I did something totally unheard of last weekend. I visited a fast food restaurant chain! This isn’t so strange, you might think. But if you know me and are reading this you’ll know it is, and you may have just let out a little gasp or chocked on your coffee!
I’m not a food snob (ok maybe I am a little), but generally I don’t dine in such places. Not often anyway. I admit, like everybody I have junk food cravings, days where only a warm soggy Maccy D’s burger will do. These days are few and far between. I don’t even mean they come monthly. I’ve been known to go well over a year between Maccy D visits.
There’s nothing (other than that yearly craving) that draws me to a fast food restaurant at all. Not the sticky ketchup covered tables, the metal chair legs scraping on the floor, the young children with fries hanging from their mouths, the groups of teenagers squished together 12 seated at a table for 4, a years supply of salt in just one bite. These are all things that start my inner voice sighing, causing inner me to become tense and headachy! Ok I realise I’m starting to stereotype and judge here, the inner me just can’t help it.
Like I said I’ve recently been to a fast food chain, one I hadn’t tried before. This time I ‘dined’ at Five Guys in Norwich.
All the usual suspects were present, as I entered a bunch of kids pushed their way out, I could hear chattering in all directions and barely hear myself think. As I grew accustomed to my surroundings the noise became a muffle and my stress levels eased. A Saturday lunch time in Norwich city centre it was obviously busy so we had to wait a few minute for a table, which isn’t a problem. Standing around eyeing up the tables, seeing who looked as if they would finish eating first we drew nearer ready to pounce on our pray. Get the table before the 12 teenagers do!
The table was a good height for my chair with plenty of leg room and a central table leg. One side of the table was booth like sofa seating, and the other side there were chairs that can be moved to accommodate wheelchairs, pushchairs, high chairs and the like.
Excuse me while I sidetrack (rant) a little here but this new booth style seating, (not necessarily at Five Guys) is becoming extremely popular again and not very accessible. Yes restaurants that have booths do offer other styles of seating, regular tables, but this limits the amount of tables that us wheelers can use. If a table is a complete booth, as in bench/sofa all the way around, then there is nowhere that I can pull up in my wheelchair. Therefor if a booth becomes free I still have to wait, I have to wait for an ‘accessible’ table to come free. Who knew even tables could be inaccessible?!
Again it is also becoming more common for restaurants, particularly fast food ones (Maccy D’s) to nail down their seats. I don’t know who has been stealing them?! It’s not something that would suit my interior decor. They do still provide a few tables with ‘movable’ seating. But such is the way of life, mine anyway, those tables are never the ones to become free when I’m waiting.
Back to the tale at hand, we secured a table. A table covered in food wrappers, but you have to grab what you can in these situations! The wrappers are easily shoved to the end as we discuss what to eat.
There’s an organised system in place when purchasing food. Go to the first staff member on the right to make your order and pay, get given a slip of paper with your food written on, and a number, (no actual food) and then wait by the left where another member of staff is shouting out numbers, when the number shouted is on your ticket, grab your food from the server. Basically organised chaos! A food tombola! Now this being a nightmare situation for me, people (teenagers) standing everywhere getting in my way, I stay at the table and send the others to bring back food. My job of ‘table guard’ is crucial, as the place becomes busy everyone is gazing around waiting for the next lot of diners to vacate.
Personally I prefer being waited on, not because I think I deserve to be, princess Gemma, but because being a wheelchair user makes navigating restaurants a bit of a mission! People carrying food and drink at a perfect height to land on my lap.
I ordered a ‘Little Cheeseburger’, and I’m glad I did. Generous in size this burger still beat my small appetite. When ordering any burger or hotdog there are an array of topping you can choose from, have either one or all, it’s included in the price. So basically free, and we all love a freebie don’t we?!
Here is the extensive list of toppings –
- Grilled Onions
- Grilled Mushrooms
- Jalapeño Peppers
- Green Peppers
- Bar-B-Que Sauce
- Hot Sauce
- A1 Sauce
(I don’t know what A1 sauce is so don’t ask. But if you know then please leave a comment and fill me in!)
For my first Five Guys burger I decided to keep it simple and have just pickles and ketchup. But next time I’ll be making the most of this toppings list!
Yes I did say next time, and that’s because there will be a next time. As much as I’ve talked down fast food chains, my ‘Little Cheeseburger’ with ketchup and pickles was pretty tasty. No I didn’t get a plate or cutlery, yes it did come wrapped in foil in a paper bag. But the burger was tasty and fresh, and dare I admit maybe the foil and paper bag added to the taste and experience. Cooked to order, you can see them cooking behind the counter, the burger hadn’t stood around waiting to be purchased, getting all soggy and depressed looking.
Yes Five Guys is a little more pricy than most fast food burger places, the same price you’d pay in many table service restaurants. This burger would deserve a plate and waiter had it wanted one, however Five Guys is obviously doing very well at what it does, a slightly classier, much tastier fast food restaurant. For myself I can’t see it becoming my regular haunt, I still like my luxuries most of the time, but when I’m next having a burger craving then I will return. Five Guys is top of my ‘quick burger stop’ list.