Wednesday, April 01, 2009


For many years, the love of my life was Wendy, with her cute little pigtails and the smell wafting from her that I could only describe as heavenly. But sadly, the time recently came for us to part ways. Wendy has been letting herself go these past few years. She’s not that clean anymore. She’s greasy. She is just, well, run-down looking. Oh sure, she still has great buns, but that’s not enough.With great regret, I’ve had to leave Wendy behind, for Five Guys.

I’m talking about cheeseburgers, of course.

What could be better than the cheeseburger? It has the meat group, bread group, and dairy group all in one nice package. For those of you that are health conscious, you can always slap on a salad- but I think that taints the heady flavor of roasted cow flesh (or buffalo or any other grazing animal). Throw in a side of fries for your daily vegetable helping, and you’re set.

Wendy’s restaurant was my most beloved restaurant for many years. Those delicious triple cheeseburgers, dripping with extra cheese, a side of fries and a chocolate Frosty was truly my favorite meal. I could eat it everyday- although I would probably drop dead in only a few weeks. Anything that tastes that good can’t be good for you.

But ever since the food genius Dave Thomas passed away, Wendy’s has begun deteriorating. Where the burgers were once cooked to greasy, sizzling perfection in his lifetime, there have been times since his passing when my burger tasted a little... rare. Gone is the delicious saltiness. And where once I could swear I was tasting the savory goodness of what surely must have been steroids injected into the cows prior to slaughter, lately all I taste is something that must be freezer burn.
Wendy’s also began to get complicated. When I order a "Frosty" I don’t want to be asked what flavor I want. I want a damned Frosty. Do I get asked what flavor Coke I want? (They still make Cherry and Vanilla Coke, you know). And what’s with all the fancy schmancy sandwiches added to the menu? There should be three, and exactly three, choices of sandwich: Single, Double and Triple.

Despite the degradation of my most beloved place away from home, my spirits have been recently uplifted. There’s a new Burger Sheriff in town- actually, they’re more of a posse. And I pledge my loyalty for as long as my wallet, and heart, can take their savory goodness.

Five Guys (Burger and Fries) has come to Southern Indiana.

At first glance, I was a little worried to be eating at "Five Guys". They got their start in Washington D.C., where just about everything is screwed up. But I guess working to please the most crooked, twisted, screwed up bunch of nincompoops on the planet is a good way to master the Burger.

When you walk into a Five Guys, you’ll notice right off it’s clean. Okay, maybe the two I have begun frequenting are, because they’re new. Time will tell. Next up, you’ll see stacks of fresh, boxed potatoes. That’s because they claim to use only fresh potatoes, fried in peanut oil. They also claim their hamburger never hits the freezer. It’s fresh and refrigerated, never frozen.

On the way to the counter, you’ll notice boxes of unshelled peanuts out for your consumption. Right there they get points from me. I get to eat while I wait to eat? Man, that’s just like at home, where I’m gnawing on chips or cheese or something while I man my trusty Weber grill.

By the time you hit the counter, you’ve noticed two other things. The price and the simplicity of the menu. Five Guys make burgers, kosher hot dogs and grilled cheese sandwhiches. No chicken. No salads. And they charge a lot for this wonderful food. More even than Wendy’s. But the price is worth it.

When you get your cheeseburger- dressed however you choose- it’s been cooked well done, and is wrapped in plain foil. Not a paper wrapper or a plastic box. Nope, good old aluminum foil, like you’d have on a picnic. Flavor nor heat will be escaping this burger before you shovel it into your mouth. And the fries? Mmmm. Delicious steak fries, served in a styrofoam cup. And then they throw some extra fries in the bag, like tinsel sprinkled on a Christmas tree after the decorations are hung.

I’ll also note that if you order a bacon cheeseburger, the bacon is nice and crispy- not some limp, heated-with-a-hair-dryer strip of rubbery bacon. It crunches and is packed with salty flavor.

I’ll admit that Five Guys is lacking milkshakes on their menu. A juicy bacon cheeseburger with fries is great. But throw in a milkshake, and it’s a feast. At least Five Guys offers free refills to make up for this chilled dairy product bigotry.

By the time you leave a Five Guys, your wallet will be thinner, as though you’ve paid for twice the food you got. But that is fair, since the quality is more than twice as good as anywhere else.

I guess in the future, I’ll still drive by Wendy’s, to see how she’s doing. She does still have Frosty’s and a drive thru. She’ll always hold a special place in my heart, but Five Guys has earned a place in my stomach.

Wendy, if you ever get yourself straightened out, call me. I'll be at Five Guys.