Five Guys Burgers and Fries (Kingston) – Last… but certainly not the least
Over the last 6 months, we’ve seen the rise of several burger/poutine restaurants. It started with Smoke’s. Then Harper’s. Then Poutine Place. The last out of the gate was Five Guys. I am not entirely sure what took them so long but I was certain that they were doomed when they failed to open for the start of the Queen’s fall semester.
I couldn’t be more wrong. Five Guys opened about 1 week ago in a quiet way on a Sunday night. I’ve been two times now (I couldn’t wait… I wanted to see what it was all about) and it has always been packed.
The interior is pretty sterile and they offer free peanuts as a supplement to your meal. I didn’t actually get a chance to eat any peanuts as the burger and fries really stuffed me. There are probably 5 people in the kitchen who don’t need to be there. I anticipate as their operation becomes smoother, we won’t see as many people standing around. The speed of service is pretty good. With 5 orders in front of me, I waited about 7 minutes for my food. It isn’t McDonald’s fast… but it really isn’t slow either. I like the idea that they are grilling up my burger as I order it (versus having the burger sit in its own fat in little trays like at McD’s).
And here it is. This is the Cheeseburger for $7.29. It is a double patty as you can see. If you want a single patty, it costs a mere $4.79. The meat is pretty plain, and I would say it is a bit on the drier side lacking some of that nice beef fattiness that I like in burgers. The bun is the weakest link in this burger. It is flimsy, quite crushed, and really doesn’t hold together. The only benefit of such a flimsy bun is that you can crush it really thin so you can fit more of the burger in your mouth.
If you ask for your burger “All The Way”, you automatically get mayo, lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, ketchup, and mustard. You can also add relish, onions, jalapenos, green peppers, A1 sauce, BBQ sauce, and hot sauce. All toppings are free. The toppings are insane. They obviously don’t care to fit all of your toppings into the burger to make it a clean eating experience but I actually enjoy that. While I will have mayo and tomato juice dripping from my chin and my hands will be moist from beef grease, I can honestly say that I am very happy while I am eating this burger. The mushrooms seem canned and don’t really contribute much to the flavour so I would not get these next time. The cheese is creamy and processed which I think goes perfectly with this type of burger.
This is the Bacon Cheeseburger for $7.79. Again, the bun is pretty awful but for the purposes of a meat delivery system, it serves its purpose. You don’t have to dislocate your jaw to get your mouth around this burger.
Here is the profile shot of the same burger. The bacon is pretty simple, nicely crispy, and has some nice smokey flavour. I really enjoy the fresh jalapenos in their burgers. They are so much hotter and add such a nice punch to each bite compared to the pickled versions you get on Harvey’s burgers or Subway’s subs.
These are the regular fries for $3.19. These are much better than Harper’s fries in my opinion (and much cheaper). They are hot, have their skin on for some nice texture, are crunchy, delicate on the inside, and just slightly sweet. They are also nicely salted without parching your mouth.
This is the inside of the paper bag that they give you with your order. I really like how they number each burger on the outside to correspond to your receipt so if you go with a group of people, you instantly know which one is yours without having to open everyone’s burgers. I also really like how they give you so many fries that it overflows its container. These fries at the bottom of the paper bag remind me of the days when I used to get McD’s with my dad after piano class and we’d finish the fries only to find we had a few more at the bottom of the bag!
I really like Five Guys Burgers and Fries. I think they have a unique niche. They are more elevated than Wendy’s, McD’s, Harvey’s, DQ’s and as such, the cost is slightly more. They aren’t quite as elevated as Harper’s so I don’t think they will truly be in direct competition. For a quick burger and fries, I’d come here without hesitation. If I want to grab a drink, chat with my friends, and eat a burger, I’d go to Harper’s.
Five Guys Burger and Fries, 185 Princess St, Kingston, ON K7L 1B1, 613-544-3333, www.fiveguys.com