Waxing romantic about a fast food joint sounds ridiculous in the grand scheme of things but dozens upon dozens of meals over the years tend to bring out the nostalgia.
It was a Thursday night in March, below freezing outside, I was in bed after a short day at work, trying not to go full-on sick, when I heard the most exciting news in a while. Five Guys, my go-to guilty pleasure from my recent American life, has finally opened in The Netherlands. I say finally because the building where I work has their International headquarters, and every morning that I see their sign in the lobby I’m tempted to go by their floor to pleadingly ask when they’ll open in Amsterdam. For goodness’ sake open already! I may still have to keep asking though because their first location turns out to be Eindhoven, a somewhat odd choice and a good 100+ kilometers away but considering the closest Five Guys location before that was in France, Eindhoven is a bargain and practically next door. As luck would have it I got sicker the next few days until I was able to muster enough strength, with thanks to tissues and paracetamol, to go on Sunday with the help of my ever-accommodating Teko. The thought of driving 100 kilometers doesn’t seem like a big deal now.
Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to find a few places that serve decent burgers, Cannibale and Burger Bar for instance, but the emotional attachment that comes from countless meals when I was in Washington DC still tug pretty hard. Especially after our West Coast trip last May, it’s like homecoming whenever I see anything American reach Dutch shores – because while MacDonalds and Burger King give the occasional homesickness cure there’s nothing like a satisfying, delicious, messy burger often acclaimed as the best in the U.S. to give me hope.
The burger was just as fantastic as I remember, the milkshake memorable, and the fries just as satisfying. I’m glad they didn’t scrimp on the roasted peanuts and Heinz ketchup that were both free, and the place was huge(!) especially for Dutch standards. Five Guys isn’t in the capital yet but the title of best burger in Amsterdam is going to get interesting when they do. In the meantime I hear they’re opening in Utrecht in a few days…