Here's the Scoop: September 24, 2008

High “Five”
First of all, I think it’s important to make the point that I am not some meat-craving freak who needs a hefty supply of beef or pork at every meal. In fact, I can really take or leave meat at most meals, as long as there’s something tasty on the plate. The other thing that I’d like to clear up early in this column is that I’m not a paid sponsor for the company about which I’m going to write. Yet. If they offer me some buck — or food — I’ll certainly listen.
Which leads to my topic: Five Guys Burgers and Fries.
Perhaps you’ve heard of Five Guys. If so, there’s no reason to read on because you’ve probably spread your own praise for this chain and you’ve got the ketchup-stained shirt as proof.
My first encounter with Five Guys came a couple of years ago in North Carolina. My goal for the evening was a meal that would satisfy my hunger and not drain my wallet. If I didn’t have to leave a tip, that was an added benefit. It’s not like I mind tipping, in fact, I’d say I’m generous in this department. But sometimes, you’ve gotta save some dollars.
So, when we drove past Five Guys, hamburgers seemed like a good choice. Filling and cheap — two of the basic food groups.
This experience was like Hurricane Ike to me — I was blown away! The burgers were outrageously tasty. Plus, when I asked for a large order of fries, the clerk politely informed me, “No, you don’t.”
“Really, I have quite a few years of dining experience and I know what I like,” I responded in my nicest “I’m starving and need a burger and fries” tone.
While keeping his cool, the clerk was still pleasant, but he insisted that the large serving would be way too much for me to consume.
I gave in and settled for the regular order. Good thing, too — they were huge!

Tastes great...very filling
Did I mention how great the burgers were?
The next day, still a bit full, we nevertheless had lunch at Five Guys. It was, after all, vacation.
A few months later, hungry for some Five Guys, I Googled the term and was surprised to learn that it’s a fairly large chain, mostly with shops in the southern portion of the country. There are even quite a few in New York, mostly downstate, but the closest one is in Schenectady.
On several occasions I have been tempted to make the drive to Five Guys, but gas prices have kept that longing in check. I have also offered to purchase meals for folks heading in the direction, if they’ll bring some back for me, but no takers.
So, imagine my delight the other day when I received a frenzied phone call from my daughter in Kingston who informed me a Five Guys is under construction there. She sent a cell phone picture to highlight this news.
In an instant, the financial crisis on Wall Street was no longer the top story for me.
I didn’t receive an estimated opening date, but I’ll be looking forward to the event. The best part is that I travel to Kingston on a regular basis, so my Five Guys Fascination will fit well with my schedule.
Plus, when I walk in, I look forward to hearing someone order a large order of fries so I can kindly tell them, “Don’t do it — that’s enough to fill Five Guys.”