It can't be said that Five Guys Burgers and Fries doesn't toot their horn. They have signs all over the joint blaring out as to how wonderful are their burgers and stuff. Heaven on a bun; Willy Wonkas of burgercraft; The Fine Dining of Hamburgers? Give me a break!
These same five guys seem to have stores all over the country, and this past Sunday, in a moment of "What the hell were we thinking?" we dropped in to their store at 4304 South Dale Mabry in Tampa. I am certain that every store is the same as every other Five Guys store. I doubt that this location is any better or worse than any other, but I am only going to comment on this one in south Tampa.
The store is bright, shiny, and Spartan with white walls and red and white tile work. My dining partner and I went up the the counter and ordered a cheeseburger for her and a hamburger for me with a side of regular French fries, a Coke and a cup of iced green tea. There was a short wait until our number was called out and we returned to the counter to pick up our order.
Contrary to what you may have heard or read, the burgers are not prepared as ordered. I ordered my burger cooked just medium rare. One of the guys behind the counter said that he and the other four guys only cook their meat well done - presumably to protect us all from some dreaded, exotic meat disease that can add flavor to their burgers.
My bride is good with that because she always orders her burgers "hockey puck" done. Other than that one little issue, both of us agreed that the Five Guys burgers were absolutely the most...uh, "Why did we do this?" like burgers we have ever had. To put it another way, it's not good, it's not bad, it's just uninspired fast food that doesn't live up to the hype.
There really are some gourmet hamburger places in Tampa, but this isn't one of them.