5 Guys, 50 Workers, 500 Customers, 5000 Calories

Thousands of Westporters from the 1960s have orgasmic memories of burgers from Big Top.

Chubby Lane’s owned the ’70s; Fuddruckers the ’80s.

The ’10s belong to Five Guys.

My burger was half this size.

Westport’s newest favorite restaurant has drawn rave reviews.  The parking lot is always packed — and because many of those cars belong to high school students, I’ve stayed away.  Hungry teenagers who’ve had their drivers licenses for 12 hours, combined with lines stretching out the door in sub-freezing temperatures, is not my cup of tea.

But a window of opportunity opened the other day — there was an open spot, and it wasn’t even the handicap one! — so I zoomed in, just like a teenager.  I had to see what all the hype was about.

I eat red meat maybe once a week.  So I ordered the dubiously named “Little Cheeseburger.”  (I heard snickers from the guys behind me in line.  Hey, shut up — I’m a little guy.)

I had studied the toppings menu while waiting, but with a dozen or so folks waiting behind to order, I felt some performance anxiety.  I blurted out a combination of onions, lettuce, pickle, jalapeno peppers, ketchup and relish.  Hey, there’s no accounting for taste.  The ETA, I was told was “7 minutes.”

Six minutes later — remember, kids, when you go into business:  Under-promise, and over-deliver — my “little cheeseburger” was bagged and handed over.

It certainly tasted good.  My bizarre list of toppings hit the spot.  And all for a mere $4.76 (and 654 calories).

I filled my red-meat quota for the week (month) (winter).    You can be sure that — just as soon as I finish digesting it, some time in April — I will be back for more.

15 responses to “5 Guys, 50 Workers, 500 Customers, 5000 Calories

  1. Excellent point about the under promise-over deliver way of doing service! I am been noticing that here in America firms are tending to over promise and deliver nuttin’. Burger sounds good enough to eat, ya?

  2. Ah, Chubby Lane’s! Yes, it brings back memories. But, we in Southern California have something that you can’t get in 06880, which is about as close as you get get to Chubby’s and Five Guys. Have you ever heard of In-N-Out? Here’s a link: http://www.in-n-out.com Each time our daughter (a college student in CT) comes home to visit, the first thing she says when we pick her up at the airport is, “Let’s go to In-N-Out!”

  3. that might be the best promo for a fast food hamburger place that I have ever read, i.e., so funny; as much as i am a vegetarian (who might one day try one of these or at least eat a french fry that has soaked up some of the meat juice), i am also – i realized i was an adult when i noticed there were little children driving legally – skeptical of teenage drivers (i think they should have their own lanes).

  4. I can’t believe no-one has mentioned the 1,464 calories and 71 grams of fat in a large portion of french fries!!!!! Yes its true, check out the nutritional guide, might make your visits less frequent

  5. please, i am a vegetarian with allergies to wheat, soy, hazelnuts, shell fish, and more, i.e., do not also take my french fry indulgence away.

  6. Stephen Rubin

    Hey, let’s not kill a good thing. I waited for Five Guys to open for months. Now finally I am enjoying the indulgence. Toni simply serves nothing for dinner for at least four days except for salads to compensate. If you like burgers this is the best in Westport bar Mario’s or the Duck and at a less expensive price. The service is great and it is amazing they don’t screw up the orders which seem to all have different toppings. Everything is good in moderation but I hope my cardiologist doesn’t spot me there. People with peanut problems are in trouble. The line today was the same as on opening last Tuesday. I wish them luck and glad to see that Five Guys will be producing lots of tax revenue.

  7. Reminiscing about hamburgers and being a kid in Westport in late 60s early 70s … of course, my parents LOVED and still do Mario’s burgers, but we, the kids, loved Burger King and McDonalds. Of course, finding MacDonalds was like trying to get Coors Beer in Westport. You couldn’t. So, mom would drive us to Norwalk, and if my memory was correct there was a place called Carrolls. We (the kids) loved it. I remember a discussion that took place in social studies class about why we couldn’t have MacDonalds in Westport. It was because if there was a MacDonalds that would invite prostitution because people who went to MacDonalds had money. (Well, that’s what I remember what was said when we were kids.)

    • Carrol’s was the original fast-food franchise in Westport — it later turned in to Burger King, and is now an Arby’s. I never heard that McDonald’s logic — amazing what some people come up with!

  8. Ah, Chubby Lane’s — the magic of equisite cold grilled onions at the self-serve condiment bar …

  9. Ah, Carroll’s — the great memories of quality collectible Looney Tunes glasses with a large coke for something like 69 cents.

  10. Chubby’s was my favorite as a kid — i collected the brightly colored drink monkeys they used to hang on the soda cups.

  11. I too enjoyed my first experience at 5 Guys this weekend. My kids have been asking to go and I do enjoy a good burger every now and then.
    My first impressions upon entering wasn’t the best, the place looked filthy, until I realized that they give away free peanuts and everyone throws the shells on the floor, then the noise factor, maybe I’m getting old, but the place was LOUD! And on top of it all, it has the ambiance of the inside of a men’s room (polished tile). Then I received my food promptly and I have to admit, it was good!!
    It took me back to a Steak-n-Shake burger I enjoyed as a kid (although I’d give S-n-S the edge).

  12. Five Guys figured out the formula for tasty fast food at reasonable prices in Maryland. Every Five Guys location I’ve been too has had long lines and full parking lots. The Westport success is no surprise. They’re no dummies. They advertised on Wrecker TV, for one, and Staples students are lining up for their burgers and fries. Now compare Five Guys to a real Westport institution, Christie’s Country Store, and you can see where good food plus aggressive marketing spells economic success even in a down market. I’ve been to Christie’s a few times since it re-opened under new management (at this point, who can keep track?). The atmosphere is cozy and neighborhood friendly–except for the trash can lid my friend and I saw on the main dining counter. The owner John walk right past the trash can lid without a blink. The food I’ve tried is bland and tasteless, not to mention over-priced. And they’ve done nothing to ingratiate themselves to what should be their bread & butter–students, contractors and neighbors. The menu is so vast most people don’t know what they do. They have a chalkboard for daily specials, but the specials don’t seem to change daily. I had a chicken soup that was obviously made with canned stock and was hideously under-seasoned. All that excitement in a cup for $3.50. Hmmm……I give them six months TOPS. And what a shame! Like Five Guys, Christie’s should have nostalgic appeal, a comfortable price point and tasty food. Unlike Five Guys, their lot is empty–even at lunchtime–because of poor marketing, substandard fare and questionable hygiene.

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