It was unlike walking into any other fast-food restaurant.
Workers at Five Guys Burgers and Fries are some of the most energetic people. Never have I seen such enthusiasm coming from employees at or . The crew of about 10 people quickly moved around behind the front counter like a team.
I'm not sure what drew me to eating at Five Guys, the new burger joint located in the , but I seemed rather anxious. Its opening was touted by Lakewood City Manager Andrew Neiditz during a recent City Council meeting.
Was it really that good? Yes and no.
While Red Robin is still my favorite place to eat a burger in Lakewood, Five Guys has a different feel than any other fast-food restaurant in the nearby area.
To start, there's no drive-through. It's squeezed between and Gentle Dent across the street from . I parked near the .
I later found out there's a rear entrance and parking behind the building. That's how I'm entering next time.
After my visit on a sunny Thursday afternoon, I was satisfied with the overall experience and quality of food. The interior is large and contains about 30 tables. Tables sit outside for customers during the summer.
"Nine in the door!"
Those were the first words I heard walking into Five Guys with eight other people. I waited in line while people sitting down chomped into their big, juicy burgers.
Oh, yeah. There was no turning back.
I was impressed with how quick I arrived at the front. By the time I looked behind me, a flood of people had came. I love beating a rush.
The lady at the cash register was nice. I wasn't sure how to read the menu, so I inquired amongst the loudness around me. The Little Burgers are single patty. The others are double.
Tell the person what you want on your burger, but make it fast. There are beef-craving zombies drooling behind you.
I snapped into it and ordered the Cheeseburger ($5.89) with a number of condiments. Rarely do you see grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, jalapeño peppers, green peppers and A1 Steak Sauce on the menu.
The burgers are supposed to be 100 percent fresh beef. One of their claims to fame is their fries are cooked in pure, no cholesterol, tasty peanut oil.
You can sure tell the difference, too.
Along with my burger, I ordered some French fries. I was wondering what the man was sprinkling on them while I waited in line. That must have been the Cajun salt he was working on.
I proceeded with a regular order of Cajun style fries ($4.79).
Maybe next time I'll return and order one of their hot dogs. I spotted a bacon cheese dog ($4.89). Along with that, Five Guys serves sandwiches, including grilled cheese ($3.19).
I waited less than seven minutes before a young man wearing a red and white outfit called my name. It was go time.
Although my order of Cajun fries—they're served in a cup you'd normally use to drink water out of— was just a regular, it seemed more like a large. I've seen fries escape into the brown bag but this was a bed of rebellious fries lying around waiting to be devoured.
I paid close to $10. I could have paid about the same and gone to Red Robin, but there's no obligation to tip here.
After unwrapping the silver foil, I took a huge bite into the burger. It was delicious. The patty was sized proportionately to the bun. The jalapeños added a spicy twist.
The Cajun fries were my favorite part. Still warm from the deep fryer, Five Guys' seasoning salt kicked harder than Johnny's Seasoning Salt and the patented Red Robin seasoning salt.
At the end of the day, no burger tastes better than a grilled patty in your backyard. But if you're looking for something pretty close to that, Five Guys Burgers and Fries is a good spot to choose.
Man on the street
I approached a man I'd seen eating after walking out of the restaurant. I introduced myself and asked him about his impression of the new burger joint.
"I was expecting the beef to be a little more flavorful," said Pat Carlson, who works at an office furniture store in Lakewood. He ordered a Little Cheeseburger and regular fry.
He said he liked Carl's Jr. more, mainly because you can get a burger and fry for a cheaper price and the food tastes about the same.
Carlson will probably be back, but he's not going out of his way.
Who: Five Guys Burgers and Fries
What: Fast-food restaurant
Where: 5605 Lakewood Towne Center Blvd., Lakewood WA, 98499
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day
Online: Order online at www.fiveguys.com