When I moved to Minneapolis from Washington, DC, three years ago, I wasn’t sad to leave the traffic or the humidity or the sky-high real estate, but I was upset to move away from Five Guys. The local burgers-and-fries chain was a staple on our go-to list of fast, cheap, and delicious meals. No food in the house after returning from vacation? We’d go to Five Guys. Didn’t feel like cooking dinner? We’d go to Five Guys. Wanted to replenish the calories burned during a strenuous work-out? You get the picture. In DC, the chain is a mainstay; the First Lady even gave it a warm shout-out in a press conference yesterday.
So imagine my elation upon hearing that thanks to the wonders of franchising, Five Guys was coming to Edina. (The first Minnesota location is in St. Cloud.) Yes, those big, beefy burgers and salty hot fries would be mine once again! Of course, I had a few worries: Would it be as good as I remembered? Would the diner decor be the same? Would peanut shells cover the floor?
It’s too soon for the floor to get too littered with peanut shells, but yes, the boxes of peanuts are available for munching while you wait for your order. (Note to those with peanut allergies: There is a sign clearly warning potential diners of their presence as you enter the restaurant.) The red-and-white tiled interior has made the trip from DC, too. Interestingly, so have the signs extolling the awards and praises from Washington-area media. Do Minnesotans care what Washingtonians think about burgers? They’ll have to saddle up to the counter and decide for themselves, I guess.
The friendly cashier asked if I had been to a Five Guys before, and upon answering yes, I got a high-five. He still reminded me about the difference between the regular burgers and cheeseburgers and the little versions (two patties vs. one) and pointed out the 15 free toppings (mayo, relish, onions, lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, ketchup, mustard, jalapeño peppers, green peppers, A-1 sauce, barbecue sauce, and hot sauce) listed on the menu. Eager to ensure I ordered the fries I liked best, he let me sample the cajun-style variety before completing my order. Wow, Five Guys+Minnesota Nice=pretty good customer service.
As I munched peanuts and waited for food, I checked to make sure the Five Guys essentials were all present. Malt vinegar for the fries — check. Serve-yourself soda fountain — check. Oodles of napkins — check. But when my number was called just a few minutes later, I was shocked to see that the paper bag containing my dinner was grease-free. The trademark of a Five Guys meal is the grease-streaked bag that holds your order, regardless if you’re taking out or eating in. Odd.
The taste, however, was utterly familiar. Five Guys prides itself on only using fresh ground beef, and the meat had a pure, almost clean mouthfeel that could never be replicated with previously frozen beef. The meat isn’t highly seasoned, so those expecting a jolt to the taste buds will likely be disappointed. The ho-hum bun quickly smushes down to a thin layer under your fingertips, too. But topped with lettuce, pickles, and ketchup, it is a good example of how a simply prepared burger can be so satisfying.
The fresh-cut fries are a delight just out of the fryer – salty, steaming, and slightly oily. Eat them fast, though — once they cool, they go from marvelous to meh. The cajun flavoring offered a smoky finish but was not as spicy as I remembered it to be. Being a fry purist, though, I generally stick with the plain “Five Guys style.”
Five Guys also serves up hot dogs, grilled cheese, and veggie sandwiches, but I wouldn’t make it a destination for any of those foods. Instead, stop by when you’re craving a fresh, no-frills burger. It’s one part of Washington, DC, that I’m happy followed me to the Upper Midwest.
Burger joint in Edina
3871 Gallagher Dr
Edina, MN 55435
HOURS: 11am-10pm daily
ENTREE RANGE: $3-6