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Hamburger Bliss: Five Guys & Shake Shack

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. - For me, this summer was all about burgers. With the opening of two amazing hamburger chains in Fairfield County - Shake Shack and Five Guys Burgers & Fries - I am in heaven.

The burgers are juicy and delicious at both places. Shake Shack's single burger is priced at $3.75 and is a little cheaper than the Five Guys little burger, which costs $3.99. I prefer mine with cooked onions, which Five Guys piles on top of the burger at no extra charge. Other complimentary toppings include grilled mushrooms, grilled peppers and barbecue sauce.

Shake Shack's selection of free toppings is limited. Customers can order burgers with the restaurant's own shacksauce as well as lettuce, tomato, pickles or raw onion.

I love French fries, especially the ones Five Guys, where you can choose between plain and Cajun - both styles taste great. While a small order of fries costs $2.99, the large order at $4.29 is enough to feed three hungry teens. Five Guys; fries are among the best I've tried at any restaurant in the area.

The fries at Shake Shack aren't bad and they're similarly priced – it's $2.75 for a regular size (there is no larger order). To be fair, cheese fries are on the menu but I have not yet tried them.

Shake Shack draws me in with the beverages and desserts. Frozen custard is served in shakes, floats, cones, sundaes and concretes (custard with mix-ins and toppings). Vanilla, chocolate and the flavor of the day are available, and there is a custard calendar each month that features rotating flavors for every day of the week.

For September, depending on the day of the week, customers can sample cinnamon spice, chocolate banana, figs and honey, thin mint, coffee and donuts, red velvet, and peanut butter and jelly. Shake Shack also serves fresh-squeezed lemonade and homemade root beer on tap – along with the standard list of sodas. Five Guys does not sell dessert and features the customary soft drinks – the $1.99 regular sized drink includes free refills.

Five Guys has been open since last summer and Shake Shack debuted in July . Both places have plenty of seating, but be prepared for crowds at Shake Shack during peak lunch and dinner hours. An attendant is sometimes stationed in the parking lot to direct the constant stream of cars to the lot across the Post Road.

Customers order at the counter at both restaurants and a dedicated ice cream window at Shake Shack helps the line move quickly. I like the fact that Shake Shack supplies a beeper that signals when the order is ready. At Five Guys, customers must listen for their number to be called, but the free peanuts satisfy my hunger while I wait.

Where they are:

Shake Shack, 1849 Post Road East, www.shakeshack.com

Five Guys, 420 Westport Ave Norwalk; and 534 Post Road East, Westport, www.fiveguys.com

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