First, "Five Guys Burgers" as the name suggests, specializes in hamburgers. Their menu also includes fries, hot dogs and sodas but little else. Judging from our single experience yesterday, 5 Guys got extremely high grades from us. The burgers were tasty, the overly generous portion of fries were great and the service was friendly and efficient. Their gimmick is that the food is cooked to order so there was a 10 minute wait.
To occupy the customers, there are complementary ballpark peanuts on every table. This is important because the place is stark. The white tiled walls are covered with magazine reproductions of positive articles and lists of awards they have won, (i.e. #1 burger according to Washingtonian Magazine 2001-2007). The rest of the "decorations" are limited to piled sacks of potatoes and boxes of ballpark peanuts. Therefore 5 Guys' ambiance is generic to say the least.Two cheeseburgers, one large fries and 2 sodas were $16.50.
It should be noted that I went to a "Rate 5 Guys Web-site" and almost all the comments were a mixture of good and bad with a heavier slant towards the negative.
If you never heard of the place, it was founded in 1986 by Janie and Jerry Murrell and their five sons (guys) in Arlington Virginia. Most popular in the Washington D.C.-Baltimore area, there were 205 locations along the east coast from Florida to Connecticut, as of October 2007. Plus, an additional 1000 more are either being built or are in the planning stage. The company CLAIMS ! that each store does a million dollars a day in revenue?
Next door is the Pretzel Factory.
It sounds oxymoronic that a STORE could actually survive selling only pretzels (and pretzels with little hot dogs inside).
I must say that I am prejudice because I never have found much allure in a pretzel. My few associations with them have been at or after a sporting event. They are usually hard, tasteless dough with salt on them. So I didn't even want to dignify THE PRETZEL FACTORY with my presence. Alas, I caved-in and went. To my surprise there was a line out the door to buy what I was certain would be crap!
While waiting, the enthusiastic chatter among the waitees made it sound like we were going to be eating a kingly feast.
I was almost swayed when a lady said, "I had them cater my party."
Another women said, "Oh, they are to die for when you get them warm from the oven."
Well at three for a dollar...I now wish I had my dollar back! My warm straight from the oven pretzel was just as tasteless as any other crappy pretzel I ever had...maybe less salty...but in this case, that's NOT meant as a compliment...at least that way it would taste like salt!
I understand that Philly people love their pretzels with mustard and/or other dunkable sauces but I know crap when I eat it and unlike 5 Guys, I doubt this place will be around for the long haul