"Why would anyone go to McDonald's?" piped one of my friends as we bit happily into our juicy, delicious burgers from Five Guys. We had vowed for weeks to make this pilgrimage - a bunch of city folks from Cambridge driving all the way to Dedham to try this much hyped burger place.
What we had heard before going . . .
"I hear the fries are really good! Hand cut!"
"It's like In-N-Out"
"It's really cheap! And the portions are humongous!"
In general, the rumors are pretty close to the truth. Hands down, this is the BEST bang for buck you can get for a hamburger. There's not even a close second. The single hamburgers (called "little hamburgers") are only $3.39 and the double patties are $4.49. Add cheese for an additional 60 cents and bacon for 20 more cents. You can add unlimited toppings for free. Toppings include mayo, relish, onions, pickles, tomatoes, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, ketchup, mustard, jalapeno peppers, green peppers, A-1 sauce, BBQ sauce, and hot sauce.
The place definitely reminds me of In-N-Out. It's probably the closest thing to In-N-Out on the East coast. The decor is similar - the 1950's red and white look. The fries are hand cut from potatoes, and all the ingredients are very fresh.
A couple differences. Five Guys has a lot more topping choices than In-N-Out, even after taking into account all those secret menu items at In-N-Out (animal style, protein style, etc.). The meat patties at Five Guys are noticeably bigger - maybe 25% bigger? They are not as flat as the patties from In-N-Out.
It's hard for me to say which one is better. I do love the animal style burger at In-N-Out. I guess you can come close to replicating that here by getting mayo, hot sauce, and grilled onions. Maybe I'll try that next time. I ordered a little hamburger with jalapenos this time, so it's hard to do a head to head comparison. Some members of our party said they liked Five Guys better because of the variety of toppings and larger portions. I'm not sure. I really like both. I can't decide.
From top left, clockwise: jalapeno burger with hot sauce, free roasted peanuts, cheeseburger, large fries
In any event, this place is a winner. The burgers have great flavor, and all the ingredients are really fresh. I thought my plain little hamburger with jalapeno peppers was delicious. My friend got the jalapeno burger with hot sauce, lettuce, and tomatoes. She loved it.
The fries come in generous portions. Our table of 7 people split 2 large orders of fries, and it was plenty. Try the spicy fries and the regular fries. These fries are bigger fries, more like steak fries. This also differs from In-N-Out, which serves skinny fries. I thought the fries were OK, but not amazing. I also don't think In-N-Out's fries are all that, so perhaps I just don't like hand cut fries?? My favorite fries are still the rosemary truffle fries from Garden At the Cellar.
Another fun bit is that there's a big bin of free peanuts for everyone. So, while you are waiting to get your food, you can quash those hunger pangs with some nice salty roasted peanuts. It's really a nice touch, and it just makes you like the restaurant that much more.
I highly recommend this place. If you are at Gillette Stadium for a Patriots or Revolution game (or a U2 concert, lol), definitely go to Patriot's Place and eat at the Five Guys there. It's right there near the stadium (walking distance!) and taste sooo much better and is sooo much cheaper than stadium food. Booo . . I wish I'd know. Check out my limpy TINY chicken sandwich from the stadium (the chicken does not even take up half the bun!!!!) for $7.50.
Definitely check this place out! I really wish it would come to Cambridge!