Five Guys – great if you’re looking for a heart attack

In a continuing attempt to teach my kids about food portion size, I went to Five Guys Burgers and Fries to purchase a regular one patty cheese burger hamburger and a regular order of fries (not large or spiced). This is the sized meal I would purchase for each of my kids. My plan was to plate this food on the Portion Plate for all to see.

If you haven’t been to Five Guys apparently they are all the rage. It’s a colorful, noisy, place where you have a limited menu (hamburgers and hot dogs, French fries, onion rings, and soda). You order your food, it gets shouted and one of the many workers slaps your patty on the grill.

To give it credit the restaurant is an artful display of an efficient assembly line.

Also part of the restaurant’s decoration is to display the many, many pounds of potatoes in sacks that they use in their cooking. If you squint your eyes and look sideways, you sort of get to see where your food comes from by the state stamps on the potato sacks.

They serve the food in a brown paper bag which by the time you get home is translucent from the fries’ grease. (hmmmm and if that’s not appetizing…).

On the website, they list the caloric count for the regular fries at 620 calories. At least they say that you get zero artificial Trans fats (Keep that one in your back pocket to tell your Dr. after your heart attack from eating all those fries)

In order to boost the health content (a bit of an oxymoron when talking about Five Guys) I ordered a regular cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, onion, and Barbecue sauce. (I figured that if ketchup was considered a vegetable then barbecue sauce also had a chance in the pageant). The Little Cheeseburger clocked in at 550 calories (that’s without the add on’s).

This is what a regular Five Guys meal looks like on the Adult Portion Plate

Five Guys regular lunch on Adult's Portion plate

What you can’t see clearly from the photo is how high the french fries are piled. We pretty much had to make our own Eiffle tower of fries to get them all on the plate. Maybe that’s how they should market their meals, as the next creative building block lego- wanna-bes. Your kid gets to be creative while becoming fat.

Now I know that I haven’t been concentrating on calories and have tried to keep the focus on portion size only, but when you have a meal this impressive in the calorie department, it’s pretty tough not to notice. This “regular” lunch is going to cost you at least 1170 calories.

Pretty distressing huh? All meals at this restaurant should be served on Portion Plates, at least that way, you would have an idea of how much extra food you are eating (it’s tough to gauge when you are eating like a horse out of a feed sack).

I’ve been to Five Guys a total of 3 times now.
1. Once to try the new restaurant in town.
2. Another time to verify that it was indeed as greasy as I remembered it to be.
3. And this past time to buy the food for this post (which by the way, Marc ate).

I don’t need to go again.

I suppose if you are looking for quantity then it’s the place for you. I mean, my teenage boys think Five Guys is Heaven. It’s one of the few places where when they leave their black hole stomachs no longer ache with the constant hunger forever found in the adolescent years.

If, however, you are even remotely concerned about your heart and/or health, if you have even a slight desire to be around when your grandchildren appear, then there are many other restaurants out there where you could do better.

A lot better.



Filed under New Hampshire, Personal, Portion Plates experiment, The Family

8 responses to “Five Guys – great if you’re looking for a heart attack

  1. Wow, Wendy, thanks for this. I’ve been wanting to get to Five Guys to see if it’s really ‘all that’ I’ve been hearing, but reading this, I’m no longer interested. Sure I crave a cheeseburger now and then, but seriously…the portion plate tells me all I need to know.

    I suppose if I could refrain from the fries then maybe I’d have a chance. Maybe. 🙂

  2. Oh, I long for the old days when I could (and did) polish off two of those plates, easy. It wasn’t 5 Guys, it was In-n-Out Burger. Always topped off with a chocolate milkshake. Probably one of the many reasons I’m taking Statins now! Frankly, giving up food like that was tougher than quitting smoking.

  3. Gina

    Ha! They fry in peanut oil. Since I have a daughter with peanut allergies, enough said.

  4. Pingback: The bad, the ugly, now the good – Japanese on a Portion Plate « Simple Thrift – creative living on less

  5. Pass on this horror show.

    Amazing amount of grease in their meat, let that burger get cold, and in those frys it is the reason it taste so good, no real culinary, know a pompous chef, his secret, olive oil, butter, heavy cream, create some sauce smother some meat, like a pork chop it it, charge you $50 bucks. Oh, his $12 buck burger? Secret is adding in the bacon grease from the restaurant into cheap meat. Give it a try, you and the guy that holds the loan to your Doctor’s Mercedes will love it.

  6. Really, people, don’t complain about portion size.
    You don’t have to eat at this restaurant all the time, and no one is forcing you to eat all of it.
    If you;re trying to stick to a diet, obviously you shouldn’t go to any burger place, but if you are looking to indulge, then there’s no problem going here. Seriously, portion sizes don’t matter unless they’re too small… no one forces you to eat it all.

  7. Calories is just math.
    1170-2000 = 830
    So as long as you eat ni more than 830 other calories on a day you eat at 5 guys, then youre fine.

    • Wendy Thomas

      I also think that the quality of the calories (nutrients, fiber) is important, but point made. As long as you don’t eat more than you expend, you’ll be (relatively) fine.


      On Mon, Jan 18, 2016 at 2:13 PM, Lessons Learned from the Flock wrote:


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