Five Guys Burgers and Fries has several locations in the Seattle area, with more coming.

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A new-to-Seattle chain, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, is likely to give some burger places a run for their money. Five Guys uses fresh, not frozen, patties and fries. They let you choose your toppings. They give you peanuts to munch on while you wait, and even let you throw the shells on the floor. And for fast food, it’s pretty darn tasty.

The first Five Guys opened 25 years ago in Arlington, Va. In the 2000s, they started spreading like crazy, fanning across the country and into Canada. In the Seattle area, there are Five Guys in Northgate, Lynnwood, Bothell, Redmond and Renton. More locations are coming soon.

The menu: Short and sweet: burger, hot dog or sandwich. Fries. Soft drinks. That’s it. No shakes, no salads, no dessert. The burgers come with one patty (little hamburger) or two (hamburger). We were told one patty is just under 4 ounces, and that was plenty. Whatever you choose, don’t look at the calorie counts, or you might scare the button right off your pants.

What to write home about: The fun part is choosing the toppings. Grilled mushrooms, jalapeños, A-1 sauce — 15 toppings in all, at no extra charge. We were particularly enamored with our not-so-original selection of bacon, cheese and BBQ sauce. The bacon was actually crispy, the sauce tangy and the combination mouthwatering. The fries are made from — gasp — actual whole potatoes, julienned and cooked in peanut oil. They’re thick, and fry up crispy. A regular order was enough for three.

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What to skip: Grilled cheese on a hamburger bun just didn’t work for us, even though you can pile on all the toppings you want. We didn’t try the veggie sandwich — not a veggie patty, just your choice of toppings — but we suspect the same problem. Sorry, vegetarians. This may not be the place for you.

The setting: Red and white checkerboards surround. It’s lively and fun.

Summing up: Two cheeseburgers and one grilled cheese, an order of fries and two drinks came to $20.84.

Maureen O’Hagan: 206-464-2562 or

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