. Washingtonian Magazine has named it the “‘Readers’ Choice’ #1 Burger” every year since 1999! And if that isn’t enough, even our very own President Obama made it his choice for food one day last year. So if President Obama’s eating there, you know that this place is somehow worth a try.

When I found out that a Five Guys actually existed in our local area a few weeks ago, I just had to go try it. I’ve heard about the hype for this place from all things – my Facebook News Feed. People were raving about it on their statuses and posting pictures of the food which eventually would be visible on my News Feed itself one day. So, that made me get curious and I had to try it myself to see (or taste, in this case) what the hype was all about.

We only have two Five Guys stores in the state: one in Dedham and the other in Randolph. So we went to the closer one in Dedham. (The trek to this store was quite an adventure to find, but more about that later.) So we arrived at the place and mind you, to be brutally honest, I hadn’t done any research of this place prior to our trek, so the preconceived expectation in my mind was that we would be arriving at some sit-down restaurant. Well, it technically IS a sit-down restaurant but for some reason, I was expecting it more to be like a TGIFriday’s or an American Joe’s Bar and Grill type not a McDonald’s or Wendy’s type. Surprise! Oh ok, oh well, that’s just what the outside (and inside) looks like anyways, can’t judge a book by its cover, so now since we’re here, time to try the food to see how it really is. When we walked in, it was a bit overwhelming. Not overwhelmed with the amount of toppings we could add onto our burgers but overwhelmed with the amount of blown-up newspaper headlines, articles, and reviews from all around the country raving about this place. Ok, I thought, this could be a good sign. If so many people liked it, it has to be good right?

When it was my turn to order, I only had two choices: burger or hot dog. Naturally since this was boasted as a burger joint, I went for a hamburger. Now, here comes one of the parts that makes Five Guys different from the other fast-food burger joints in town: the toppings in which you could put on your burgers. The amount of toppings you could put on is a good amount and the best part of it is, no extra charge for the toppings! Woo-frickin-hoo! The kinds of toppings you could put on are as follows:

  • Mayo
  • Relish
  • Onions
  • Lettuce
  • Pickles
  • Tomatoes
  • Grilled Onions
  • Grilled Mushrooms
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Jalapeno Peppers
  • Green Peppers
  • A-1 Sauce
  • Bar-B-Q Sauce
  • Hot Sauce

My double-patty mega-stacked burger with "the works." See it oozing with juiciness? Ok, maybe not.

Since I didn’t want to think too much and itemize all my toppings individually, I decided to go for the “works” which means I went with all the toppings (well, except for mayo, cause I don’t really like mayo). And I also ordered the regular fries too, since they were apparently famous for that as well. When my number was called and I picked up my order, I noticed my burger was cutely wrapped in aluminum foil ala Wendy’s. Later I found out that this piece of foil is a necessity while eating the burger. So I unwrapped my burger and the initial view of it didn’t look too appealing to me: the burger buns looked squished, probably due to the wrapping, and my burger was dripping and oozing, but that was probably due to the burger being mega-stacked with two beef patties instead of one as usual and my ordering of all the toppings… heh. Whatever, looks is not important here right, just as long as to how it tastes… So here goes, my first bite… Hmm… juicy. The hamburger patties are kinda juicy, compared to the dryness of the “meat” they use at some of the other fast-food chains. Five Guys boast that the beef patties that they use are “hand-patted,” never frozen, and “fresh” — but no, I couldn’t hear the cows mooing at the slaughterhouse in the back. Anyways, the burger wasn’t too bad. With each bite, I could taste every topping and since I ordered every topping, how could I not have taste them, unless my tongue and taste buds weren’t working. And with each bite, all the toppings begin to try to ooze out and slide off my burger. Here is where I found the foil to be useful. If you’re going to order the “mega-stacked” burger, then I recommend you to eat it with two hands, unwrap half of the foil, and eat it from the top down so that all the toppings don’t automatically drip into your lap. In less than 5 minutes, my burger was entirely engulfed into my stomach. Nom nom nom!

Five Guys cajun-style fries from the Chicago store. Image Credit: Legna

Despite what people say about the fries, however, I wasn’t too fond of them. First of all, my fries came out to be kinda… limp. That could be I had my fries sitting in my brown paper bag until I finished my burger and the condensation could have made them soggy, but I don’t believe I was the only one who had this problem. But Five Guys boast that their fries are made from fresh-cut potatoes with no cholesterol and with…


Yes, so if you or your kids have peanut allergies, you have been warned. They fry their fries in peanut oil. And they also have boxes have real peanuts all over the place, for other patrons’ enjoyment if they should choose, ala Texas Roadhouse. Anyways… I like my fries to be kinda crispy ala Wendy’s so I wasn’t a big fan of them. Don’t get me wrong: I love the big, thick, wedge-shaped, “hand-cut” fries too but just not from here. A little later, we had ordered the cajun fries just to see how those tasted and although they were still a bit limp to my tastes, these were inherently much better than the regular fries, probably in part cause they had more of a kick to them, in flavor. So if you were to get the fries, then I would recommend the cajun-style ones.

The thing that gets me the most about this place is the pricing. Compared to the other fast-food chains around, the food is pretty pricey. There is no dollar menu nor extra-value meals. The burger by itself will cost around $7 and so if you order the fries and a drink, that can probably run you up to close to around $10. You can get all the toppings you want and free refills on drinks though. Haha. If you want to go a little cheaper, I guess you could opt for the hot dogs they have on the menu instead of a burger. This place might taste a little bit better than, say McDonald’s, but to me, I don’t think it’s worth it. It reminds me of another franchise chain store: Spike’s Junkyard Dogs, except Spike’s specialty is hot dogs, not burgers. But vice versa, Spike’s also serve burgers too and with fries and drink, that could run you up to about $10 as well. For fast-food style burgers, I rather go to Wendy’s and pay half the price to get all that stuff. To me, Five Guys doesn’t taste that much better than Wendy’s anyways, but that’s just me. With that said, here is my breakdown:

Money: $$ (out of 4)

Good date place? Well, probably not, unless you want to be called a cheapskate and don’t want to see your date ever again.

Grade: B

Would I return? (Yay or nay): Nay, I probably wouldn’t come back here by myself but if I was in a group, and the majority hadn’t tried it before and wanted to try it, I can’t complain and would just tag along.

Anyways, I told you we had quite the adventure finding the Dedham store that one time so here goes: with all the smartphones we had in the car at the time, we looked up where the nearest Five Guys is on Google and found out that there is one in Dedham, located in the “Dedham Mall,” right on that main route, Providence Highway or Rt. 1 as it is called. If you know that area, then you know that the “Dedham Mall” does not mean a big commercial conglomerate building at all where all the young teenagers have nothing else better to do but to hang out there but it’s actually one of those outside strip malls. Anyways, we had one “real” GPS underestimate the route and tell us that we had arrived at our location when we were probably still a mile off from the place. We followed the GPS and started to scratch our heads… “hmm I don’t see it… where is this place?” And we had another smartphone GPS with Google Maps built-in tell us that driving in the opposite direction to the next town over in Sharon was the correct direction… but good thing the compass in my head instinctively told me otherwise, “…but that direction is to Sharon! The address says it’s in Dedham!” So we did what we hadn’t done yet and decided to drive further down the other direction but still staying within the right town of course and ta-freakin-da, that’s how we found it. And to all honest truth, I think the reason for all the confusion, at least to me, is the fact that we had no notion what this place looked like at all and I a.) refused to believe that this place could be located in a strip mall of all places and b.) I was actually looking out for more a big sit-down type restaurant, not a small sit-down type of fast food joint like McDonald’s and such. Boy talk about a surprise when we finally got there.

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