Did you know Five Guys originated way back in 1986 in the Washington DC area? Yep. I didn’t know either. In fact, I didn’t really pay much attention to Five Guys until I moved to London.
I remember when they showed up in a shopping plaza near me in the States. One morning I was leaving my local Starbucks drive-thru and noticed they were getting ready to open adjacent to it. That’s all I have to say about that. I never went. I didn’t know anyone else who talked about it. The end.
And then one sunny day in January when Mr. Sunny and I were strolling through Covent Garden, I had an absolute hysterical laughing fit! There was a Five Guys on Long Acre, just south of Seven Dials and near Leicester Square station. And the line was wrapped around the building!
I can only explain my reaction in these words- WTF?! As in…. What the Five Guys!
‘Were they giving burgers away today?’ I wondered.
Mr. Sunny didn’t understand my reaction. He knew Five Guys in London was an absolute phenomenon.
If you’re an avid Sunny reader, you know I favor Covent Garden. So, for months after that day in January, I walked by this place and was tormented. What the Five Guys was going on there?
There was never a line at a Five Guys in the suburban US. In fact, I thought it was a half notch above McDonald’s and maybe a few steps below TGI Fridays.
I continued to boycott Five Guys. There was no way I was standing in line for an American burger when I used to pass by the practically vacant burger joint every day in the States. Not. Gonna. Happen.
And then I got bullied. After posting how awesome my experience was at Shake Shack, I received a lot of feedback that I should try Five Guys. Mr. Sunny and his friends were some of the biggest offenders. My American expat audience remained indifferent. Geez, I wonder why? 😉
So, you know what I did to end my little protest?
I took my mother to her local Five Guys in the States during my last trip in August. I figured if I was conceding, it wasn’t going to be on foreign territory.
Five Guys in the US:
And, just as I expected, the burger joint was empty.
We each ordered the Bacon Cheeseburger. And, we both really, really enjoyed our burgers.
I liked the numerous signs posted throughout the location that doubled as advertising too.
The experience was pretty good. Mom and I give it two stateside Thumbs Up!
Five Guys in London:
Next, I communicated to Mr. Sunny that when I returned to London from my holiday, I’d treat him to Five Guys in Covent Garden. I was hopeful, as the sign says above my head, that it would be the best burger I’ve ever eaten in my whole life.
I tried to go when I didn’t think it was busy, but we still had to stand outside for about 5 minutes in a queue. I rolled my eyes the entire time.
The inside was much different from the suburban Five Guys. Packed!
The menu is exactly the same. Except, however, the prices are a lot higher in London!I advised Mr. Sunny to take it easy on the fries because the portions are huge. He was delighted to be able to order a beer. That’s not an option at the location where I was in the States.
Yeah, I know. There’s a lot of irony in the beer being a ‘Brooklyn Lager.’ Anyhow, we both got Bacon Cheeseburgers.
Again, the quality was exactly the same as my first Five Guys experience.
Of course, the Five Guys in London also has the numerous signs reflecting their praise across the United Kingdom.
So, this brings us to the biggest question… which was better… Five Guys or Shake Shack?
Mr. Sunny and I both throw our votes to Shake Shack. It’s not a landslide. We both agree that the Shake Shack sauce is the winning ingredient in our mini ‘American Burger in London Competition’. And for me as a blogger, I really love how much Shake Shack does on social media, both with interacting with me and what they post.
Five Guys was really, really good. However, I’m still SMH every time I walk by and see a queue. How about you? Do you feel the same about them as I do? Londoners, please explain to me…
What the Five Guys?
Sarah Shumate says
I have never eaten at Shake Shack or Five Guys, here in London or in the US, but I think all the hype surrounding both of them is hilarious! My favorite burger place in London is Byron’s Burgers. They’re all over the place, but I go to the one in Chiswick, of course. If you go, you MUST get a side of courgette fries with your burger. They are amazing!
Sunny London says
Thanks for the tip, Sarah! I will have to try Byron’s, and the courgettes, of course!
I haven’t tried either of them, but the burger looks lovely and I am sitting this end salivating. I have heard wonderful things about Shake Shack and I really do need to try this place out. I too would hate the queues but looking at the food I would probably give in. Nothing beats a big dirty burger Lucy x
Haha, this was so interesting to read from both sides!
I have been to 5 Guys, and although it was tasty, it’s not the best burger I’ve ever had – I rated the fries more!
Em | Hmm maybe…
Dana @ Wanted Adventure says
I can completely relate! I’m always surprised to see places booming here in Germany that are just considered normal back stateside. Also, those burger pics are making my tummy rumble! Yum yum 😀
Kari @ Kari On says
I get the hesitation on not wanting to get an American burger in London, but I’m glad you did and that the quality was the same. Five Guys Burgers are my favorite 🙂
Manasi Kumar says
I have to say, I’m a Five Guys fan – I LOVED the cajun fries! I tried Shake Shack both in New York & here and it was ok, good but just normal.
I’m one of those hordes you see outside Five Guys, jostling for space with the teens!
Sunny London says
Haha! That’s too funny. Glad you enjoyed the post and like Five Guys. The fries were definitely good there 🙂
Scott R says
I prefer Shake Shack based on better quality of beef. Shake Shack just opened in Winter Park, Fl. Love it… been to both restaurants! Shake Shack wins hands down.
Sunny London says
So glad you agree! Awesome to hear Shake Shack is in FL now. I LOVE it!!
Tina @ Girl Meets Globe says
I love that you compared them and know that they’re the same. I’ve not eaten at either one. Maybe one day I’ll try, but there are other places we like to hit when we’re in the big city!
Sunny London says
There’s so many burger places in London, I’d save Five Guys for the States (way cheaper!)
I really didn’t get the fuss over Five Guys, very expensive for what you get IMO. Shake Shack is good but as someone else said Byron is my favourite that I’ve tried! x
Sunny London says
Thank you! I’ll definitely make sure Mr Sunny and I give it a go. 🙂
I enjoy Five Guys and they’re even opening one 15 minutes down the road from where I live (outside of London) so I’ll be interested to see how it translates. It is crazy that a burger joint that in the US sits somewhere between Target and Sally’s with no customers for hours on end has queues of people in London but I think they do it so well and it’s definitely a step up from McDonalds and Burger King!!