Burgers seem to be all the culinary rage in the Seattle area these days, with a new establishment that promises a fresh twist on the classic American dish popping up every few weeks.
It's somewhat surprising, then, that Redmond's newest hamburger restaurant stands out not for its innovation, but for its familiarity. Five Guys Burger and Fries, a Virginia-based restaurant chain with more than 800 locations nationwide, is all about serving up delicious burgers that are just as pleasing to your wallet as your taste palate.
The chain, relatively new to the Seattle area but well-respected elsewhere, goes against the grain of fancy new burger restaurants by keeping things simple. For a little more than $5, you can get a giant cheeseburger with two patties and your choice of 15 toppings, including relish, grilled mushrooms, jalapeno peppers and barbecue sauce.
My first experience with Five Guys happened while I was living in Baltimore, and I quickly learned that the "little" cheeseburger ($4.19) was more than enough to satisfy my appetite. In fact, the restaurant is so notoriously filling that when I once returned to the office with a grease-spotted Five Guys bag, my coworker ominously (and aptly) proclaimed "Hello, food coma."
On a recent visit to the at 15011 NE 24th St., I found virtually the same burger I had indulged in back East. A truly tasty, juicy beef patty was topped with some basic fresh veggies (including grilled onions, my favorite free add-on), sandwiched between a soft bun, and wrapped in nondescript silver foil.
The dining space itself is nearly identical to every other Five Guys restaurant I've visited—sparse but clean, with a friendly staff and a sign near the kitchen announcing where that day's potatoes came from (Warden, Wash.).
But there's another Five Guys staple that sticks out a bit more to the first-time visitor: bins of unlimited free peanuts, and empty shells playfully scattered on the ground.
Perhaps the chain has a streak of innovation after all.
If you go: Five Guys Burger and Fries is located at 15011 NE 24th St. in Redmond and is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. Burgers range in price from $3.69 to $5.99. A full menu is available here.