Give me five! Burger joint attracts hungry crowd

Five Guys

Morgan Hill loves burgers and fries – at least that’s what the swarm of customers who showed up to the grand opening of the new Five Guys Burgers and Fries restaurant at the Madrone Village shopping center Wednesday seem to indicate.  

Morgan Hill resident Sam Curtis, 22, is a longtime fan of Five Guys, which has some locations in San Jose and elsewhere around the Bay.

“I woke up and I could smell it this morning,” said Curtis, who has been anticipating the opening of the Morgan Hill location for months. He planned to return the same evening for dinner.

The freshness of the ingredients at Five Guys is what sets it apart from other burger makers, Curtis said.

“The meat is a little better than In & Out, and you’re not eating a hockey puck,” Curtis said.

He also likes the “custom soda” machine inside the restaurant, which offers a variety of unusual, fruity flavors.

The restaurant at 100 Madrone Village neighbors other popular food service establishments Chipotle, Peets Coffee and Tea, Erik’s Deli.

Five Guys’ Morgan Hill location employs about 45 people, who are mostly from the South County area, regional manager Tim Sciutto said.

The restaurant is owned by a Five Guys franchisee whose owners are based in southern California, Sciutto added.

Morgan Hill seemed like an “obvious” choice for a location in the franchisee’s prescribed territory, Sciutto said. They are also planning to open another Five Guys on Brokaw Road in San Jose in about three weeks.

Morgan Hill neighbors Sally Dierking and Nina Huffman went through the line twice – once to procure their on-site lunch and a second time to purchase a takeout order for their friends.

The latter order followed a longer wait in line, but they were surprised how quickly the line shortened in front of them both times, considering how swarmed the restaurant was on opening day.

“For a new crew, they’re doing great,” Dierking said.

The friends have been “waiting and waiting” for Five Guys to open ever since the restaurant posted its sign in front of the shopping center earlier this year, Huffman added.

Moises Duarte, of Gilroy, said he only waited a couple minutes in line, and described the burgers as “very tasty.”

Alan Hymes, of Aptos, and Jesse Shepherd, of Milpitas, went to Five Guys with a group of co-workers during their lunch break from their offices at Velodyne Acoustics on Digital Drive. They ordered their food on the restaurant’s website before visiting the store and sitting down at one of the outdoor tables.

“I’m looking forward to trying it,” Hymes said minutes before the order was ready.

Online orders can be placed at fiveguys.com.

The heavy crowds persisted at Five Guys throughout the day Wednesday, with the dinner line spilling out the front door for several hours.

Five Guys does not offer specials or coupons to promote their grand openings, but rather relies on its reputation for serving fresh burgers and fries made daily, with 15 options for toppings at no extra cost, Sciutto said.

“There are no freezers in the store,” Sciutto said. “It’s a little more labor intensive than some of the other franchises.”

There are about 1,100 Five Guys locations nationwide. The company was started in Virginia in 1986. There are about 15 locations in the South Bay area, though those are not owned by the same franchisee.

The restaurant plans to remain open seven days a week, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

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