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!


  • friday i got a burger from resto (29th b/w park & lex) and the waiter said that the burger is styled after in & out’s burger. it was really delicious – same sort of thin patty with gooey cheese, lettuce, pickles. my only complaint is the bun. i prefer a squishy sesame seed bun and theirs is flat and flakey. anyway, you should give it a shot if you like in & out so much.

  • although it may be blasphemy, i am finding it a bit difficult to get excited about another burger place. instead of 50 options for a burger within a 5 block radius, now there are 51.

    i will say however, for the purpose of making this a more useful post, Prime Burger is a personal favorite — been around forever, great homemade relish, solid egg cream, tasty burgers.

  • While the burger was good, I don’t think it comes close to In-n-Out. It is probably as good as the Burger Joint and better than Zip Burger & Good Burger. The peanuts are a nice touch, too.

    The fries, however, were a huge disappointment. They may have just bad a bad batch, but they were bland as all get out. In-n-Out is the king of the fast food french fry. You can really taste the potato. I will be visiting again, of course. It’s only three blocks from my job and I work second shift, so I don’t have to worry about the lines.

  • Don’t forget that there’s another 5 Guys in downtown Brookyln, about 2 blocks from the Court Street M&R station, or 4 blocks from the 2345 Borough Hall station. Might be closer for downtowners, and faster, even with the MTA.

  • I hit up Five Guys late Friday. By the time I could get out for lunch it was around 2:30 so I hoped the line wouldn’t be bad, and it wasn’t. I probably had to wait around 5 minutes to order and another 10 for my food. Staff seemed to be adjusting to the crowd and were very courteous toward customers. Burger was good, though they messed up my order–I asked for bbq sauce and relish and got mustard, onions and pickles. I’d say I prefer this burger to the Burger Joint’s (and to the Five Guys I had in Delaware, which is the only other time I’ve tried it), but it’s going to be a place I’m only willing to go when I don’t have to wait long.

  • Sal, if you want to make the best burger in NYC you should work for Shakeshack.

  • I second Rudy’s comment

  • I’ve been to Five Guys twice around 6pm and there was close to no line and the food and service were all impeccable.

    Note to anyone thinking about trying Resto: It sucked.

    The burger is only cooked medium well, which unlike five guys, doesn’t do a thing for the burger, it’s small, the gruyere was unimpressive, and the fries, also, were weak.

  • i have only been to the one in BK, and the fries were pretty good from my memory. they’re not the super crispy kind, but they’re well-spiced. i gotta go visit this one now too.

  • I’ve said it before, but if you want the best burger experience in midtown go to Beacon. It’s a little pricey (12.95) but you can get mini-burgers for under 10 bucks and the experience can’t be topped. The last time I went I got a small slice of mushroom grilled pizza as an amuse bouche, forsooth.

  • Food porn is an apt description in this case.

    That burger looks like it’s been on the receiving end of a money shot.

  • Went to 5 Guys today, arriving around 12:30. Wait was about twenty minutes–not too bad. Burger about how I remembered it from DC, tasty but not mindblowing. Burger from Royale remains champion.

  • Went to the Manhattan outpost of Five Guys today with a colleague. Having grown up in northern Virginia, I am obsessed with this place.

    The key seems to be to go between 12 and 12:20, because at 12:30 on the dot the place became a madhouse. Their fax is down, so no orders are coming in that way.

    Burger was fantastic though and so were the cajun fries! Yummmm.

  • I agree with Allison. Went today around 12:15. Waited about 15 minutes before I got my food. The manager was trying to expedite as quickly as possible. But at around 12:30, the people started flying in. The burger is definitely delicious. The fries, another story. Soggy and broken.

  • there are massive office buildings in the neighborhood of this place. working in one of them, any place that serves fast food (like madrits) is PACKED between 12:30 -1:30. this is lunch time in midtown.

  • Love the big ol filthy burgher. Best thing in midtown.

  • They have updated their menu with calorie info:

    Cheeseburger is 840, small fries is 620 (no mention if it includes the overflow). Prices must’ve went up, $10.99 sans beverage, I remember in the past coming in at just under $10.

    For those short on time one can come close to hitting their 2500 DA at one sitting with a bacon cheeseburger (920) and large fries (1464) supplemented with one of those 100 calorie snack bags but you’ll have to drink water or diet swill.

    FWIW – The burgers were burnt beyond recognition with no juiceyness in sight (how they can do this with scores of people waiting is beyond me) but the cajun fries were awesome. In the past I looked past the welldone factor because they were so tasty, hoping this time was a one off.

  • The potatoes and soda are pure profit. How much is the rent there? I imagine 80% lean is pretty cheap as well. Even if it’s a custom blend..

  • Five Guys was great- I don’t understand the complaints. The service was very friendly and the burgers and fries were huge, and much better-tasting than McDonald’s, Wendy’s and BK. You definitely get it “your way” at Five Guys- tons of options for the burger, and you order what you want, at no additional charge for the toppings. Excellent!

  • The burger is huge? Have you been out of the country Chris?

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