Tuesday June 5, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- Five Guys Burgers and Fries is coming to Pittsfield.

The restaurant chain that has developed a loyal following across the country in the past decade plans to open one of its popular eateries in Pittsfield, possibly by late summer, according to corporate officials.

The Virginia-based company has awarded a franchise to Tom Pierog of New York City for a Five Guys located on Merrill Road. The former Falcetti's music store in the Stop & Shop supermarket plaza is being converted into the eat-in and take-out restaurant known for its simple menu and simple layout.

"We serve burgers and fries, and that's about it," said Molly Catalano, a corporate spokeswoman.

While Five Guys also serves hot dogs and a couple of specialty sandwiches, Catalano noted the chain's popularity has been because it focuses on selling quality hamburgers that take several minutes to prepare and fresh cut, seasoned-to-taste french fries.

"If people only come for those two things, we have to do them well," she said.

While devotees of the restaurants say the food is delicious, the burgers and fries do pack a caloric punch: A regular burger has 700 calories, while a regular serving of fries has 620.

A Five Guys restaurant usually consists of red-and-white checkered decorations and one counter for purchasing and picking up food. An open kitchen allows customers to see the food being prepared, with bags of potatoes stacked in the dining area. The potato stacks originate from a time when the restaurant did not have any other storage space for them.

Pierog was unavailable to comment on the proposed look of the Pittsfield Five Guys and when it will be ready to open. A sign hanging in the vacant storefront on Merrill Road simply reads, "Coming Soon."

According corporate officials, Five Guys' popularity exploded when it began to expand a decade ago.

Janie and Jerry Murrell founded the restaurant in Arlington, Va., in 1986, and had five restaurants before they began to offer franchises in 2002. Ten years later, 1,021 Five Guys can be found across the U.S. and in Canada, with about 80 percent belonging to franchisees, Catalano said.

The Pittsfield location is one of five new Five Guys being added to the 24 already operating in the state, the Westfield restaurant being the nearest, according to the company's website.

To reach Dick Lindsay:
rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6233.