Appleton’s Five Guys Burger and Fries Review

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I don’t like to review chains. I would rather focus my energies highlighting some great locally inspired flavors around the Fox Valley, but occasionally a chain just gets it right.

Once upon a time I lived in Washington D.C., and it was while living out there that I was first introduced to the delicious burger joint that serves you a sack of food in a grease stained bag. After moving back to Wisconsin all I could do is dream about that place until one glorious day I discovered Five Guys was coming to the Fox Valley!

Now, why am I so excited about a chain restaurant? Because they do everything right! Since their restaurants don’t even install a freezer they only use fresh ground beef, their French fries are cut on site from sacks of potatoes you can see immediately upon entering the restaurant, and a well positioned handwritten sign clearly announces the origin of the spuds you are enthusiastically scarfing down. So basically, everything is being done from scratch with a strong focus on the ingredients. If more locally owned joints took a cue from wildly popular places like this it would dramatically improve the culinary scene in the Fox Valley.

Five guys doesn’t just get the ingredients right, they get the flavor right. Their hand cut fries are fried twice in peanut oil, the king of French fry oils. Then after filling your fry cup to the brim with delicious golden fries, they fill another scoop and dump it in your bag – Your cup truly runneth over.  Be sure to take advantage of the malt vinegar they provide for the fries. I like mixing it with my ketchup for an added tang.

The perfectly juicy, not overly dense burgers are equally delicious. Rather than selecting from a pre-set list of burger options these sloppy creations are built with toppings of your choice. The burgers come standard with two patties, so be sure to order a “Little” one if you have a smaller appetite.

I don’t have plans to review other chains, but I made an exception for Five Guys because the Valley lacks a good home-grown burger joint. Mr. Cinders patties are too dense for me, and aren’t even crafted in-house. Rule #1 of being legit burger joint is that you need to be able to make your own patties. The other popular area burger joint, Mihms, I have never even tried. The stink they raised about food trucks in Menasha left a bad taste in my mouth for them. Finally, Serious Burger is delicious but the owner is not someone I wish to promote. If there is a local place kicking out great burgers that I need to know about, please don’t hesitate to tell me about it.

Five Guys Burgers and Fries on Urbanspoon

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  1. desertfool says

    OK, 5 Guys is awesome. But really, not reviewing Mihm’s is just stupid. I grew up in a much better area for burgers and fries (look up Nick Tahou’s) but Mihm’s is a local classic. Sure, they may be against the local nasty food trucks, since they don’t pay the taxes that Mihm’s does. But their butter burgers speak for themselves. I can only eat Mihm’s a few times a year, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love it. I like you, FV Foodie, but you really need to get in to local flavor.

    • Joe says

      Saying he doesn’t “get into local flavor” is kinda ridiculous…that’s all this blog is about, and he stated numerous times that he doesn’t like/plan to review chains.
      Sure Mihms is a local classic, but it’s not even that great. I grew up a mile from Mihms, and have ate there countless times. It’s worth going there because it’s a “local classic”, but IMO it’s not going to leave you craving to come back.

  2. Katherine says

    Just so everyone knows…if you like just a beef hamburger, without a lot of toppings, Five Guys prides itself on NO seasonings whatsoever in their burgers. Plan on using salt and pepper or having a very bland burger.

    I also have to vote for reviewing Mihm’s. The steakburgers there put any other burger I have ever had to shame. (Just remember to ask for “light on the butter.”)


  3. Steven says

    My wife and I just went to 5 Guys for the first time because of this review, and I must say, we were very impressed. Burgers and fries were delicious. I’m going to have to stand on your opinion to not review Mihms. I think one of the things that makes local business what it is is its pride and passion for what they do. This means that you should be supportive of other local businesses. To not support the “local nasty food trucks” to me means you are only in it for your own personal gain, and the passion is gone. I’ve never been to Mihms, nor will I ever for this very reason. I would take chain that cares about their food over a “local” restaurant that just wants to make a penny any day.

  4. AK says

    May I ask your problem with the Serious Burger owner? I enjoyed the restaurant the time I tried it, but the prices prevent me from going back with any regularity. I am a big fan of Wild Truffle though.

    • Fox Valley Foodie says

      I agree the food is good. However I have had conversations with a variety of people in the Fox Valley food industry who have had dealings with the owner and nobody seems to have anything positive to say about the man. As a matter of fact people seem to go out of their way to tell me unprompted horror stories about him. I found this review of the Wild Truffle that perfectly seems to reflect the personality others have described to me: (feel free to read more of the reviews, you will find multiple complaints about the owner)

      Recently even a family member of mine went to the Wild Truffle and had an identical experience where she was shuffled out the door by the owner in a very rude manner because he wanted to use their table. I want to promote locally owned business kicking out great food, but I’m not interested in promoting egotistical owners who don’t seem to appreciate their customers or anyone other than themselves really.

      • AK says

        I can’t say I’m surprised by that review. I have been to Wild Truffle probably 20 times in total, and I have been thrilled with the food each time. Especially my first few times at the restaurant, I did find Mark very awkward to be around. My husband and I referred to him as a creeper. He would sort of stalk our table, drop in, ask semi-awkward questions when we were clearly in the middle of a conversation. I also went with a large group once as part of a reservation, and our food was not timed well (pasta dishes came out significantly after pizzas), though this was a couple years ago just after they had expanded. I think Mark may have gotten to a point where he recognizes my husband and me, and we no longer feel bothered by him. It’s really a shame that he puts people off his restaurant(s), because it seems that everyone agrees on the quality of their food.

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