The big news in town this week with a lot of my friends, especially the ones from the Midwest and East Coast, is that a Five Guys Burger And Fries shop has opened in San Diego. It apparently opened about three weeks ago, but the reason why it was not really discovered until this week with my friends is because this first location in San Diego is tucked away in the food court of Naval Air Station North Island in Coronado. They aren’t advertising to the public because it’s on a military base and as a member of the general public you can’t just go on to a military base just because you want to try their new burger joint. You need someone with a Department of Defense sticker on their vehicle to get access to the base.
I wasn’t originally planning on heading out yesterday, but needed to head down to the county courthouse for some information and saw that one of my local friends, Dan Baggett, was planning on going and was looking to see if anyone wanted to join him. He said his friend Jack was going to join him and I decided I would meet up with them so that we could ride over to the base and check it out. It definitely sounded like a must try event since my other friend Joe Gray has posted to his Facebook account that he’s already been there twice in less than 48 hours and that in June when he was in Tennessee he went to a Five Guys three days in a row for lunch. So with that kind of recommendation, I had to check it out.
I met up with Dan and Jack at the 7-Eleven at the corner of University Avenue and Texas Street and we rode over in Dan’s vehicle to Coronado and drove right onto the base. In the years I’ve lived here, I’ve been over to Coronado a few times but never have been on the base there. The Commissary and Exchange where the Food Court is located was just inside the main gate so we didn’t get very far into the base, and we quickly parked and entered the food court. It certainly looked like we missed a big lunch rush as there were people there, but no big lines at any of the restaurants there.
As soon as I saw the Five Guys I knew I had seen one before and it took me a moment to think about where I saw one. I saw one in September during my layover on the way to New York at the Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C. They were busy and I thought about trying it, but I really wasn’t in the mood for a burger at 6 in the morning as I was just getting off a red eye flight from Los Angeles. I didn’t know at the time their burgers were anything special, had I have known, I would have certainly tried it. I was hungry but ended up not eating until much later in the day.
We walked right up to the Five Guys counter and didn’t have to wait in line at all. Dan pretty much knew what he wanted as he was the one of us who wasn’t a Five Guys Burger Virgin and went right up and ordered it. Jack and I stood back to check out the menu. I decided to just try the works pretty much and opted for a bacon cheeseburger and some fries. It was really nice they don’t seem to have a set way to dress the burger so they ask you what you want on the burger and you can pretty much read it down the list on the menu board, then there was the choice of regular or Cajun style fries, I just opted for the regular since I didn’t know what they’d taste like.
While waiting for my order, Dan’s order was ready first, he pointed out that they tend to not only fill their fry container but dump more into the bag than can possibly fit into the cup. So I gathered they’re quite generous with their fries. Jack’s burger and fries were next and then mine was last. We opted to sit outside on the patio since it was a nice day out.
I reached into my bag and pulled out my cup of fries and had to uncover the burger from the overflow of fries still in the bag. They definitely were generous. The fries definitely were like homemade ones with skins on and fried in peanut oil. They had malt vinegar on the counter which is definitely a favorite topping for these kind of fries. The burger was huge and wrapped in foil, it was delicious, definitely very good. I didn’t ask for a lettuce wrapped one, I just went with the bun, so I probably overshot my allowed sugar gram count and carbohydrate servings for the meal, but it was my only meal for the day so I’m sure I’ll be fine as I doubt it exceeded my maximum count for the day. I wanted to try the experience as it was intended for the first visit, I’ll worry about a lettuce wrap the next time I go.
Overall, Jack’s opinion was that In-N-Out Burgers are better than the Five Guys Burgers. In fact, he pointed to the top burger awards listed on the drink cup and said those areas are all places that don’t have an In-N-Out. I think they’re about equal but the Five Guys Burger is definitely meatier than an In-N-Out Burger, and there is a greater variety of toppings to put on the burger. In-N-Out is definitely cheaper as this outing was nearly $12 in total for the bacon cheeseburger, fries, and a drink. In-N-Out would have been about $6 or $7 for a similar meal but they don’t have bacon. The fries are definitely better at Five Guys and they get extra points from me for the availability of Malt Vinegar to put on them. In any case, it was a nice treat to try and one I look forward to trying again sometime. Many thanks to Dan for getting us onto the base to give Five Guys Burger a try.