Over the weeks, months, and, now, years that I've been plugging away at A Hamburger Today, I've probably gotten more emails like this about this regional chain than for any other burger chain small or large. And in all those months, I've never had the occasion to truck down to D.C. Instead, I've watched as the red states on the Five Guys locator map (right) grew in number and crept up the East Coast. At one point months and months ago, New York lit up red on this map, but that first Empire State Five Guys was in Schenectady—upstate and still not easily accessible for a nondriving city-dwelling burger dude.
So when news hit that a Five Guys would open in Brooklyn, a short subway ride from my home, I was jazzed. What I didn't know was that there was already a Five Guys in New York City; it had opened quietly on April 1 in a tucked-away part of Queens.
Half the Fun Whoever said "getting there is half the fun" must have had a full stomach. If you don't have a car, it's a bit of a chore to get to the Five Guys in the College Point section of Queens. Hopstop.com recommends taking the Long Island Railroad, followed by a 20-stop bus ride.
Matty and I took out a Zipcar instead, and after some mishaps and a few wrong turns, we eventually pulled in to a small recently built strip mall in College Point about a half hour before closing time.
Yes, burgers here, unfortunately, are cooked to well-done as per company policy. While this would seemingly result in a dry puck of a burger, ours, while not dripping with juices, were moist enough. The 3.3-ounce patties are packed moderately loose by hand each morning and are cooked atop a griddle, which, along with the coarse grind, makes for a great crunchy crust. The joint gets the cheese-melt just right, too.
A "hamburger" ($4.49) or "cheeseburger" ($5.09) here is by default a double-patty sandwich. If you want a single patty, you'll have to order a "little hamburger" ($3.09) or "little cheeseburger" ($3.69). Bacon is 60¢ extra across the board. All other topping options are provided at no extra cost, but you have to ask for them—otherwise your burger comes naked.
If the College Point location is any indication of what quality will be at the Brooklyn Heights store, I'll be making regular trips to Montague Street. These burgers (at least those we had last night) rival those of the Shake Shack.
Related: Brooklyn Heights locals debate the merits of Five Guys vs. established neighborhood joints [Brooklyn Heights Blog]
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