I Still Think Five Guys is Awesome, But I’ll Try Not to Compare it to In N Out Burger

The calm before the storm

It’s been awhile since I’ve eaten at Five Guys, so I decided to use yesterday’s grand opening on 3rd Ave. (btw. 43+44th) as an *ahem* excuse opportunity to retry the place I called “NYC’s closest thing to In N Out Burger” two years ago.  At the time Fresh N Fast hadn’t opened yet, and most people agreed that Blue 9 Burger had gotten really bad.  But since then I’ve learned some important lessons about hamburger writing in this city.  First, don’t compare any burger to the Shake Shack.  The minute you do, you are essentially insuring that a certain group of people will never like the place.  Because to those people, Shake Shack is the reigning champ.  The perfect berger.  And how can you improve on perfection?  Don’t believe the backlash is automatic… ask Steve Hanson.

And #2.  Don’t compare any burger to In N Out. This city is dying for their own branch of the west coast chain, and nothing short of the real deal with satisfy.  But I still stand by my original statement, and my lunch yesterday confirmed my feelings.

There are three reasons I love In N Out Burger.  1. French fries made from fresh cut potatoes.  2. Free grilled onions (awww yeah!).  And 3.  It’s a thin patty, fast food burger that tastes good, and doesn’t make me feel sick afterwards (I’m looking at your McDonalds.)  That’s it.  I can’t tell you about the beef and its flavor intricacies, or whatever. All I know is, I take a bite and me likey. (Plus, taking a look at the cross section of the meat does make me afraid to keep eating.)  Those are my criteria, and Five Guys is equal to every task.


Five Guys fries are fresh cut.  Sure, they’re thicker- and sometimes end up soggy- but they’re tasty. And I’d take them over any other fast food french fry in the city (including Shake Shack’s frozen crinkle cuts.)  They give you free grilled onions… and mushrooms, and jalapenos, and any other topping (except cheese and bacon which are extra.)  And while I have lately been subscribing to the minimalist burgers you’ll see on AHT, I am a sucker for free grilled onions and mushrooms (and jalapenos.)  And finally, the Five Guys “cheeseburger” is actually a double double.  Sure it’s more expensive, but if you think In N Out Burger would stay as cheap as it is on the left coast if it ever came to NYC, you’re on crack.

Also, I’ve heard some people complain that Five Guys only cooks their patties well done.  So does In N Out Burger.  They’re thin, fast food, hamburger patties.  You can’t cook them any other way.  If you want a slightly thicker burger, cooked medium rare, go to Goodburger or HB Burger.  This is a different animal. Do I like Five Guys better than In In Out?  Shit no.  But for me, it’s the closest thing we’re going to get in Midtown. (Just don’t hold it against them.)

Five Guys, Two Locations

  • 43 W 55th St (btw. 5+6th), 212-459-9600
  • 690 3rd Avenue (btw. 43+44th), 646-783-5060


  • Wow. I got my burger yesterday the EXACT same way. Except mine had bacon and the double patty. I am debating if I should go back again today.

  • The 5 guys on 55th is always a minimum 15-20 min. wait every time I go there. I like it but its nothing special for that wait. I called ahead to Astro Diner yesterday was ready in 5 mins, thick burger and steak fries. Could’ve been a little less well done though.

  • is it lunch time yet?

  • I am a big fan of Goodburger. The lines and sloppy burgers at Five Guys turned me off. But I decided to give Five Guys another shot and I think they are better. I prefer the 1 patty “Little Burger” over the hamburger. Five Guys meat is less mystery meat than Goodburger, and their cajun fries are killer. I have to try Burger Joint again to really rank them.

  • i like having peanuts while you wait.. do they have them here? i had it in queens… it added a fun component, unless ur allergic to peanuts of course…

  • @Chubbychinesegirl – all the 5 guys have free peanuts. And if you’re allergic to peanuts you better just not walk into it. Between the free roasted ones, all the fries are cooked in peanut oil.

  • Funny, a lot of people comlain about In n’ Out’s fries. Extra crispy/animal style helps. Anyway, 5 Guys will never be the East Coast In n’ Out until they put religious propoganda on their packaging.

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    You can order med. rare at In-n-out. If your real nice they might go rare.

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    Key plus for Five Guys: malt vinegar available for dumping onto the fries. Takes me right back to the good old days of the kebab vans in London.

  • Aside from being the best burger in NYC (free toppings!), they can guarantee everything is gluten free — everything but the bun, of course. No small feat!

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    Five Guys takes way too long since they insist on cooking all the burgers well (which dries them out, besides adding to the wait time). Unless they’ve dropped that requirement since last year, they’ll never see me again.

  • They’ve completely f*cked up my orders the last three times I’ve been here! And I tried to go after the lunch rush. I think they just get really lazy after a certain time. I am over this place.

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