Don't want meat? Then, why are you at Five Guys again? The menu does include a veggie and a grilled-cheese sandwich. I sampled the grilled cheese. This was a single slice of American cheese between inverted halves of a hamburger bun.

(Those with peanut allergies should take special care at Five Guys. The fries are cooked in peanut oil, and the restaurant sets out big bins of roasted peanuts for diners to snack on while they wait for their meals.)

I suppose you could object to Five Guys on principle: It's a national chain of fast-food restaurants in today's local-food, carbon-footprint world. I brought up similar concerns in last week's review of a vastly different national chain, McCormick & Schmick's ("Sole Proprietors," June 4, 2009). If you would rather support local businesses, consider Five Guys a challenge: It serves well-made, family-friendly fast food — a niche that few, if any, local restaurants fill. And I can think of more than a few local restaurants on every level that could learn from its efficient, friendly service.

Don't believe me? Here's a second opinion. Turns out the reason I woke up after a steak dinner craving Five Guys is because my brain was processing the news that President Obama had visited a D.C.-area Five Guys the day before. Five Guys, St. Louis' own Pi, an organic vegetable garden at the White House: Say what you will about the President's politics, but the man knows his food.

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