This East Coast cult favorite just beat In-N-Out to be named America’s favorite burger chain for the second year in a row — here’s what it’s like

Five Guys came out on top for the second year in a row.

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Five Guys came out on top for the second year in a row.
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Hollis Johnson

  • Five Guys, a Virginia-based chain, has topped Harris Poll’s survey of America’s favorite burger brands for the second year in a row.
  • Last year, the chain toppled In-N-Out from the No.1 spot.
  • Five Guys’ no-frills approach and humble yet solid menu shows how it grabbed the top position.

Long live Five Guys.

The East Coast burger chain famous for its simplicity and myriad toppings, once again claimed the top spot in the latest annual “Harris Poll EquiTrend” survey’s “Burger Brand of the Year” category.

Five Guys defended its title from an onslaught of 17 other famous burger chains – including Burger King, DQ, Carl’s Jr., Jack in the Box, McDonald’s, White Castle, Sonic, Wendy’s, Whataburger, Shake Shack, and the former champion who was unseated two years ago, In-N-Out Burger.

We visited a Five Guys restaurant in New York City to see if it’s worth the hype. Here’s what happened:


With nearly 1,500 locations worldwide and counting, the Washington, DC metro-based Five Guys chain is a behemoth in the burger world.

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Hollis Johnson

The design of Five Guys restaurants is decidedly different than most better-burger chains. Gone are the warm wood accents, brushed nickel, and dim light.

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Hollis Johnson

Instead there are simple utilitarian tables and chairs surrounded by white tile walls with the chain’s signature red-checker design. Five Guys feels like a clean, uniform, hole-in-the-wall deli — in the best way possible. There’s no fuss.

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Hollis Johnson

It’s truly counter service — order at the counter, pick up your food at another.

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Hollis Johnson

The menu is sans frills and flourishes. You can order burgers with choice of toppings, hot dogs, fries, and soda. Some locations — not all, unfortunately — offer milkshakes. The prices are similar to Smashburger’s, with the largest burger option just under $9.

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Hollis Johnson

The whole vibe of Five Guys is very no-fuss.

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Hollis Johnson

If you want, you can watch your entire burger be cooked and prepared from the grill to the bag in the open kitchen.

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Hollis Johnson

Just a brown bag dappled with grease is all you’re handed when your number is called — no table service here.

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Hollis Johnson

The serving sizes are, in a word, gargantuan. For those unfamiliar with Five Guys’ menu, a regular burger comes stuffed with two patties. One has to order a “little” burger to get a single-patty sandwich.

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Hollis Johnson

It’s the same with the fries. Sizes run from small to large, but large should be named “massive.” Often the cup will be filled to the top brimming with fries, only to have another scoop of fries thrown in the bag. Of course, this isn’t bad. They’re amazing — I recommend the spicy and savory “Cajun-style” fries.

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Hollis Johnson

With your choice of free toppings, there are endless combinations, but it’s still a good old-fashioned burger. There are no premium options or special burgers to satisfy the fickle gourmand.

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Hollis Johnson

Your burger will be, inevitably, a patty – or two – in a sesame bun with whatever you decide to put on it, be it onions, cheese, bacon, pickles, tomato, etc., of decent but not extraordinary quality or freshness.


Is it an adrenaline-pumping, taste-bud-bewildering experience? No. It’s a simple burger that’s filling and delicious in a guilty sort of way. Five Guys is comfortable with that approach — and it’s working.

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Hollis Johnson

As the better-burger industry evolves, there’s something to be said for restaurants that serve an honest, humble burger in a no-frills environment. It’s the classic American burger enterprise.