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Like the West Coast's renowned family-owned In-N-Out Burger chain, East Coast eatery Five Guys (whose original family-owned restaurant opened in 1986, nearly 40 years after I-N-O) has retro 1950s décor and serves a limited specialized menu centering on hand-formed fresh - never frozen - burgers, and fries made from fresh potatoes. But there are differences, some good for Miamians: At Five Guys, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, and bacon cheeseburgers come in two sizes: double or plenty ample single patty. Kosher hot dogs are also available. There's more choice of free toppings. Fries come two ways (regular or spicy Cajun). And there are free peanuts while you wait. Not such good differences: Five Guys doesn't have I-N-O's pink Big Mac-style "spread" or I-N-O's legendary "secret menu" of options. Perhaps because Five Guys is now franchised, cooking quality is not reliable, either. The famed fries can be mighty soggy. Still, both burgers and fries beat offerings at the McJunkfood King chains.
The low point in American French fry history came when members of Congress humiliated spuds by spuriously renaming them freedom fries (seems so long ago, no?). But the fry has also had its share of historical highs, one of which occurred when the first Five Guys opened 23 years ago in Arlington, Virginia. Sacks of Idaho potatoes are piled in the store to form aisles and to let patrons know how serious these guys are about their fries. (Last year, the chain's 300-plus locations went through... More »
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