Thursday, April 24, 2014


We were sitting in the car waiting for our son. The school bell had just rung and kids were walking out, some weary, some smiling, and some writhing from the heavy backpacks they carried on their backs. Our son wasn't even within hearing distance, but we could see him mouth the words, "Where are we going to eat?"

It was payday. We always went out for dinner on payday. There were an abundance of restaurants in our community. Bramalea was considered the new downtown. The food court at the City Center had a variety of fast food and interesting fare, Thai, Indian, Japanese, Chinese, Canadian. And there were many franchises and pubs to choose from. You could get burgers, chicken, noodles, sushi, fish, stir-fried veggies, then for dessert you could get frozen yogurt, Cinnabon buns, and gelato. 

Our son's favorite place to eat was Popeye's Louisiana's Fried Chicken, so he wanted to go there. But my partner and I were in the mood for something different. 

Across from Popeye's at 48 Peel Centre Drive was a restaurant that we occasionally noticed called FIVE GUYS BURGERS AND FRIES. We would see the sign from the street, Dixie and Queen, but we would never venture in, after all it was just another burger joint, or so we thought. I parked the car and while my boys went to Popeye's I mosied over to the joint.

The place was almost empty, except for a mother and her two kids chowing down on what looked like some juicy grub. 

I hadn't even made it to the counter when the cook behind the counter greeted me with an enormous smile.

"Hi, what can I get for you?" he asked, still smiling. Those teeth were so pearly white.

I glanced at the menu, very short and sweet, and ordered two Bacon Cheeseburgers. 

"How large is the large fries?" I queried.

"Enough for two people," he replied, still smiling his contagious smile.

I smiled back and ordered the large Cajun fries.

I was a bit surprised when he told me the cost, but it really doesn't matter where you go these days, you can't get take-out food for less than ten dollars per person. I paid for my order and he gave me my receipt, still smiling, and told me it would be seven to eight minutes for my order. I sat at a table and waited, eyeing the decor and checking out the place. It was fairly clean. Tables had been wiped and chairs had been pushed in. 

I hadn't been sitting for more than a minute when he came to me and offered a small container of peanuts.

"Would you like some peanuts while you wait?" he asked, that smile bigger than ever.

"No, thanks, I'm fine," I said, smiling back.

He walked away and true to his word seven minutes and thirty seconds later he was coming toward me with a brown paper bag. 

I got up to meet him.

He place the order in my hands and said, "Have yourself a good evening." And all I could think about was how friendly this guy was. He really must have been taught a new standard of customer service. 

I took the bag and smiled, thanked him, and went on my way. I hadn't been treated with that kind of customer service in a long time. 

As I was going to the car, my boys were coming out of Popeye's. Our mouths were watering at the savory spicy aroma of our food. It seemed like we couldn't get home fast enough.

Our son, as usual, was always satisfied with his chicken. The girls at Popeye's knew him well and he didn't have to wait in line to order as he always got the same thing. As soon as they saw him coming, the girl working the cash would yell into the mic, "Five spicy tenders!"

The brown bag I carried in was quite heavy. I place it on the table and tore open its contents. The amount of fries that spilled out onto the table was enough to feed five people. They were fresh cut from fresh potatoes and covered in Cajun seasoning. They were cooked to perfection. And you know how sometimes when you have fries in a closed bag the steam makes them soggy? Well, the guy didn't close the bag, so there wasn't an issue with steam and they were still hot and crunchy when we got home. This guy had a few tricks up his sleeve!

The burgers were wrapped in tin foil and were still hot. There was a double patty of beef, thick layer of cheese, and lots of bacon. I ordered the burgers with the works and that's exactly how they came. We had to open wide to take a bite. 

When I finished swallowing the first bite I turned to my partner, who was still chewing, and said, "Oh my God, well worth the money I paid." 

He swallowed and agreed, then took another bite. 

The beef was moist and juicy, the lettuce was crispy, and the tomatoes were sweet. There were so many different flavors flooding into my mouth. 

The burger was so big I could only eat half. And I had to walk away from the table to stop myself from eating too many fries. A girl has to watch her weight you know.

I had eaten from many burger joints in my day, some good, some bad, and I have to say that FIVE GUYS BURGERS AND FRIES know how to make a great burger. I will definitely go back. And the service was impeccable.