Five Guys in Austin and San Antonio has a limited menu. This is good news for celiacs because it makes it harder to contaminate what they offer. It is the shortest menu I have ever seen, and consists of hamburgers, hotdogs, French fries, and a few drinks. The meat is 100% beef cooked well done, and the gluten-free hotdogs are from Hebrew National. They use Kraft American cheese. You do have a choice of toppings, all of which are gluten free, and your burger is made to order. The only thing they serve that has gluten in it is the buns, which are heated on a separate grill from the burgers.
Order your burger without a bun, and you will receive a burger and toppings packet wrapped in foil which you can eat with a plastic fork and knife. They do not have plates, paper plates, or even plastic baskets. Your order will arrive in a paper sack, and the fries will be hot and spilling out of the Styrofoam cup that is also down inside the paper sack. Considering the lack of plates, we decided that next time we will take ours home to eat with a gluten-free bun. Since then, we noticed that other diners took a cardbox container intended to hold the peanuts and used it as a catch-all paper plate for their bunless burger.
The fries are cooked in peanut oil, and nothing else goes into the fryers. I am not much of a French fry eater, but these tasted very good to me. One regular order was plenty for two people.
There are boxes of roasted peanuts in the shell for you to enjoy while you wait for your burger. Because of this, there is a notice right on the glass front door that warns you that there are peanuts on the premises. Anyone with a peanut allergy should not go into Five Guys.
Don't expect anyone here to know about gluten-free issues because it is a franchise store with lots of young people working different shifts. Even so, I would never order without specifying that it must be gluten free, so I was pleasantly surprised when the girl taking our order said she eats gluten free too. Further questions made it pretty clear that her version of gluten free and mine were not the same, but at least she knew what it was.
The San Antonio Five Guys is in the new section of the Quarry Market.
This review was written by Anne Barfield in July, 2009.