Five Guys is NYC’s Closest Thing to In N Out Burger; Manager Responds to Friday’s Complaints


“Burger was decent, but no way in hell worth the wait,” seems to be the theme of a Friday that was supposed to be the “Grand Opening” of Five Guys on 55th. btw. 5+6th Ave.  I was on a plane to San Francisco on Friday, and missed out on all the excitement, meaning that my Five Guys experience was limited to Thursday’s surprise opening, where the wait time peaked at around 30 minutes.  Not so on Friday, where burger “Early Adopters” were forced to wait over an hour and a half for what is supposed to be fast food.  Comments flooded in, and even Eater covered the madness.

I was pretty angry to have to wait 30 minutes on Thursday, so I can’t even imagine what Friday’s customers were feeling. 

Over the weekend, I got this email from Sal Rincione, the Executive VP of Operations for Five Guys NYC (and “Manager” who was deserved a “big punch in the puss” according to some of Midtown Lunch’s readers):

It was utter madness [Friday]! I would like to go on record saying how much we appreciate the support and the AWESOME turnout.  We humbly apologize for the long wait.

Five Guys normally does call in and faxed orders but due to the high volume [on Friday], we obviously will limit the amount of call in’s and faxed orders we will take [going forward].  Please let everyone know that if you fax in an order, unless you get a VERBAL Confirmation from either myself or my staff, assume we are not preparing the order. Unfortunately, we just dont have enough square footage to handle all of the walk in’s along with the called and faxed orders.

My #1 goal is to make the BEST BURGERS IN NYC! Thanks :)


What I think of the burgers & fries, plus some meat porn, after the jump…


No food is worth a 90 minute wait, especially during Midtown Lunch, where we’re all competing with co-workers who take 22 minute “Cafe Metro” lunches… but that being said, from a pure food standpoint, Five Guys is the lunchtime answer for anyone wishing there was an In N Out Burger in NYC.


Just like In N Out, they serve a thin fast food style patty, made from 100% fresh (not frozen beef).  Just like In N Out, the fries are fresh cut, from real potatoes- with one difference; the Five Guys’ version are thicker than the shoestrings you get at In N Out.  There were some complaints about the fries, but I’m guessing that those complaints stemmed from bad batches caused by the crowds.  I’ve heard some people say that you get a “rediculous” amount of fries, and that two people can share a small order.  Fat guys should ignore this advice.  A small order is more like a ”sensible” amount of fries for two people to share… and if you are walking into Five Guys in the first place, you are probably not looking for a “sensible” amount of food.  The large fry (pictured above) is probably a “sensible” amount for three people too share.  If you like to stuff yourself, ignore all this and order your own fries.

Aside from cheese, all toppings are free- including fresh cut jalapenos, grilled onions and grilled mushrooms- a huge bonus, that you normally pay out the nose for in Midtown.  For fans of In N Out looking for substitution, the biggest differnce is going to be the price… Five Guys is more expensive- but what do you expect?  We’re in NYC.

The biggest complaint I’ve heard about Five Guys (aside from Friday’s lines) is the fact that the burgers are well done.  This complaint is silly.  Nobody ever complains that In N Out Burger’s patties are “well done”.  Why?  Because the patty is too thin.  It’s impossible not to cook them all the way through, and you either like thin pattied fast food burgers or you don’t.   Five Guys’ patty falls into that In N Out Burger category.  Two very thin patties, stacked on top of each other.  If you’re into it, you’ll like Five Guys.  If not, there’s always Good Burger, Burger Joint, Carnegie John’s, and The Blarney Stone to fall back on.  (And for now, the wait it probably shorter at those places!).   I love a juicy Medium Rare burger, but I love In N Out Burger too.  Two totally different animals. 

For me, I think Five Guys might end up being relegated to Burger Joint status… a once in awhile treat on days when it’s slow at work.  As for the wait, I’m guessing Friday was an anomaly, and 30 minutes will probably be the standard wait time.  It will probably never be “fast food”, but now that I think about it, neither is In N Out Burger.  Try walking into one of those places at lunch time on the West Coast.  It takes 5 minutes to order.  30 minutes before you get your food.  But man is it worth it…

OPERATION “HOW IS FIVE GUYS DOING?”: I can’t go to Five Guys every day to check on their progress, but I know alot of people are interested in seeing if the lines and wait times die down.  So, if you go to Five Guys at all over the next few weeks, please comment below about your experience.  I’m interested to see if it starts to improve, and I’m sure it will be greatly appreciated by Midtown Lunch readers interested in checking this place out… thanks!


  • I go to the gym at lunch, so I tend to eat later, around 2 or 2:30. Usually by this time the line is only a couple people long, which is great.

    While not even close to rare, I would definitely say the burgers are juicy and delicious. My only complaint is that calling in an order never seems to speed things up. I call in, show up 10 minutes later, and still end up waiting another 10.

  • Mad a 10 block trek in blizzard conditions to try this for the first time. Burger was good. I am a firm believer that rare-medium is reserved for steaks, so i much enjoyed this well done burger. They forgot to put the fries on my order, but ended up giving them to me for free. Fries were a bit limp, but can’t really complain about anything free.

  • Good burger – juicy for being cooked through. The fries (standard issue, not the Cajun ones) were underwhelming.

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    I’m hooked on La Cense truck – usually parked on 47th or 48th between Park & Lex:

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    It never ceases to amaze me how people rave about this overrated dump. It’s no better than McDonalds: in fact, I’d say it’s worse, because the food is about equal, but it’s more expensive AND slower.

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