I have heard a lot recently about the franchise Five Guys Burgers and Fries, originally started in the Virgina area in 1986. I knew it was fast-food going in, and I really knew it was fast-food coming out (that sounds way more graphic than I intended). We had quite a time finding the Marlboro location (there’s also a Dedham, Swampscott, and Randolph location) and unless you live nearby, getting there is no picnic. I would gladly travel great lengths for a quality burger, hell, almost my entire vacation to Chicago a couple weeks ago was based on food destinations, so that’s not really an issue for me. But after eating at Five Guys, there’s no real reason to eat there regularly unless you happen to live nearby, or if you happen to be coming from a bar (perfect drunk food I’d imagine, but then again, so are circus peanuts).
The menu is simple and brief, they have regular burgers (two patties) and little burgers (one patty), some hot dogs, fries and the usual routine. Toppings are all free here, which is a nice change of pace, and it’s affordable, running about $11 for a standard combo meal. The surroundings are clean, beaming with red and white checkered patterns throughout, it looks more like a 50’s diner than anything. Which begs the question as to why places are still going for the retro feel. Antique I get, but why do we want to go back to the fabulous 50’s? How about doing something modern? And predictably, the burgers taste like the meat is from the 1950’s, not juicy, just greasy. The bun is chewy and unappetizing, the toppings are all well and good, but the meat gets lost, and when I taste it separately, I honestly can’t tell the difference between this and something from another fast-food chain. The fries are good, very well seasoned despite my negative predictions, although they’ve clearly only been cooked once, not the proper technique of double frying that great fries require. And while I enjoy the fact that the food comes in a good old “bag of grease” as Nicks puts it, and the fact that they serve Mr. Pibb from the soda machine, this place is very mediocre.
They claim the meat is never frozen, which I dispute because it is just plain bad, and while the fries are a good effort, there’s just nothing that stops me from feeling bloated, greasy from head to toe, and overall unhappy. Like I said, this location, which also boasts a Papa Gino’s, Panera Bread, Office Max and Hannaford in the Strip Mall setting is one stop shopping for those who live too far from the big scary city. But the fact it’s in a strip mall can’t disguise the fact that it’s a fast-food “restaurant” with very few, if any, things to offer.