Short Story Of Jerry Murrell's 'Little Burger'

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Jerry Murrell bursts through the swinging glass doors of a hamburger restaurant at a shopping center in suburban Virginia. Van Morrison is rocking through the speakers, and line cooks are shouting orders across the open kitchen. Murrell, 67, who is tall with sporty sunglasses perched atop his bald head, enters as if he owns the place, which he does. The founder and chief executive officer of the Five Guys burger chain approaches the counter, takes his place in line, and makes a show of slipping a crisp $100 bill into the tip jar. Murrell passes up Five Guys’ regular cheeseburger, which comes with two patties and 840 gluttonous calories, and orders the “Little Burger” — a single patty with lettuce and tomatoes. No cheese or jalapeños, no mushrooms or any of the other 11 free toppings. Not even ketchup. Though he’s proud of the offerings, chosen by his sons who help run the business —…show more content…
When President Obama moved to the White House, a Five Guys staffer suggested sending him a T-shirt. “That’s cheap!” Murrell shot back. Playing coy worked, and soon Obama, trailed by TV cameras, stopped by a store. He ordered a cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, fresh jalapeños, and mustard — a classic example of Five Guys’ formula that sells 2 million burgers a week and was named Zagat’s “best fast food burger” for 2010. For this reporter, evaluating the burger first-hand was problematic: I’ve been a vegetarian for more than a dozen years. So I tried calling some expert tasters. Pulitzer Prize winning food critic Jonathan Gold says he doesn’t much care for Five Guys — he finds the burger “boring” — but understands why people like them. “There’s that goopeyness, and it does fit that kind of American profile.” Gilmore, the marketing consultant, calls the burgers “a couple pounds of carnivorous pleasure.” Then he adds, “It’s almost enough to make me feel sad for

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