Back in May, Five Guys opened their second Dublin location (after their Dundrum outlet) on George’s Street. Right in the heart of city centre, they’re in direct competition with Dublin’s burger greats: Wowburger and Bunsen. So, how does Five Guys measure up?
Back when I was writing Dublin Burger Scene, I noted that Five Guys is what made me really start to understand and value burgers. When I first started visiting Dublin in 2010 and when I eventually moved here in 2013, there was no parallel. Then we got Bunsen and Wowburger; their popularity proved that there was definitely a market for the diner style burgers-only format, but more importantly, they satisfied my Five Guys craving such that I didn’t really need Five Guys itself anymore. For that reason, I never even made it out to the Dundrum location, but with their handy location now in city centre, I would be neglecting my responsibilities as a blogger if I didn’t check it out. Here’s what you need to know:
The Restaurant and Menu
Five Guys keep the decor and menu consistent throughout all of their restaurants, and that’s not a bad thing. Accompanying their red and white motif, the walls are covered in newspaper and magazine clippings naming them the best burger in a plethora of locations, and quotes from articles gushing about their deliciousness. The kitchen is exposed, busy, and orderly. As is necessary for any burger chain that wants to keep quality consistent across multiple locations (or almost 1,500 as is the case for Five Guys), they have a tried and true method for creating great burgers. Their menu is simple, and Wowburger undoubtedly drew inspiration from the burger section (seriously, their menus are nearly identical):
- Bacon Burger
- Bacon Cheeseburger
- Little Hamburger
- Little Cheeseburger
- Little Bacon Burger
- Little Bacon Cheeseburger
The standard sizes are doubles, whereas a “Little” is just a single. You can choose any and all toppings to customize the burger to your tastes, at no extra price: Mayo, Lettuce, Pickles, Tomatoes, Grilled Onions, Grilled Mushrooms, Ketchup, Mustard, Relish, Onions, Jalapeño Peppers, Green Peppers, Bar-B-Que Sauce, Hot Sauce, HP Sauce
They do branch out a bit with some burger alternatives:
- Hot Dog (+ Cheese/Bacon/Bacon Cheese)
- Grilled Cheese
- Veggie Sandwich
- Cheese Veggie Sandwich
Although the Bacon Cheese Dog is tempting, we’re 100% here for the burgers. Still, it’s nice that they have options, in case you’re out with a veggie pal.
For sides, you have two options
- Cajun Fries
These are perfect, fresh cut chips, halfway between skinny and chunky. I can’t honestly say that I’ve tried them not cajun, because the Cajun Fries are really really good. And the orders huge.
Last but not least, let’s talk drinks, because their beverages are kind of delightful. They’ve got Coca-Cola Freestyle machines, which supposedly offer 165 different flavor combos, as well as choose your own (unlimited) mix-ins milkshakes:
- Malted Milk
- Oreo Cookie Pieces
- Peanut Butter
- Salted Caramel
They also sell beer!
And though not on the menu, let’s not forget about the free peanuts (“monkey nuts” as they’re called in Ireland), available to snack on while you wait.
My go-to order is the Little Cheeseburger with Grilled Mushrooms and Grilled Onions. We also ordered a large Cajun Fries between the four of us, and although we aren’t always ones for soda, I encouraged everyone to try to the Coca-Cola Freestyle machine. I also followed the meal with a Malted Milk, Salted Caramel, and Oreo Milkshake.
Visually, my burger was less than inspiring. That in itself is inconsequential, however the under-grilled mushrooms and onions which contributed to it were also a miss texturally. That said, the burger itself was delicious: excellent flavour and good surface area contact with the grill. The mushrooms and onions weren’t horrible, and they are probably just have some fine tuning to do, since my visit was back in early June, right after they’d opened.
It’s a universal truth that double burgers are much more aesthetic. I found myself longingly eyeing my sister-in-law’s double from across the table, even as I devoured my own.
Beautiful, crispy on the outside, soft and potatoey on the inside, sprinkled in spicy cajun powder. The fries are piled high, such that they spill out over the top of the cup and into the bag. You then tear open the bag to access the rest. This is tradition.
The Soft Drinks
I’ll admit that I love gimmicks so I was very excited about this customisable drink experience. Fountain drinks with free refills are a rarity in Ireland, but a source of nostalgia for many Americans (like childhood obesity). At least when I was growing up, it was basically a rite of passage to go up to the fountains and mix up your own gross flavor combination. This was necessary to express your creativity and exceptional palate. Root beer + Sprite + Orange Soda is good, it tastes exactly like sugar. So yeah, this machine takes me back to my childhood, but rather than just offering you the chance to mix up different soda (which you can absolutely do if you so choose), it lets you pick the soda, then choose how you’d like to flavor it. Of course you can just have a regular drink too, but doesn’t Raspberry Coke sound neat? Hold up though, before you get too excited, because at least when we visited, every flavour that I wanted to try was not available. I think I ended up getting Powerade because tbh I was pretty buzzed and needed to hydrate, so it was a good choice.
Given that you don’t have to pay extra for add-ins, and that all of the add-ins sound delicious, you could technically get a milkshake with every single add-in, and it might be amazing. I have yet to try that, but will update you if I do (likewise, please comment if you have done this, and the result).
I got Salted Caramel, Malted Milk, and Oreo. Nice distribution of flavours and consistency, and a great end to the meal.
How Does it Measure Up?
I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, but how does it compare to Five Guys’ usual standards and to the other burger offerings in Dublin?
vs. Five Guys in other locations
I think that Five Guys did a great job transplanting their proven formula to the George’s Street location. The place simply has a good vibe. The bright, vibrant space makes me happy. I’d like a bit more grilling on my mushrooms and onions, but it was still a pleasurable eating experience. I have noted that even without considering the conversation from USD to EUR, the Dublin prices are still higher than those in America.
vs. other burger joints in Dublin
I would put Five Guys on par with the Dublin burger greats, and their pricing is comparable, falling between Wow Burger and Bunsen on most menu items. It’s more fast food than Bunsen: you order at the counter, and you can’t specify done-ness for your burger. Very similar menu to Wowburger, but with more non-burger options. I do think that they win for speed, being part of a huge chain that has its processes nailed down definitely helps with that. There’s also something really comforting about the familiarity (like going to Subway or McDonald’s in a foreign country), but of course that only comes into play if it is actually familiar to you.
57 South Great George’s Street, Dublin 2
Open from 11am to 10pm Sunday to Wednesday, till 11pm Thursday to Saturday