Looking back, one of my most vivid food memories from our visit to Washington two years ago was a late night dinner at Five Guys. On the plane ride to DC, we had overhead pilots discussing what they would be eating after they landed – Five Guys was their food of choice.
That first night, we wandered over to Georgetown, a bit disoriented, but eager to explore the neighbourhood, and finally came upon Five Guys. It was dimly lit, and truth be told, a bit of a dive, with peanut shells littering the floor in a restaurant showing signs of wear and tear – but the welcome we received was second to none. If the staff didn’t enjoy their jobs, they did an excellent job of hiding it, with orders being taken and hollered out, reminiscent of Fatburger, doling out efficient yet friendly service. Signs proudly labelled the origin of the day’s potatoes (Idaho), while open boxes of peanuts were strewn throughout the dining area, a thumb against the movement of nut-free zones. While the burgers were good (not great), our meal was forever coloured by the reception we received – and the environment it was consumed in. So when we visited the first Five Guys location in the Edmonton area at the end of May, it’s no surprise that Mack and I would be drawing comparisons to our DC experience.
Unlike the Georgetown location, tucked in a thoroughly walkable neighbourhood resplendent with historic walk-ups and charming boutiques, the Sherwood Park Five Guys was almost the opposite, situated in a sea of box stores and strip malls along Fir Street.
The contrast didn’t end there. Where the DC Five Guys was comfortably worn around the edges, this Five Guys was understandably new and squeaky clean (I did appreciate the open kitchen though – there’s nothing more reassuring than having the option of seeing your food prepared in front of you). Sacks of potato bags and boxes of peanut oil were used as a divider of sorts at the order counter, adding a bit of fun to the otherwise standard quick-serve décor. I also liked the bulletin boards where customers were invited to draw a message about their love of Five Guys.
Mack doesn’t appreciate peanut oil
The boxes of peanuts that Five Guys is so known for was relegated to the tops of the trash bins. We made sure to have a nutty appetizer.
Bulk peanuts served in open containers
Mack + peanuts?
I don’t know what happened though, as neither Mack, my parents, or myself read the fine print on the menu, and all ended up ordering regular burgers. A regular at Five Guys includes not one, but two beef patties (note to self: order the “little” next time). Needless to say, there was no need for the two large fries we also ordered.
The burgers were pretty good – thin patties, soft bread, and packed with our chosen fixings, they were satisfying, if not overkill because of our blind ordering. As a whole, compared with Rodeo Burger and Fulton Market, I have to say I enjoyed the Five Guys burger more.
The fries, however, were far from crispy. Fried in peanut oil, Mack wasn’t certain he should be indulging in the fries, but the rest of us were a) too overwhelmed by our double burgers and b) not enjoying the limp fries. The Cajun seasoning may have helped with the flavour, but not with the texture (we couldn’t recall whether or not the fries in DC had been made using peanut oil).
This location of Five Guys is too far out of the way for us to visit on a regular basis, but if we were looking for a quick bite to eat, we’d consider coming back.
993 Fir Road, Sherwood Park