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Time for the burger taste tests

With Monday’s opening of Eureka!Burger and today’s opening of Five Guys Burgers and Fries, we finally get a chance to taste and judge their dishes.

Check out my column today for the stores’ locations and hours of operation — and to see why I think the real burger war is between Five Guys and In-N-Out Burger across the street from River Park.

Here are some photos from my trips to Five Guys and Eureka!Burger:

1. In my column, I said the grilled onions and mushrooms were skimpy on the Five Guys’ burger I bought last week while on vacation in Maryland:

maryland2.jpg

2. And here’s another look at it. This one is a “little cheeseburger” with a single patty:

maryland1.jpg

3. Compare this to the regular cheeseburger I had at River Park, with two patties. This one has toppings of lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, ketchup and mustard. As you can see, the burger is a little crumpled from the foil wrapping:

fiveguyscheeseburger.JPG

Frankly, I’m not a fan of the foil. My take-out burger in Maryland was a little soggy by the time I got back to my relatives’ house. I prefer In-N-Out’s paper wrapping, which helps prevent sogginess and gives their burgers a better appearance.

4. But I’d rather have Five Guys’ fries instead of the ones at In-N-Out. Five Guys’s fries are bigger, and they give you lots of them. Here’s my cup of fries. (There were still a lot left in the bag):

fiveguysfries.jpg

5. While waiting for your order at Five Guys, you can snack on free peanuts:

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6. Here’s a shot of the menu:

fiveguysmenu.JPG

7. And some shots of the exterior and dining room:

fiveguysexterior.jpg

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8. Now we move to Eureka!Burger. Mike showed you a bunch of photos from his visit last weekend, so I’ll stick to the food.

Here’s the Fresno Fig Burger, with housemade fig marmalade, melted goat cheese, crispy bacon, minced tomato, onion, arugula and a spicy porter mustard sauce.

I like the emphasis on using local ingredients, such as fresh figs and buns made by Max’s Bistro and Bakery:

eurekafigburger.jpg

9. Eureka!Burger was quick to point out that they do much more than just burgers. Here’s its shrimp po boy sandwich, with buttermilk-battered, deep-fried shrimp on a housemade roll with coleslaw:

eurekapoboy.jpg

10. The gold rush beet salad is one of the six salads on Eureka!Burger’s menu. It has vinaigrette-tossed greens with roasted beets, candied pecans, dried cranberries, and breaded medallions of goat cheese:

eurekabeetsalad.jpg

11. Of Eureka!Burger’s desserts, the Santa Cruz Boardwalk Candy is the most popular. It’s honey-cured bacon topped with melted chocolate, chopped walnuts and dulce de leche:

eurekabacon.jpg

The mint garnish seems silly here, but hey, I’m not a fan of sticking mint on something just for a bit of color.

This would work much better with a chocolate shell (couverture, perhaps?) instead of melted chocolate. That way, it wouldn’t be so messy.

And I’d prefer a stronger caramel flavor than chocolate flavor, but that’s just me. Anyone with a fascination for bacon in dessert will likely be happy with this one.

So, there you have it. Check out both new burger spots, then come back and tell us what you think.

Responses to "Time for the burger taste tests"

Um says:

Is it just me, or does that burger look like five guys stepped on it before they gave it to you?

floydy says:

this is a good post.

Russ says:

I’ve eaten at Five Guys in North Dakota and Montana. I have to say that they will give In and Out a run for their money. I do travel a lot and have to sample the local food where ever I end up. Anyone that tries FG’s will be pleasantly suprised!

Joan Obra says:

That’s why I don’t like the foil wrapping. It really crushes the bun.

Bryan Harley says:

Agree, Russ. I tried Five Guys when I was in DC and it’s excellent! Very excited to have one in Fresno.

I haven’t heard this mentioned, but Five Guys also has really good hot dogs!

mikefast says:

I would agree that Five Guys will definitely give In and Out a run for its money. I had Five Guys in Idaho and I loved it. I like the variety of toppings and 1 order of fries will serve 2 people easily. And you get peanuts while you wait!
I am also excited to try Eureka Burger. I like all this burger mania in Fresno. Colorado Grill, In and Out, The Habit, Eureka and now Five Guys!

The only bad thing I can take from this is that it will not help my diet at all.

floydy says:

this is a pretty good post.

Kristin says:

I ate at Five Guys last night for the friends and family of employee’s. I was so impressed!

SERVICE: The service was great for everybody’s first day. Even though it’s an order & sit place I had someone offer to refill my drink for me and clear my trash when I was finished.

FOOD: Foil wrapping? Don’t really care that distorts the bun, has no effect on the taste. The overall taste of the burger was great! Just like a homemade burger. I wish I clued into the free toppings before I ordered. Grilled Onions & mushrooms, YUM! The fries are too addicting already! I think it’s a good combination of Carl’s fries & In-N-Out’s fries. Very delicious.

PRICE: The price point seems a little high for a college student like myself. Over $4-$6 for any burger, $2.50+ for a regular fry (more than enough for 1 person), and $1.50+ for a regular soda. That’s not too bad for a night out to the movies, but too much a regular night of dining. In-N-Out wins for me there. They also don’t offer a meal-deal choice, which is interesting.

Overall, It’s somewhere I’d stop again for a bite to eat. I hope they do well!

GoDogs21 says:

Tried Five Guys today. Had a Cheeseburger, (comes with 2 patties) a regular fry and a large drink, ($11.31) This place is sort of like In N Out but on steroids. Thicker fresh patties, thicker fresh cut fries. Burger tastes more like a backyard BBQ burger. I did enjoy the flavor. Fries were ok, just had salt I think they have Cajun but I missed out. Their topping selection includes fresh mushrooms if you like at no charge. The district Mgr from Utah told me if you order a bacon cheeseburger they will give you extra bacon or cheese free. To go sit down and have a fresh burger I definitely think it a great option. If you’re into low price, In N Out or Fat Jacks have them beat. I believe if you want a burger a little notch above In N Out you will like this place. Next up is Eureka burger, more gourmet with a good looking beer selection. I already think I will enjoy it more.

Heather says:

$11.31! Sheesh.

paul says:

For $11.36, you get a very gourmet upscale burger, fresh hand-cut fries and beverage at Eureka!Burger. Eureka!Burger has great food, but it’s about “eater-tainment” … lots of fun at Eureka. Same prices as Red Robin and a whole lot better and way more fun!!

Kristin says:

Agreed! My point exactly!

floydy says:

this really is an excellent post.

The things I remember most when I go on vacation are usually all food-related. Having said that, Five Guys definitely made a lasting impression on me on my last trip to D.C. in a very good way. The burgers are nothing short of amazing.

Hilda says:

5guys= EXCELLENT burgers!! Delicious is an understatment tho only had it post-drinking early AM hours- but nothing tops INO!!

Dan says:

Floydy did you like this post? Seriously felt the need to post 3 times that this is a good/pretty good/excellent post.

Joan Obra says:

Floyd likes me. :)

Actually, his comments got stuck in the Spam blocker until Mike Oz rescued them — which makes me appreciate Floyd’s persistence even more.

gena says:

went to five guys on their opening day and was pleased that it lived up to the hype i’ve been hearing from my friends who live and/or travel to DC. it was fresh, tasty, and much more satisfying than a similar order at in-n-out, but… it was also more expensive (i ordered the little hamburger “all the way,” regular fries and a small drink — total: $8.91).

since i ate it on the premises, i didn’t mind the foil wrapping on the burger, but i could see how it would make the burger soggy if ordered to-go. the fries were also WAY better than the cardboard sticks in-n-out passes off as fries and the serving was enough for 2 people. i also liked how five guys also offers bottles of malt vinegar in addition to ketchup (and the free peanuts are also a nice touch).

i met one of the franchise owners (and his 86-year old mother), who said they’re planning on rolling out maybe 5 locations in fresno/clovis and several more throughout the central valley. looks like they’re gonna try to give in-n-out a run for their money. for taste & quality, my vote goes to five guys, hands down. but it’s still hard to beat in-n-out for a good, cheap lunch on-the-go.

A little late, but if you enjoy burgers and the sound of Patrick Warburton’s voice, you might want to consider checking out:

http://www.cheeseandburger.com

George B. Feist (DUKE) says:

The burger at 5 guys is ONLY AS GREAT AS WHAT YOU ASK FOR…you can ask for EXTRA ONIONS, or the works, or not much at all. There are two patties on the regular burger. I had the small one patty burger…perfect for me because I had the works…my favorite part of my meal was THE REGULAR ORDER OF FRIES!!… a huge amount of fries!!! More than enough for two people…in fact I brought have home…and they are not pencil thin like Pismos which I detest…the are potatoes!!!…with tasty skins left on…5 GUYS is great….Eureka is too…the burgers start at 8 bucks…and your bill can easily get over $12…a beer on tap was $5 during “happy” hour…. I will go back next time I am near the theaters in River Park. Much better than that last place…Johnny Rockets.