Cult US burger chain Five Guys opening first Melbourne store in Southbank

Five Guys, the US chain known for its emphasis on customisable burgers and shakes, is coming to Melbourne this month.
Five Guys, the US chain known for its emphasis on customisable burgers and shakes, is coming to Melbourne this month. Photo: Supplied

It's Melbourne's turn for Five Guys fever, with the US burger joint planting its first flag in Victoria next week. A 79-seat restaurant will open in Southbank on August 8, where its red-and-white branding will matched the red stairs near Queens Bridge.

The first two Five Guys stores in Australia, both opening in Sydney in the last 12 months, attracted long queues of people keen to get their taste, with brand manager Robby Andronikos saying some people waited up to four hours.

While Melbourne isn't short of burger shops, not many offer the same level of individualism as Five Guys. 

Five Guys' Penrith store was its first Australian location and was quickly followed by another in Sydney's CBD.
Five Guys' Penrith store was its first Australian location and was quickly followed by another in Sydney's CBD. Photo: Supplied

A menu of stripped-back burgers and hotdogs is complemented by an enormous array of toppings – 15 in total – that let the diner create their own perfect burger. Or it might just be whatever feels right to them that day. 

"We don't dictate to them how they should have their burger," says Andronikos.

From hot sauce to onions (grilled or fresh), pickles (five to be exact) and even tomatoes, everything is optional. All the extras are "free" (read: built into the price of the base burger) so whatever toppings you go for, it will cost the same as your mate's order.

All the extras are "free" so whatever toppings you go for, it will cost the same as your mate's order.

The team has calculated this system means there are 250,000 burger variations on its menu.

The same make-it-your-own philosophy applies to milkshakes, which can be elevated with pieces of banana, Oreo or even bacon. BLTs, grilled cheese and vegetarian-friendly grilled mushroom and pepper sandwiches make up the rest of the menu.

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Five Guys claims its other point of difference is freshness and old-school attention to detail, whether it's hand-cut potatoes or patties made fresh each day. They also famously claim there are no freezers in their stores.

Established in 1986, Five Guys started franchising in 2003. Local outfit Seagrass Hospitality, who also own The Meat and Wine Co, Ribs & Burgers, and The Butcher and the Farmer, are the master franchisee in Australia.

More stores across Melbourne and Sydney are on the way, with the next Melbourne location likely to open early next year in a central area with strong footfall. Seagrass plan to open 20 Five Guys stores on the eastern seaboard before tackling the rest of the country and New Zealand. 

Each burger is purposely kept plain so the diner can choose which of 15 toppings they want to add.
Each burger is purposely kept plain so the diner can choose which of 15 toppings they want to add. Photo: Supplied

Open from August 8, daily 11am-10pm

3 Freshwater Place, Southbank, 03 9938 8805, fiveguys.com.au