November, 2011 – I recall a news story back in 2009 about President Obama executing a daring White House breakout and heading, without warning, to a D.C. burger joint called Five Guys. I used to live in Maryland about 40 minutes from the Mall. I truly loved to visit our Capitol and enjoyed taking visiting friends and family to the many museums and monuments.
At the time I thought, why can’t we here in Tucson have a burger joint so extraordinary that the President of the United States occasionally has to violate Secret Service protocol by sneaking out of the Oval Office to pay an unannounced visit, and order custom cheeseburgers for his entire entourage. Five Guys must be fantastic.
So you can image my delight when I read that Five Guys was coming to Tucson. It took me several months to get there, but there I was last week, hankerin’ for a juicy cheeseburger with all the fixins. You can order everything from a plain burger on a freshly made bun to as many as 15 toppings ranging from grilled mushrooms to hot sauce. No matter how many toppings you order with your burger or cheeseburger, there’s no extra charge.
It’s like In-N-Out Burger in that you place your order at one counter, a few minutes later they call your number, and you pick up your meal at another counter. I ordered a diet (I wish) cheeseburger with mayo, mustard, gilled onions and mushrooms. “Any fries with that?” she asked. I noticed a large sign on the wall – actually a testimonial – from some newspaper on Long Island that read: “Fries alone are not to be missed!”
I ordered fries, a small drink, and was given number 87. The place was packed, but I got my drink and some ketchup for my fries, found a seat and waited for my number to be called. The few minutes’ wait gave me time to peruse the large menu board above the counter. I read it twice thinking I had misread it, but nope, no sundaes or milk shakes. Hummm! Not exactly un-American, but …
“87! Number 87!”
I scrambled to the pick-up counter, got my meal and returned to my seat. Boy was I hungry. And there before me smelling really good was enough protein, carbos, fats, and calories to last me a week.
I unwrapped my diet cheeseburger and took a bite. Very good! Now for a few fries. I started to dip one in my paper cup of ketchup when I suddenly realized something was dreadfully wrong. My fries were limp and squishy. I tasted one. Yuck. I tried another. Definitely undercooked. At first I thought that I must have inadvertently been given a bad batch. I looked around at all the other diners munching on their limp, soggy, undercooked fries. Yuck!