The second South Sound location of Five Guys Burgers and Fries braved the snow today to open in the Lakewood Towne Center. Franchise owner Cameron Gentry shot me an email earlier and said despite the crummy weather, they’re doing brisk business.
The fast-food style restaurant just made its South Sound debut in Puyallup in November and now the second store in the South Sound chain has opened at 5605 Lakewood Towne Center Blvd., Lakewood.
The Five Guys Burgers and Fries is a fast-food burger restaurant that has popped up all over Washington state, mostly concentrated from Seattle to Renton to Issaquah, with scattered locations north to Bellingham. The chain started in Virginia in 1986 by Jerry and Janie Murrell and their five sons. The chain touts its hallmarks as hand-formed burgers, and fresh-cut fries cooked in peanut oil. The restaurant began franchising in 2003.
Franchisees Cameron Gentry and business partner Dustin Ward plan to open more stores in Pierce, Lewis and Cowlitz counties. Gentry and Ward also are franchisees for Little Caesar restaurants in Southwestern Washington.
I stopped in for a first bite at the Five Guys Puyallup location and the burgers were just as good as the first burger I sampled last October at the Renton Five Guys, which was our closest location before the Puyallup store opened. For a chain, these are great burgers and fries. Hand-formed patties made from fresh beef, hand-cut fresh fries that tasted like they should – potatoes. But will Five Guys topple Pick Quick from my top burger pick in South Sound? Heck no. Five Guys makes a decent burger, though.
Here’s what I found:
The menu: Burgers, burgers and burgers. Four varieties in two sizes. Also, a few dogs, a few veggie sandwiches and grilled cheese.
The protocol: Burgers come bare bones, you pick from a list of 15 ingredients to customize your burger. The toppings are free: Mayo, relish, onions, lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, ketchup, mustard, jalapeno peppers, green peppers, A.1. Steak Sauce, barbecue sauce, hot sauce.
Little Bacon Cheeseburger ($4.99): Little? Yeah, right. Not so little. The burger was juicy with just a bit of griddle char around the edges. The top bun was crunchy grilled and smeared with mayo and relish, the bottom bun held ketchup and mustard. In between was a juicy, if not thin, patty with leaf lettuce, pickles, tomatoes (anemic! I hate tomatoes this time of year), grilled onions, chewy bacon and a gooey blanket of melted American. I liked this burger so much better than the big bacon cheeseburger I tried at the Renton store. That was just too much burger for the bun and it dissolved into a gross mess.
Fries: ($2.98). They were just like they were at the Renton Five Guys. A small paper cup comes filled with thicker-cut skins-on fries that are fried in peanut oil. But look in the bag, and you’ll see an annex order of fries: enough to fill the cup twice. One order of fries feeds two easily, or three fairly. If you’re a fan of fries with a larger surface area, you’ll appreciate these. And the flavor was pure potato. I’m a fan. I also tried the Cajun fries, which came with a nice hit of spice.
Peanut alert: Anyone who has peanut allergies should know that boxes of self-serve peanuts sit in the front entry and fries are cooked in peanut oil.
Five Guys Burgers and Fries
Puyallup: 1002 N. Meridian, 253-446-6183
Lakewood: 5605 Lakewood Towne Center Blvd.