The other day a few of my friends and I were having a discussion about the best burgers in America: my favorite comes from Jake Moran's in Mundelein, one of my friends thought west coast chain In 'N Out was tops, another made a case for Chicago landmark Billy Goat Tavern (albeit in jest). The fourth member of our debate, however, chose chain with which none of us were familiar: Five Guys Burgers & Fries. Conveniently enough, this reputable Virginia-based chain recently made their way to Chicago. So off we went to check it out.
Five Guys' storefront is decorated in a retro red-and-white-checkered motif, and the walls are adorned with newpaper and magazine clippings singing their praises... so obviously, I had pretty high hopes.
The menu at Five Guys is pretty straightforward: you can get hamburgers, cheeseburgers, and not much else: the real appeal here is that all the toppings are free. They have traditional toppings like lettuce, tomato, and mayo, as well as more interesting options like grilled mushrooms or A-1 steak sauce. Another item of note is that their fries are incredibly fresh, and there was even a dry-erase board indicating which small Idaho town provided the day's potatoes. You can expect to wait for about ten minutes for your food, but there are complimentary in-the-shell peanuts to munch on while you wait.
Upon biting my burger, I was somewhat underwhelmed. The toppings were fresh, but the burger itself seemed to be a little lacking in flavor. The fries, on the other hand, were fantastic. I order mine "cajun style", and the seasoning added to the fries gave them a pleasant, spicy flavor.
Overall, I suppose I would recommend Five Guys. You should expect to pay about $10 for a burger and fries, so budget-conscious students may want to steer clear. Five Guys is located at on Clybourn Avenue between Webster and Armitage, so it's just barely within walking of the Lincoln Park campus.
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