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5 Guys

/ Updated on August 5, 2015

5 Guys ranks as one of the great expansion success stories of the decade. They started out in Alexandria, VA in 1986 as a humble burger joint with an amazing concept: A limited menu and consistent quality. Sticking with that philosophy, they've managed to thrive in spite of whatever “economic downturn” that TV news loves to trumpet ad nauseum.

5 Guys now has over 450 locations in 30 states. They must be doing something right. One of the things they do right is to never serve a hamburger that's been frozen. Their facilities don't even have freezers! Any burger connoisseur can tell the difference. A fresh hamburger is firm and juicy with meaty texture (almost like a steak) and a savory smell. Frozen ground meat is mushy, because the freezing process damages the cells. 5 Guys also uses expensive peanut oil for their fries. That's not only responsible for the good taste but also for the dark color (we DE fry lovers are used to that already thanks to Ocean City's Thrasher's French Fries).

Toppings include mayo, relish, onions, pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, ketchup, mustard, jalapenos, green peppers, A-1 Sauce, BBQ sauce and hot sauce. As a service to you, my valued reader, I stayed up all night calculating the statistical combinations: There are over 250,000 ways to order a 5 Guys burger! (OK, so I stole it off their website.)

It's burgers, dogs and fries. That's it. A few stores have a couple of other things like grilled cheese, etc., but you go there for the burgers, dogs and fries. I love the regular (2 patties, of course) bacon cheeseburger with extra mustard, extra pickles and jalapeno peppers (fresh, bright green and crispy, nothing limp and pickled out of a jar, thank you). It's hard to pass up the hot dog, too. It's Kosher style (all beef), firm, snappy and delicious with a hint of garlic. Of course, any of the toppings may also be applied to the dog.

Regular visitors to RehobothFoodie.com know that I harp on the type of rolls served with sandwiches and subs. 5 Guys has yet to serve me a stale or hard bun. In fact, the way they serve the burger (wrapped in foil and placed under the steaming fries in a brown paper bag) helps keep the bun moist and integrated into the toppings. It becomes a cohesive, single entity, ready — nay, anxious — to be devoured by those who are discerning enough to know the difference.

The fresh patties are plopped onto a very hot flat top griddle, instantly searing the outside to a dark, beefy cocoa color (known as the Maillard reaction, truth be told). This is the beginning of their signature taste. The burgers are then cooked to medium well — all of them (more about that later). At the same time, the rolls are prepped assembly line-style with the toppings. Off the griddle, hot and steaming, right onto the roll, and then wrapped in foil to await the avalanche of fries.

I became a 5 Guys follower when they opened their first Delaware store in Bethany Beach. That particular franchisee's second store in Lewes is now closed, but the one in downtown Rehoboth is open and busy. Said franchisee is no longer associated with those stores.

I always worry about places like this that have a winning concept, but naturally depend on their in-store help to make it right. A cook with a bad attitude, or a distracted order-taker on her cellphone can ruin an entire experience. Look at places like Wendy's and Popeye's, for example, that actually have (the potential for) good fast food, but have become known for HUGE variations from location to location, depending on the caliber — and the attitude du jour — of the kitchen and counter help. Of course, it's all in the management! The proverbial fish rots from the head down, and that's particularly true for restaurants where the success is in the details. Guys, all five of you, listen to this militant Foodie: Keep good, caring and well-trained management in all your stores, all the time. Every employee you hire stands squarely between your cherished concept and the customer. (Thank you for indulging my homily.)

In a nutshell, no fast food here. Every burger is cooked to order, and the fries are cooked in small batches. Be ready to wait until they're ready. Note that THIS IS NOT A BAD THING. The foil-wrapped sandwich is hot and juicy. Fries that are firm on the outside and creamy on the inside do not survive under an infrared heat lamp.

I have a couple of friends who sanctimoniously complain that 5 Guys will not serve them a rare hamburger. Apparently 5 Guys (and I assume most of you out there) don't share these people's fascination with the potential for food-borne illnesses. ANY ground meat, anywhere, has that potential, and I admire 5 Guys' insistence on reducing that possibility to the absolute minimum. Keep it up, Guys!

You can call for carryout, and even order online at fiveguys.com. After some unpleasantness between the former owners and the franchisor corporation, the Lewes store is history, but downtown Rehoboth Beach and Bethany Beach are up ‘n' grillin'..

The corporation is insisting that the Rehoboth and Bethany stores remain open 7 days, from 11am 'til 10pm all year. Interestingly, more and more people know this and they are often busy on mid-winter nights. I admire the company for its patience and perseverance. Rehoboth is (302) 727-5470, and Bethany is (302) 539-3970. Click here for 5 Guys' menu. (L., D.) Price Range: Inexpensive -.

Off-season Specials & Hours

Specials & Moods change quickly. Always call a restaurant first.

pp = per person.
BOGO = buy one, get one.
Bloody = bloody mary.
domestics = American-made beers (e.g., Bud).
imports = foreign beers (e.g., Heineken).
Rails = non call-brand alcohol.
Prix Fixe = one set price.
Mains = entrees.
Margs = margaritas.
Chix = chicken.
AYCE = all you can eat.
Lite = Miller Lite
drafts = draught beer.
Early Birds = arrive before a certain time.
Apps = Appetizers.
bottles = beer in a bottle.
à la carte = order off the menu (no prix fixe).
crafts = micro/artisanal brews (e.g., Old Leghumper Lager)

47A Rehoboth Ave.
(302) 727-5470

Open 11 'til 10 all year.
Order online at www.fiveguys.com
Open 11 'til 10 all year.
Order online at www.fiveguys.com
Open 11 'til 10 all year.
Order online at www.fiveguys.com
Open 11 'til 10 all year.
Order online at www.fiveguys.com
Open 11 'til 10 all year.
Order online at www.fiveguys.com
Open 11 'til 10 all year.
Order online at www.fiveguys.com
The Rehoboth Foodie

About the Author

"My goal is to promote Rehoboth Beach dining while remaining honest and impartial. I don’t gush unless a place deserves it, and I don’t pull punches, either. With so many good places to eat around here, it just doesn’t make sense to waste the calories — or the money — on anything less." View all articles written by The Rehoboth Foodie

Add Your Comment
  1. Avatar DMac says:

    I agree with the Foodie. Five-Guys is great with only one exception. The noise level is awful. They play music that very few people enjoy, at a decibel level that no one could enjoy. Perhaps the problem is that they leave it at the same volume whether the place is packed with people, or whether there’s only a few. This is a continually annoying problem at the Rehoboth location.

  2. Avatar Barbara Teal says:

    Too greasy for my taste. My first stop in CA is In-n-Out Burger, and 5 Guys doesn’t even come close.

  3. Avatar UPDATER says:

    My apologies to the Foodie. I believed that the Rehoboth 5 Guys was closed, until I saw a 5 Guys cup on the boardwalk today. I then re-read your review and found the Rehoboth 5 Guys phone number. When I called it, THEY ANSWERED! I was shocked, but in a good way! They really need to advertise, because everyone I know thinks they closed when the Lewes store closed.

  4. Avatar UPDATER says:

    Both the Lewes and Rehoboth 5-Guys closed months ago. Why the reviews are still running is a mystery.

  5. Avatar Sandy Conway says:

    I always go to the Lewes location.The parking is so much better then trying to get into Rehoboth. I noticed a few deferences between the two locations and I perfer the Lewes 5 guys the manager and employees are always so nice and I love the fact it is a FEMALE manager she keeps the place clean and the bathrooms are always spotless! The food seems a little fresher and the burger is always cooked to perfection. Never over cooked or orders being misplaced. Hats off to the employees and making the location clean and friendly

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