The mention of Five Guys sends some Washington-area friends of ours into paroxysms of glee. More cynical pals sniff and proclaim that better burgers can be found at the pub around the corner. They’re both sort of right. This Northern Virginia-based regional burgersandfries chain, recently making inroads into Baltimore, makes a very good hamburger, but your current favorite will probably remain unchallenged.
On a recent trip to Five Guys’ new Harborplace outlet, a clean, red-and-white tiled place on the second floor of the Pratt Street pavilion filled with friendly counter help, we were impressed if not floored. The burgers were pretty terrific—fresh-grilled tasty ground beef, well-done but not killed—and plenty large: the regular burgers ($4.39-$5.25) feature two huge patties, meaning the “little” burgers ($3.30-$3.85) are enough for everyone but the biggest of eaters. The buns, however, were on the small side and crumbled easily thanks to the greasy burgers; and the American cheese, the only one available, tasted not much better than plaster. Best of all, except maybe the free peanuts (a Five Guys trademark), were the Ocean City-style fries ($2.35-$4.25), fresh-tasting, hot, and ready to sop up lots of malt vinegar. We’ll be back for those, for sure.