I kind of have to admire Five Guys Burgers and Fries for managing to include 80% of its menu right in the name of the restaurant. This East Coast-based chain doesn't serve much beyond its namesake burgers and fries.
The menu also branches out to offer a hot dog and something named on the menu as "veggie or grilled cheese," which I at first took to mean a veggie burger. It's not. What it actually means is that you can order any vegetable the store offers (not a vegetarian's dream selection, by the way), and they'll put them in a bun for you. Grilled or not, I guess -- your call.
That's right, for $2.50, you can get the hamburger condiments, without the hamburger patty, in a bun! Vegetarians, rejoice. The vegetables in question are onions, lettuce, pickles, tomato, grilled mushrooms, green peppers and jalapeno peppers, and any of them can be added as a topping to any of the Five Guys' burgers.
The burgers work like this: The regular hamburger (or cheeseburger, $4/$4.60) consists of two patties; the "little hamburger" (or cheeseburger, $2.80/$3.40) is a single patty. The person at the register didn't know how many ounces of meat are in each patty, but the single patty looks dwarfed by a standard hamburger bun, and is likely under a quarter-pound.
Five Guys sells itself on its meat being fresh and never frozen, but you can't tell much about the meat, since the burger is cooked to maximum gray. A sign at the counter reads/boasts "We cook all our meat juicy and well done." Half of that statement is true. That was a well done burger. The result is that there's very little taste. If you pick the meat out of the sweet white bread of the bun and ignore the aggressive American cheese coating, the meat does taste okay -- that is, it lacks the faux "grilled" flavoring found in burgers from Hardees or Burger King -- but the natural meat taste of a thick, medium-rare patty is not there.
The overall taste of the burger reminded me of Wendy's, although I should probably admit that I haven't eaten a Wendy's burger in probably ten years.
The fries, made from Idaho potatoes and cooked in peanut oil, skins on, are good. You can actually taste the potato. The small serving ($2) is more than enough for a single person and could easily be split with your dining companion. Fries also come Cajun-spiced.
About the only other food option is adding bacon to your burger. That's it. There is nothing else on the menu. You can pick up a bucket of free peanuts-in-the-shell to munch on while you wait for your order. (The wait was short.) The boxes that these peanuts come in are labeled, somewhat mysteriously: "Due to possible allergic reactions, please do not remove peanuts from the store."
The ambience, which one of my co-workers described perhaps over-generously as being "like a mall food court," is cavernous, bright, and sterile. The undergraduate population seemed bothered by none of this, though, and the place was doing a steady business.