AdvoEats: JL Beers vs. Smashburger vs. Five Guys

Published November 17, 2011, in MSUM’s, The Advocate


1st Place: JL Beers

Matt Lech: “JL’s success is well-deserved, with its trendy atmosphere, excellent burgers and excellent selection of beers. The inevitable wait is always worth it.”

Meghan Feir: “They were accommodating, kind and gave me quick service. I only had to wait a few minutes to be seated, and after I ordered, it only took six minutes to receive my burger and fries. That’s what I call quality. The only thing I would change is the issue of water. You can get a bottled water, but free water is not offered. Their root beer is delicious, but slightly expensive at $4 a pop.”

Tyler Sorensen: “While JL is rightfully known for its wide selection of beer — it’s in the name, after all — for me, their burgers deserve just as much praise. I’ve never had a subpar dining experience. Even during their busiest hours, the wait staff are consistently polite and responsive. One never has to wait too long for their order. The atmosphere inside and outside is pleasant as well. A burger at J.L. Beers should be a rite of passage for everyone waiting to turn 21. It’s hands-down the best local restaurant franchise.”


2nd Place: Smashburger

Matt Lech: “Smashburger sacrifices a tiny bit of speed for a lot more quality. The strip-mall atmosphere isn’t exactly the right setting for a James Bond movie, but the burgers will somehow manage to make that irrelevant.”

Meghan Feir: “My cheeseburger was a delight to my taste buds and it was made with haste, allowing my stomach to eat in peace without having to ache too much from waiting. The only downfall of this burger joint was the dirty tables that were in need of a good wash-down. Besides the tables, the staff was friendly, and the food was marvelous. The rosemary fries were interesting and added a little Italian charm as they were sauteed in olive oil.”

Tyler Sorensen: “Don’t let the slightly dystopian decor scare you, Smashburger is a top-notch contender for the best national burger chain. Half fast food, half sit-down restaurant, the format is a slick alternative for those who crave something outside of the golden arches. The prices may be a bit more than you’d expect, but the quality of the food warrants it. Just one personal tip: Don’t get the Smashfries. The rosemary is a bit much.”


3rd Place: Five Guys Burgers and Fries

Matt Lech: “Five Guys has an iPhone app that lets me order a burger at any time from now to a year from now. That’s cool. The burgers are also great, but if you’re foolish enough to order fries they will fill your stomach before you can try them.”

Meghan Feir: “Though you get free peanuts while you eat, I didn’t find the burgers incredible, though they were tasty. I also like McDonald’s, and I thought this was but a slight upgrade to the golden arches’ more expensive menu items. The workers were friendly, and I enjoyed the extra touch of having sliced lemons for your drinks. Verdict: delicious, but not exceptional.”

Tyler Sorensen: “Five Guys sits in an alternate reality where burger joints never reinvented themselves. They just became retro by simply doing the same thing for 50 years. Granted, it’s fairly difficult to make a bad hamburger — and Five Guys doesn’t — but they do make an average burger, and that’s enough to choose other restaurants just a bit more often.”


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