Calgary loves it’s chains. Earls, Joey’s, Hudson’s, you name it. If its good, there’s lots of them. So it came as no surprise that when asking around everyone recommended a chain as the best burger in town. I had previously decided to not review chains, but I had never heard of the two most popular, so here comes the proverbial double burger. Fatburger and Five Guys.
Before we bite in, these spots have a little in common. They are both American chains with very few restaurants in Canada (neither has a place east of Saskatoon). Each with a unique almost cult following, and they both buy and serve fresh, never frozen AAA Alberta beef.
I hit Five Guys first. At the counter I was greeted with a double-cheeseburger ‘All the Way.’ I have to say this is a man-sized burger, and it comes loaded. My cheeseburger, had two patties, two slices of cheese, mayo, relish, onions, lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, grilled onions, ketchup and mustard. If you ask me, that’s a lot of sh!t on a burger, and when you bite in, it might be too much.
Now there is no doubt this was a good tasting burger, but it was suffocated in toppings. If I hadn’t ripped a piece off of a patty, I don’t think I would have tasted the meat. Which by the way was pretty good. Not overly seasoned, with a good crust on the patties.
That said, the burger seemed a little over cooked. On their website it says that all Five Guys burgers are cooked well done. (Read: Dead) They do this to ensure consistency, but in my opinion, the burger could have been juicier.
I also had one other complaint – and it’s a two-parter. They don’t melt the cheese on the patties. So when they put the burger together, they sandwich both cold slices between the two patties. It could just be me, but two slices of unmelted american cheese in the middle of the sandwich, was counter intuitive. I didn’t buy a cheese sandwich with burger toppings, I bought a double burger with cheese on it. To me the cold cheese was an unwelcome surprise, but I think you get that now. Moving on.
The next stop on my burger adventure was Fatburger. A cali-style burger stand, in fact they call themselves ‘The Last Great Hamburger Stand.’ With ego like that, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’ve eaten the “best” before and hated it. To me self-proclaimed greatness is like pathway to failure.
So you can imagine the surprise on my face as I bit into an amazing burger. This double burger was assembled perfectly, two patties topped with melted cheese (a slice per burger) bacon, ketchup, mustard, lettuce and tomato. True elation is biting into a burger like this and being forced to smile from ear to ear. Forced not by a man with a gun to your head, but by your tastebuds vibrating in sensation.
Fatburger was a revelation. On the down side, the patties were a little skinny, but they do present possibilities. You see, a double burger was good, but these skinny patties were exceptionally stackable. Walking away from the ‘burger stand’ my imagination was running wild. By the time I fell asleep that night I was dreaming of quad and quintuple stacks of Fatburgers. When it tastes this good, gluttony is the only option.
5 Guys 3.1