We weren't intending to go to Five Guys. We were on our way to meet friends at Bar Louie in Oak Park, and as we were parking the car, I noticed the Five Guys sign across the street. Here's how I've heard of Five Guys: a mention of their great fries in TimeOut Chicago recently (can't find it now), and listening to two friends dish about the place. They turned to me at one point and said, "Have you been to Five Guys yet?"
"Oh, you have to go."
So when we pulled up across the street from one, it seemed like kismet.
It's a retro little place, kind of like a Johnny Rocket's but without so many tables. Like any fast food joint, you give your order at the counter and get a number. There aren't too many choices: burgers, hot dogs, fries, grilled cheese (for, I suppose, the poor vegetarians whose omnivorous friends have dragged them along). But burgers automatically come with a host of toppings that many places charge for: sauteed mushrooms and sauteed onions, for example. And you can add other toppings just for the asking.
So, in a way, the Five Guys Burger is a burger version of a Chicago hot dog, if you want to eat it that way. And if you do, it's a very rewarding burger: messy, but tasty. Plus, the fries are hands-down the best fast-food fries I've tasted. Skin-on, crispy, potatoey.
Not to be compared with a steakhouse burger, or even a bar-and-grill burger--it's a different entity. But for a quick, $5 bite, this is a great addition to our burger options.
I guess I should be glad that there isn't one too close to our home.