In 1986, while living in Arlington and working out of Washington, DC, we tried a new burger joint that had just opened in a run-down strip mall at the intersection of Glebe Road and Columbia Pike, not far from the Pentagon.
That burger joint, started by a husband and wife with four sons, was called Five Guys.
Five Guys sold burgers and fries based on a simple formula: Cooked from scratch food served quickly. The tasty burgers and boardwalk-style fries.
We loved simple food places with fare served at reasonable prices: Bob & Edith’s Diner on Columbia Pike, Hard Times Cafe — a chili parlor — in Alexandria, Whiteys on Washington Boulevard and — after just one visit — Five Guys.
From 1986 until we left Arlington in 2004, Five Guys expanded throughout Northern Virginia. When I commuted from Arlington to Floyd in 2004, I could stop at a Five Guys in Woodstock for a bacon burger fix and a cup of fries or visit the Five Guys in Blacksburg near the Tech campus. Another opened on West Main in Salem but closed last year.
Now you can find Five Guys around the country at more than 500 locations. It’s a franchise but the food is still fresh and the menu simple: Burgers, fries, hot dogs and a veggie sandwich. Nothing fancy, just good food.
We mourned the demise of the Five Guys in Salem but Amada Codispoti at The Roanoke Times brought good news this week with the announcement that Five Guys will open new spots in the area: One at Tanglewood Mall in Roanoke and an even closer location at Spradlin Farms in Christiansburg.
Ah, heaven — thy name is burgers and fries from Five Guys.