Story & Photo – Joseph Boyle
Last week a young woman invited me to lunch. She is really young too; age 5. So I was thinking, where do I take a woman age 5 for lunch?
I got it, Five Guys Burgers & Fries. This is a new Lakewood restaurant whose management has violated an old real estate principle, “Location, location, location”.
Five Guys is tucked into the back Northeast corner of the Lakewood Towne Center between Pierce Transit Center and Panera Bread. The location is so well hidden from the beaten path; I had to drop Panera breadcrumbs to find my way back home. The address is 5605 Towne Center Blvd SW, Lakewood, Washington 98499. The phone number is 253-582-4897.
When we went there, the joint was jumping. There were lots of diners and a noticeable loud din of conversation. Obviously, word of mouth has overcome the location violation.
The service was quick and the fast food was tasty. I had the Little Burger and my guest had the dog. We fought over the fries. A small fry is good for two people. A large fry serves 3 people.
Next time, I think I will order take-out and enjoy our savory meal in a quieter environment.
There are four ways to order your meal: 1. Conventional, go there and stand in line. 2. Order by phone (253-582-4897). 3. Order on line. 4. Smart phone 5-Guys App order. The iPhone App order process is the most fun.
As you enter the establishment be sure to not miss the large box of complimentary peanuts. The peanuts are something to munch on as you prepare to order your epicurean delight.
The menu is straightforward and focuses on burgers, dogs, sandwiches (Veggie Sandwich & Grilled Cheese Sandwich), fries and drinks. If you order a burger, they start off with two choices, Hamburger & Little Burger. The Hamburger has two meat patties for $5.19. The Little Burger is the exact same size burger as the Hamburger, but it only has one meat patty for $3.79. That was my economical choice. The burger comes plain and then you add to it from a long list of 18 extras options including grilled onions and grilled mushrooms, generally at no extra cost.
While the menu is simple to negotiate, there are over 250,000 possible ways to design your burger. You can choose to select the “hit me with the basics” option and you end up with all the extras listed in black.
My appetite goes beyond food. I also have an appetite for business history.
The Five Guys got its name when Jerry and Janie Murrell advised their 5 sons, (Five Guys), to go to college or start a business. It was in 1986 when the family launched their first Five Guys Burgers & Fries in Arlington, Virginia.
By 2001, Five Guys opened five more locations in the Washington D.C. area. Following this expansion they noticed their business prospered from a cult-like following of loyal customers.
In about 2002, they started to franchise Five Guys resulting in over 900 locations in 46 states and 6 Canadian provinces.
In addition to buying food, I immediately wanted to buy stock in the company. Alas, that is not an option since they have not gone public.
While I would like to tell you more about the Five Guys, all this talk about food is making me hungry. I am going to fire up my iPhone and order a burger and fries.