Five Guys Burgers and Fries, which recently opened at 7252 N. Academy Blvd., offers complimentary toppings like fried onions and sauted mushrooms. But don't be fooled: According to owner Jeff Parker, the key to this franchise's success is simplicity. Its menu offers only burgers (in two sizes), hot dogs, a veggie or grilled cheese sandwich (all under $5) and two types of french fries, all trans-fat-, microwave- and freezer-free.
"We cut our own ingredients and bake our own bread every morning. Everything has a short shelf-life here," says Parker, a former baseball executive who moved to the Springs in June.
Five Guys gets its name from five brothers who started the business in Arlington, Va., in 1986. Parker purchased the rights to open up to 12 stores inside El Paso, Douglas and Pueblo counties in the coming years, should he choose to do so.
"We're certainly in a hamburger economy now," he says.
Visit fiveguys.com or call 264-6400 for more.
Send in the Troup
The Ritz Grill (13 S. Tejon St.) announced earlier this week that Chuck Troup will replace longtime executive chef Jay Gust, who departed in October to work at the nearby Antlers Grille.
Troup most recently spent two years at MacKenzie's Chop House (a Concept Restaurants sister operation to the Ritz). Prior to cooking in Colorado Springs, the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute-educated Troup spent a number of years in New Orleans' French Quarter.
According to Ritz co-owner Luke Travins, Troup will continue to be mentored by MacKenzie's chef Pete Moreno. Just prior to Valentine's Day, the two will unveil a new menu.
If you're interested in competing in Manitou Springs' Mumbo Jumbo Gumbo Cook-Off on Feb. 21, download an entry form from manitousprings.org. Space is limited; call 685-5089 for more.
The Blue Star (1645 S. Tejon St.) will host a five-course Bristol Beer Dinner at 6:30 p.m., Jan. 19; the cost is $55 plus tax/tip. Call 632-1086 for reservations.
Garden of the Gods Gourmet (2528 W. Cucharras St.) will launch "How-To Tuesdays" from 6 to 8 p.m. on Jan. 27. Each of the sessions will offer hands-on cooking lessons on topics such as quick sauces, braising and marinating. A hundred bucks buys entry to all six of the classes; otherwise, each runs $25 separately. Call 471-2799 for reservations.