Tuesday August 14, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- Fans of Five Guys Burgers and Fries can expect a lengthy wait today, as the popular restaurant chain opens its first eatery in Berkshire County.

Five Guys on Merrill Road will begin serving its famous burgers, fries and other menu items at 11 a.m., likely to a continuous line of customers until the doors close at 10 p.m., according to owner Tom Pierog.

"I've been told by my managers there is a buzz in the city about Five Guys," said Pierog. "My other stores opened to lines out the door and I expect the same in Pittsfield as it's a better location."

The Albany-area resident currently operates two other Five Guys eateries in the Utica area, with the Virginia-based company awarding him a third franchises nearly three months ago.

Rows of employees make hamburgers at a rapid rate for customers Monday on friends and family day at Five Guys Burgers and Fries on Merrill Road in
Rows of employees make hamburgers at a rapid rate for customers Monday on friends and family day at Five Guys Burgers and Fries on Merrill Road in Pittsfield. (Stephanie Zollshan / Berkshire Eagle Staff)

Since early June, Pierog has had workers converting the former Falcetti's music store in the Stop & Shop plaza into the eat-in and take-out restaurant known for its simple menu and simple layout.

Pierog said he's hired 45 part-time employees and five full-time managers to staff the restaurant every day from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Five Guys has developed a loyal following across the country in the past decade because of the quality of its food and aggressive expansion, corporate officials have said.

While Five Guys also serves hot dogs and a couple of specialty sandwiches, Five Guys has 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.

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.

According corporate officials, Five Guys' popularity exploded when it began to expand a 10 years 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.

Five Guys has hired 45 part-time employees and five fulltime managers.
Five Guys has hired 45 part-time employees and five fulltime managers. (Stephanie Zollshan / Berkshire Eagle Staff)
Ten years later, 1,021 Five Guys can be found across the United States and in Canada, with about 80 percent belonging to franchisees, Catalano said.

The Pittsfield location is one of three new Five Guys being added to the 27 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.