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DINING BY FRANK SABATINI JR. BURGERS ON THE DOUBLE I


f you’ve gone this long without pigging out at Five Guys, which recently expanded into Hillcrest,


there are three things you should know before surrendering your appetite to the Virginia-based burger chain: (1) The bulk peanuts that greet you in big open boxes are free and it’s okay to discard their shells on the floor; (2) standard-size burgers listed on the menu in singular context are actu- ally constructed with two patties; (3) and a regular serving of fries will cost you 620 calories. (Read ahead for the explanation.) At a time when the burger


craze is at a record sizzle, the companies flipping them must clearly distinguish their recipes from the joints down the block in order to keep us engaged. The homegrown Burger Lounge, for instance, captivates us with its grass-fed beef served on molas- ses-kissed buns. Smasburger lives up to its name by applying weights to the burgers as they cook, which in theory seals in their juices. And as any burger aficionado knows of In-N-Out, super-fresh garnishments and a catchy secret sauce have done wonders for snatching a sturdy slice of the market from the “clown” and “king.” The magic formula at Five Guys is that customers get super-sized without even ask- ing. Aside from receiving double burgers, a regular order of fries cut onsite from Idaho potatoes far exceeds what an average mouth can consume. Boasting medium thickness and fried in peanut oil, the spuds are stuffed upright into cardboard cups, which are then buried over with more fries. The brown bags used for packaging all of the food orders prove their utility here. Burgers are sized just right,


not pitifully thin or obnoxiously thick. They come with a decent choice of garnishments at no extra cost – sautéed mushrooms, fresh jalapenos, green peppers, grilled onions and more. Ask for cheese (60 cents extra) and you get Kraft American singles melted between the patties and on top. For those arriving with dainty appetites, the menu offers “little burgers,” which is Five Guys speak for single patties. After several visits, I discovered my blissful condiment combina- tion for the cheeseburger—raw onions, mayo, mustard and relish from bread-and-butter pickles. The latter adds a wet sweetness to the scheme and a nostalgic flavor that largely goes missing from modern- day burgers. Hot dogs are sold four dif-


ferent ways: Plain, with cheese or bacon or both. They’re split lengthwise and griddled to a texture resembling fried bologna. Being a stickler for steamed, concession-style dogs that steep for hours in fatty water, these aren’t my favorite. And if size matters, they measure only about five inches long. The concise menu obliges


to those occasional vegetarians who get dragged in by their


www.tasteofthaisandiego.com


flesh-eating friends. The veggie sandwich allows them to choose any or all of the organics from the list of burger fixings. There’s also a grilled cheese sandwich layered so generously with the yellow stuff that it begs for a bowl of tomato soup, which unfortu- nately isn’t on the menu. Nor are desserts. For a quick sugar fix, we conclude at Uncle Biff’s Killer Cookies two doors down. To those wondering how the


25-year-old burger chain got its name, the business was started by a back-East couple raising five sons. They’ve since encroached on more than 40 states and parts of Canada. And if it’s any coincidence, Hillcrest marks the company’s fifth location in San Diego.u


670 University Ave., San Diego 92103 (Hillcrest) 619-299-9105 Prices: Burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches and fries, $2.69 to $6.59


San Diego Uptown News | September 2–15, 2011


27


Expect generous portions at Five Guys. (Photo by Frank Sabatini Jr.)


with purchase of any entréee of equal or greater value and 2 beverages.


FREE DINNER DINE-IN SPECIAL


Gratuity not included. Dine-in only. 1 coupon per table. Valid Sun.- Thur. ONLY. Not valid for delivery or holidays. Not valid with any other offer or discount. Ex: 9/22/11


Buy one pizza or calzone at regular price and get second for equal or lesser price for free. Coupon must be presented upon purchase Not valid with any other offer or discount. Good 7 days a week. Ex: 9/22/11


BUY ONE PIZZA GET ONE FREE


HILLCREST ~ 619.688.0333 1013 University Ave., 92103


Thank You for continuing support for the past 23 years!


GOLD MEDALLION AWARD 2006, 2007 & 2009


San Diego Restaurant Association


20%OFF ENTIRE CHECK


(on food only) Maximum Value $10.95 Gratuity not included. Present coupon before ordering. Dine-in only. Cannot be combined with any other offers. Not valid on holidays. One coupon per table. Expires 09/30/11


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