The burger joint that counts a former U.S president among its biggest fans

Here’s a question: how many restaurants in Belgium can count an ex-U.S president (and supermodels) among their clients?

One such place is Five Guys, a global burger resto, now with branches in Brussels and Antwerp.

Barrack Obama is among its biggest fans and so too is U.S chat show star Jimmy Fallon who recently sparked a mini frenzy on social media by claiming in a tweet that there was a “secret menu” at Five Guys called a “patty melt.”

In fact, no such item is thought to actually exist – it was Fallon’s own invention – but the reaction it created shows, if nothing else, the sheer pulling power of the Five Guys brand.

Antwerp was the first Belgian city it opened, back in 2018 (Brussels followed a year later) and the store in Belgium’s 2nd city is said to be the biggest in the chain in the whole of Europe.

Spread across two levels, it can seat about 200 people and is ideally located, just a stone’s throw from the city’s main rail station.

It attracts a mix of locals and tourists, all wanting to discover, or rediscover, what makes this place so special.

In a particularly crowded market, Five Guys sets itself apart from all those other places serving burgers by the freshness of its offerings.

You will find no frozen ingredients here, for instance. Only the best quality spuds are used for their fries and this shows in the quality of the chips, cooked using peanut oil, which are quite fabulous. At Antwerp, the potatoes are even stacked near the food counter so you can see info on them for yourself,including their origin.

Most of the meat for the burgers served here is sourced from Ireland and is also of a high standard.

A sign of the importance that is placed on freshness is the fact that, each morning, a kind of quality control check is carried out on both burgers and fries by the staff, or “crew members” as they are called here.

But, arguably the best unique selling point about Five Guys is the possibility if offers to mix and match your choice of burgers.

Believe it or not, there are a possible 250,000 combinations (presumably the guy who worked this out had lots of fun!). One you should try (and where you’re unlikely find anywhere else) is the burger that comes without bread (lettuce leafs are used instead).

For a burger joint that is different but, like all else here, it works and the item is very tasty.

There is even a special machine here that allows customers to similarly mix and match their drinks. There are very few such machines in the whole of Belgium and four of them are at Five Guys.

Make sure you try also one of the terrific milk shakes (one containing bacon, chocolate and salted caramel is particularly recommended).

The success story that is Five Guys started some 35 years ago in the U.S by the Murrell family – the name derives from the five siblings who run the business.

It started in Virginia and there are now 1,710 stores worldwide with another 200 planned.

Jerry and Janie Murrell, the founders, offered their kids the choice after high school: start a business or go to school. They decided to start a business and they opened the first ever Five Guys.

No matter where you go you will find the same (excellent) menu and also the same bright and breezy, red and white interior.

There are no gimmicks here,just a focus on food, insists Hugo Duyvestyn, the very friendly brand creative and social media marketing manager, who is based in Amsterdam, which is the base for Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Dutch-born Hugo, who joined the company full time in March, told this website, “We don’t do any traditional marketing because we believe the best thing is word of mouth recommendation and that’s worked for us. We’re clearly doing something good so we don’t want to change it.”

Highly recommended.

Five Guys

De Keyserlei 11,Antwerp

03 547 0320

https://restaurants.fiveguys.be

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