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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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:
Click to enlarge.
That ain’t all. Look at these fries:
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.
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)
Boxes of potatoes that you can actually see:
Their own line of pepper:
A jacuzzi for your hands:
An interesting view from inside the rest rooms (well, okay, the men’s anyway)
And perhaps the most important thing of all:
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?
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!)
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.
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.