Five Guys Coming Out Swinging

Five Guys Burger n Fries, Northridge
pic by me. click to explode.

On the heels of Fraz’s post the other day about Five Guys, today I spotted another one opening up very close to where I work. I have still not eaten at Five Guys, so I can’t make any claims about how they measure up to In-N-Out. I can tell you without measuring, though, that this new Five Guys is laying down the gauntlet, opening up less than a hundred yards from the In-N-Out on Tampa in Northridge.

I’m still not sure how I feel about this. Sure, if Five Guys is as good as some folks say, I wouldn’t mind stopping by once or twice to check it out for myself. But now, within five to ten miles of my office, we will have The Habit, Fatburger, In-N-Out, Five Guys, along with countless Burger Kings, Wendy’s, McDonalds, am I missing anything? I guess what I’m getting at is there are an abundance of options for fast-food burger chains in LA, of both the high and low rent varieties. Yeah I know In-N-Out is privately owned, but still it’s a chain and it’s expanding.

So maybe I’m just lamenting the homogenization of our commercial landscape. I know, it’s not a very original lament. But I guess some of the appeal for places like In-N-Out in Southern California or Five Guys on the East Coast is that it adds a little treat to visiting different parts of the country. My friend in Salt Lake City no longer has to come to SoCal and visit to get a taste of some In-N-Out, he can do so right in his own back yard.

And soon, East Coasters with a chip on their shoulder about In-N-Out won’t get to look down their noses at Angelenos anymore about the lack of Five Guys in LA. Hmmm… maybe it’s not such a bad thing after all.

5 Replies to “Five Guys Coming Out Swinging”

  1. I can tell you that I really like 5 Guys. There are a few In-N-Outs here in Tucson as well, and I don’t like them as well.

  2. I think the Five Guys vs. In-N-Out comparo may not be the most direct. I would classify In-N-Out as true “fast food” along with McDonald’s, Wendy’s, & Burger King, in terms of price and other characteristics. Of these, I think In-N-Out is a true standout due to their fresher, better quality food. However, I consider Five Guys in a slightly different, more premium category of places that, along with others such as The Habit and Hamburger Habit, cost a couple of bucks more, tend to have bigger basic burgers, don’t always have a drive-through, etc. While there’s not necessarily a bright line separating these categories, I don’t always regard the two as perfect substitutes for each other. That said, if you like In-N-Out better than Five Guys, then go for it, you just saved yourself some money.

    Your larger point about chains and homogenization is a good one. Franchised and fast food like McDonald’s and Howard Johnson’s before it became successful in large part because travelers liked the comfort of having the same food, decor, etc. while on the road. That same sameness that turns once mom-and-pop places like Five Guys into hugely successful regional or national chains is what many also bemoan about the loss of regional originality in America. It’s a double-edged sword. And BTW, I hear that Dunkin’ Donuts is coming to California. Let the wars continue!

  3. Well at least we can still brag about In N Out while on the East Coast ey! And this joint is less than 50 yards away, quite the showcase, I’m sure there will be enough to go around in terms of customers. In N Out still has the drive thru, so the standing line might be interesting at Five Guys.

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