Fast Foodie

I wasn’t headed here, you have to believe me. My goal was to check out the progress of Urban Taco and Max’s Wine Dive in the Quarry Market, but neither was yet open (both should be by the time you read this), and, well, a guy gets hungry. So there was Five Guys, no more than a few steps away. It looked uncluttered, not too fast-foody, there wasn’t a line …

The Five Guys menu is a paragon of simplicity: a hamburger either plain or with cheese, bacon, or both cheese and bacon, in both regular and “little” sizes. Ditto the dogs — except only in one size. A veggie, a cheese-veggie, and grilled-cheese sandwich. Two sizes of fries in Five Guys or Cajun style. And soft drinks or bottled water. That’s it. Oh, you have a choice of many, many free toppings, including grilled onions and grilled mushrooms — the only possible reason for hemming and hawing at the order register. You can shortcut the decision-making process by asking for “all the way,” which automatically gives you eight out of 15. “Seven minutes,” said the order-taker of my little bacon cheeseburger all the way.

While you wait those few minutes, you can peruse the reviews FG has received from around the country. Of course, they’ve picked the glowing ones, but glow they do. Once this gets tiresome, and it does quickly, sashay on over to the carton of peanuts on the shell and scoop yourself a small container full. (This I only learned by watching other patrons; it’s not made apparent unless the notice on the door warning of their presence is clue enough. The warning is doubtless meant as a caveat to those allergic to peanuts in any form, but it does arouse curiosity.) “Ron!” Seven and a half minutes; yes, I was counting.

The burger and fries will come to you in a brown paper bag, conveniently pre-stained with grease — peanut oil, in fact. Eat the fries first; they are very good when hot, less so as they cool down. The hand-formed burger will have been cooked to just above medium, the bun is coated with sesame seeds, and the toppings ooze forth in Technicolor splendor — so much so that the first few bites net mostly lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, et al. Persevere, for the patty is actually quite good — nicely charred and boasting decently beefy flavor. In fact, if it weren’t that the bun totally disintegrates (I’d leave out the ketchup to reduce wet stuff, but maybe choose jalapeños to add hot stuff) I’d rate this as one of the best I’ve had in town — and it costs $4.89, plus tax.

The only thing I miss — since burgers always seem like an indulgence, and one might as well go “all the way” here, too — is a milkshake. But I can see why they don’t do it, as making them would totally interrupt the flow or require a dedicated shaker, or both. Saved from myself once again.

Five Guys Burgers and Fries
260 E Basse Rd. Suite 107
(210) 822-6200


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