Editor’s Note: Burger Boys is now closed.
172 Broad Avenue, Fairview, NJ
I love hamburgers, and I’m intrigued by new burger places. When I noticed a new, independently run burger restaurant, Burger Boys, opening up on Broad Street in Fairview, near the Super H-Mart Korean shopping plaza in Ridgefield in the old Fairview Diner location, I was overjoyed. I kept checking week after week waiting for them to open. Tonight, I went, only two weeks after its opening.
What I encountered shocked and rocked me to the core. Yes, it’s independently owned. Yes, the burgers are decent. However, I didn’t count on the place flat out, unabashedly and unashamedly copying another recently opened burger restaurant, Five Guys in Hackensack, an excellent chain burger franchise originating from the Washington DC area. And when I mean copy, I don’t just mean stylistically copying the food. I mean copying it right down to the restaurant decor, the uniforms of the staff, the menu, the food presentation, everything. Did they actually succeed, or is it a copy that doesn’t quite hit the mark? Read on.
Burger Boys storefront on Broad Avenue in Fairview.
Is a great hamburger just the sum of its parts or is there something else to it? Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.
Hey, they opened up next to the Baptist Church. Didn’t Jesus say something in the New Testament about Thou shalt not covet thy competitor’s intellectual property and trademarks?
Burger Boys restaurant interior.
Five Guys restaurant interior. Hmmmmmm.
Burger Boys ordering area.
Burger Boys menu. Hey look, they got onion rings! Oh, no peanut oil.
Five Guys menu.
Burger Boys packaging
Five Guys packaging
Burger Boys Bacon Cheeseburger with Fried Onions, Lettuce, Tomato and Barbecue Sauce. Like Five Guys, the default burger is also a double. I will freely admit here that Burger Boys does make a good hamburger, although they are taking the Five Guys religion to the letter when it comes to Well Doneness. In the Five Guys case, I think its a CYA statement, because I never get truly Well Done burgers at their establishment, they are always still juicy. These were tasty, but something was missing, it just didn’t seem the same. I think I like the burger mix itself from Five Guys better as well. The burgers at Burger Boys are slightly bigger, and I didn’t think they executed the Maillard reaction as well with a proper crusting/caramelization of the meat as Five Guys does. Rachel and I both agreed that Five Guys does a much better job of crisping the bacon as well, the Burger Boys bacon was unevenly cooked. When we told the owner about it, he told us “well, its probably just that one strip of bacon that came out like that.” When we showed him the other pieces of bacon that came out that way, he just shrugged it off. I didn’t expect him to replace the bacon or the burger, but I was somewhat surprised he refused to acknowledge it.
The identical burger from Five Guys, minus BBQ sauce.
BBQ Sauce Bacon single patty bacon cheeseburger with raw onion at Five Guys.
Rachel’s Bacon Cheeseburger with Mayo, Mushrooms, Pickles and Mustard from Burger Boys.
Rachel wanted me to take this photo to reveal her unevenly cooked bacon.
An identically prepared burger at Five Guys.
Onion Rings and Fries at Burger Boys. As you can see, Burger Boys does not fry their fries nearly as crisp and they also use Canola Oil instead of the Peanut Oil that Five Guys uses. This apparently was a choice that Burger Boys made in order to not have the issue of having to turn away people with peanut allergies. While I respect this business decision, the truth of the matter is that peanut oil just plain tastes better and results in a better tasting product. I also miss the fact that there are no peanuts to eat at Burger Boys while you are waiting for your order like at Five Guys. Good onion rings though — this is one deficiency at Five Guys that Burger Boys actually remedied.
Five Guys fries.
To add additional insult to injury to Five Guys, they copied the format and layout of the takeout menu as well. WTF?
So the question remains, does Burger Boys make a decent burger? Yes. Do I like Five Guys burgers better? Yes, without question. Do their fries compare with Five Guys? Not even close, although they are certainly better than other alternatives in the immediate Fairview/Ridgefield area.
Personally, if I were opening an independent burger restaurant, I would have pursued a completely different strategy for brand identity, and I would have done something different with the burgers themselves. I think Burger Boys is a lawsuit waiting to happen, and Five Guys would be totally in their rights to litigate them into the ground. I’m sure a cease and desist is on its way, if it isn’t in their hands already. However, if it was up to me, I wouldn’t bother wasting my money on attorney fees because Burger Boys’ product just isn’t as good. However, if you’re in the Fairview area and craving a burger, I think the place is worth a stop, and definitely better than the other fast food options locally. However, when given a choice, I would much rather eat at Five Guys — I think they are taking much more exacting care with their food and peanut oil just plain rules. Sorry Canola.