Kirbie's Cravings

Five Guys Burger and Fries

If you haven’t yet tried or heard of them, Five Guys is a popular burger chain that originated on the East Coast. It is often compared to In-N-Out for those of us on the West Coast.

However, while In-N-Out remains only on the West (to the despair of my Cali friends who have moved to the East Coast), in the last few years Five Guys has expanded across the US, and now has many locations on the West Coast. I’ve seen quite a few pop up in San Diego this year.

This weekend, we noticed the opening of a new one in the Costa Verde plaza, and decided to stop by for lunch.

There are many things about Five Guys which I think make it so appealing and popular. While it is a fast food shop, the burgers are made to order and completely customizable. There are a few basic burgers to select from, and then you are given a list of toppings you can add (all free). With each topping, you also have the option of choosing a light layer, regular, or extra.

Five Guys also offers the option to place your order online, allowing you to play around with your customization and avoid lines at the restaurant.

While you wait for your burger, they have roasted peanuts for you to munch on. One of the features the Future husband (“FH”) was really impressed with was the high tech soda machine. The soda choices are all on a touch screen, and rather than having several dispensers, there is only one dispenser pouring out the soda of your choice.

All these different features of Five Guys may be a little daunting and confusing for someone without prior knowledge of how Five Guys operates.  And by “someone,” I mean people like FH. This post is actually about our second trip. FH first noticed that Five Guys had opened up while running errands and decided to pop in and get a burger without me. He got it to go and then was yelling “OH MY GOD!” when I opened the door to greet him, making me think that something horrible had happened. Then he shoved an oily brown bag in my face, and I figured it wasn’t something tragic.  On his first visit, he didn’t know about the peanuts, waited in line for a while (peak lunch hour), and ordered a burger without most of the toppings or any sauce and then wondered why his burger was so plain. I couldn’t believe it. So we went back again the next day, and this time, we got things right.

First, we placed our order online so we could properly peruse our topping options. After we placed our order, we were given a time estimate (about 7 minutes).

When we got there, our order was ready, but we got some complimentary peanuts first.


FH ordered a Hamburger with “Everything” which is actually not all the toppings, but rather all the toppings in written in black text.

I decided to do a lot more customization. Since we placed our orders online, I didn’t feel any pressure at the register for being so picky and I got to take my time deciding on my options. I chose A-1 sauce and mustard but chose the “light” option because I hate soggy buns. This customization ended up being a perfect for me because FH’s burger was definitely soggy from his regular amount of ketchup and mustard. I also got extra grilled mushrooms (because I love mushrooms), grilled onions, lettuce, and tomatoes.

The regular hamburger comes with two meat patties. If you only want one patty, you should order the “little hamburger.”

We also got an order of the cajun fries. They were crunchy, a little spicy, but generally “meh” in my opinion. We got a regular order, which came in this cup, except that there were a lot more fries that didn’t fit in the cup that just were sitting in the bag. So the actual amount was about double this. I wish they had just given us a bigger container because the fries and spicy powder really greased up the bag.

Overall, I thought my burger was pretty good. I wish they would grill their buns like In-N-Out, but other than that I enjoyed it. It’s not necessarily a mind blowing good burger, but I think it’s a good fast food burger option when compared to McDonald’s, Burger King, etc. I really love the ability to order online (they even have an ordering app for smart phones) and I like how you can customize your burger.

Here is the complete menu:

Five Guys Burgers and Fries
(multiple locations)
8650 Genesee Ave., Suite 242
San Diego, CA 92122

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12 comments on “Five Guys Burger and Fries”

  1. OMG OMG OMG…. That’s near my branch office! Next time I’m down there for work, I can get a Five Guys fix! It’s been so long since I’ve been back (Carson is our nearest location) and Husband has been asking to go back again in the interest of “making sure it was as good as we remember”.

    When we had it, we both agreed it was better than In-n-Out but I’m starting to waffle again. In-n-out is a prettier burger to look at and very tasty and I liked the grilled buns too but I also like how Five Guys has a lot of topping options (BACON!!) and uses sesame buns. I do think Five Guys’ fries are better. We loved the cajun but I like how In-n-Out’s is “healthier”. But Five Guys’ loses points with me for not having shakes…

    I think the greasy bag is for effect…not sure if it’s a good or bad one…

    I love those new-fangled Coke machines….

    • You know I keep waffling which one I prefer too. I like the grilled buns of In-n-out, the sauce, and the shakes (was so sad Five Guys doesn’t have shakes). But the bun is thicker at Five guys, I liked the bacon, the grilled mushrooms, etc, the customization of sauces, and that the regular burger has two patties (I always feel the In-n-out patty can get a little lost after the toppings). Definitely prefer the Five Guys fries over In-n-out. I’m going to have to get both at the same time and try them. lol.

  2. we have one right down the street here in Atlanta. I found them to be overly expensive for the soggy buns and taste of the meat. I think we’re actually paying for the peanuts. If I’m going to pay over $5.00 for a hamburger I want it to be a good size and have a really good bun.

    • That’s too bad that yours was soggy. I think if you customize it to have less sauce you might avoid a soggy bun because I was able to when I did the “light” sauce. I’ve found that a lot of places end up with soggy buns. Even when I’m paying $8-10 for a restaurant burger.

  3. I read that Five Guys is looking for a location in Poway. I’m wondering if the soon to be opened In-N-Out in Poway has spawned this. And on top of that, Sonic is coming to Poway too some time in Spring of 2012! Sounds like there’s a burger crawl in Poway when all 3 are open.

    • Oh wow, FH will be excited to hear this since he works there. He told me about the In-N-Out. He actually thought it was already opened and went to get a burger only to find out it’s not yet opened. I saw another Five Guys opening up in Encinitas.

  4. Costa Verde is a lot closer to me than the other SD locations, so I’ll have to give them a try. The customization is a good idea – I don’t like a lot of sauces and I love grilled mushrooms and extra lettuce and tomato.

    I would be like FH so thanks for the descriptions on optimizing my future visit!

    • Yeah, the other locations were kind of far so I didn’t bother to try them. But when I saw the one n Costa Verde I was really excited to check it out. I’ve read a couple of bad reviews from other locations, so maybe each one is a little different or maybe I got lucky. But we went two days in a row and I liked both burgers I ate.

  5. Ah man is this next to the star bucks in costa verde? I work so close. You’re the first person that didn’t have a ‘meh’ remark. I was so sure to read a strike four. Seems to live the five guys experience fully you need to load up on the toppings. I know many burger purists that are against that but I’ll give it a try. Thanks for sharing Kirbie!

    • Yes it’s the one next to Starbucks. You know I read so many negative reviews too, so I wasn’t that excited to try it out. But I was pleasantly surprised. I think it’s a good option for a fastfood type burger.

  6. We recently got a Five Guys here in Omaha, NE and my boyfriend (and seemingly every other guy!) is obsessed with this place! I personally have yet to venture into the store but whenever my boyfriend wants a good, indulgent burger, this is where he goes!