Five Guys Burgers vs. Mighty Fine Burgers

Posted by johngl

Going out and having a burger is a national pastime. According to Eric Schlosser, in his book Fast Food Nation, Americans eat 13 billion burgers a year. Based on a US population of about 307 million (US Census Bureau, July 2009), that is about 42 burgers per year for each and every one of us. Luckily, I probably eat about half of that unless I am burgering my way to Labor Day (as I was doing about this time last year). At least those were home made.

BFD. Get on with it man!

Five Guys Burgers and Fries Mighty Fine

And so it came to pass that within a two week period, I had the same type of burger at two highly rated burger joints.  In the left corner, weighing in at 650 stores across the country and originating in Virginia, Five Guys.  In the right corner, weighing in at a mighty three stores and originating in Texas, Mighty Fine.

The burger I chose to compare was a cheeseburger.  Not just your run-of-the-mill cheeseburger though.  These were loaded up with lettuce, tomatoes, bacon, and jalapenos. Of course, each burger came with the requisite fries.

Badly stacked, but still looking good Neatly stacked and looking mighty edible

Can you guess which is which?

Both of these are right out of the wrapper as they came to me. I didn’t do any adjusting or fiddling.  Note the left one where the cheese isn’t all melted and the meat isn’t on the center of the bun. You can barely see it, but note also the raw jalapeno under the burger in the left one. Give the photos a click so you can see a larger, more detailed shot of these babies. The left one also appears to have more bacon, but I think that is because it is all curled up and crinkly. Luckily, that doesn’t affect the taste.

After readjusting the left burger and removing the onion (which I didn’t request), I was ready to take a bite. The left burger was completely cooked through, had a decent crust to the meat, and the bacon was nice and crispy.  Those raw jalapenos were just a little off-putting though and a touch bitter. All in all though, the burger wasn’t bad.

Now, for the burger on the right. (Yeah, the pretty one that looked like it was put together by someone who cared about how it is supposed to look.) The cheddar “real American cheese” was perfectly melty, the jalapenos were soft, tangy, and not at all bitter, the bacon, apparently cooked using a bacon press, was wonderfully crispy, and the burger itself had a great crust on the outside and was wonderfully juicy on the inside. It was very tasty!

cooked medium well

Notice that it is cooked to medium-well and not well done. That may put a lot of folks off, but not me.  It might if were a different burger joint, but not this one.

Give up?

So, the burger on the right is from Mighty Fine and it was mighty fine.  Yes, the Five Guys can go form a team and play basketball (or whatever else five guys do together)  because their burger just doesn’t stack up against Mighty Fine.

If you think the Mighty Fine burger is more expensive, you’d be wrong. Price-wise, these meals were a wash.

Here are some other facts:

Mighty Fine grinds their meat (chuck)  at their stores fresh every day and you can stand there and actually watch them hand-forming the burgers.

hand forming the burgers

The Five Guys website says:

By cooking all of our burgers juicy and well done we are able to achieve two goals: 1) Ensure a consistent product and 2) Meet or exceed health code standards for ground beef.

They also say: “…our beef is neither organic nor are the cattle free range, our distributor purchases raw materials from the major meat suppliers in the US and they treat the cattle humanely and follow all the procedures set forth by the USDA.”

Mighty Fine says:
Mighty Fine Meat Facts
Click to enlarge.

That ain’t all.  Look at these fries:

Fantastic fresh cut crinkle fries at Mighty Fine

Cut from fresh Idaho potatoes daily, these babies are fried in peanut oil and come out with a nice crunchy exterior and a fluffy interior.

Compare them to the these from Five Guys.  Granted, Five Guys gives you a lot of fries (and I grabbed a handful and put them in a peanut container — more on peanuts in a minute) and they too use peanut oil for frying, but comparatively, these were just limp and fat laden.

Behind the burger are the limp, greasy fries

What good does it do to give you a lot of something if its crap?

Beyond the burgers and fries, Mighty Fine offers:

Home Made Lemonade from, ummm, lemons (made fresh every two hours)

Fresh Lemonade!

Boxes of potatoes that you can actually see:

Potatoes by the crate

Their own line of pepper:

Their own line of pepper

A jacuzzi for your hands:

A jacuzzi for your hands

An interesting view from inside the rest rooms (well, okay, the men’s anyway)

From inside the men's room
Yes, that is really from inside the potty. It’s a two way mirror.

And perhaps the most important thing of all:

Dyson Rules!

Mr. Dyson should be awarded a throne in Heaven just for coming up with this thing. The Airblade literally scares the water off your hands.

And what does Five Guys have that Mighty Fine does not?

Peanuts

This is apparently the Five Guys answer to the boxes of potatoes stacked up at Mighty Fine.  The Guys have 50lb bags of peanuts stacked up right behind the doorway (apparently to make double damn sure that those folks with peanut allergies see them!)

Open the door and you're greeted by large bags of nuts!

Perhaps you might think that I am (loudly) proclaiming: Five Guys Suffers Major Suckage.

Well, I’m not.  As I said, their burger was alright. However, since I have a choice, and both stores are about equidistant from my house, and I get better quality food for the cost, my money is going to the local folks who don’t cut any corners.  They tell you that too.

Quality is everything

If I am going to be eating one (or twenty) of 13 billion burgers this year, it (or they) may as well be Mighty Fine.

This entry was posted in Austin, TX, Restaurants, Reviews and tagged , by johngl. Bookmark the permalink.

About johngl

A bit of a wildman, John hails from the Midwest: A land of corn, cows, pigs, and a host of other healthfully meaty pursuits. Born on a dark and stormy night in late Fall, John grew up as the son of a meat cutter. There was always plenty of meat at hand. While not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination, his family certainly ate well. According to his father, that was the whole point.

15 thoughts on “Five Guys Burgers vs. Mighty Fine Burgers

  1. I was in Austin from Western Canada in May and feel very lucky to have found and ate at a Mighty Fine! It was awesome (wish we had something like that up here). I like the simplicity of the restaurant and the food quality was great…Pregnant wifey loved it too.

  2. Actually, those 50 pound bags are the potatoes, not the peanuts. The peanuts are the boxes that are under the other peanut boxes. Just wanted to let you know.

  3. I love Mighty Fine burgers so much that I just ordered a Mighty Fine licence plate for my car! This will entitle me to 100 bucks worth of free burgers and fries every year for the 30 price of the tag renewal! What a TASTY bargain!!!

  4. HOLA SHOWN YORK LAS AMBURGUESAS DE Mighty Fine SON LO MEJOR DE LO MEJOR 100 X CIENTO LAS MEJORES SALUDOS A Mighty Fine Burgers DE ROUND ROCK TX

    DESDE ACAPULCO GUERRERO MEXICO

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  6. There is no bacon press. The bacon is cooked on the same flat top that the burgers are cooked on. Just, not the same time the beef is cooking.

  7. Are you sure that’s cheddar cheese on the Mighty Fine? I am a MF fan, but am pretty sure they don’t offer cheddar, only American (ditto for 5 guys). Unless something has changed recently. I hope you are right and they have decided to start offering cheddar, bcs that is one of my few beefs (heh heh) with the otherwise very good Mighty Fine burger.

    • On their website Mighty Fine says “Our real American cheese is always perfectly melted” so you are correct. I’ve updated accordingly. I was correct on the “perfect” part!

  8. I’ve eaten @ both restaurants as well, and my comparisons stack up neatly beside johngl’s…Mighty Fine Burgers is all about quality from the second you enter the store til you walk out the doors…one unfortunate visit to Five Guys in the upper states left me standing outside the women’s restroom ( tucked away in the back of the store ) and as I tried to stay out of the way of the staff that was working around me in the back area, I became aware that my feet were slip sliding on the grease laden floors…my feet were literally sliding apart as I tried to stand in one spot…you won’t find this inferior status at any of the 3 Mighty Fine stores in Austin Texas…the restrooms are centrally located for easy access, with plenty of room for all who enter…It’s Mighty Fine Burgers for me…

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