What goes through 80 million pounds of potatoes a year and just came to a shopping center in Alcoa?
The answer: Five Guys Burgers and Fries restaurants across the nation.
Gibby and Tina Lepsig opened a new location for the growing chain on Monday, April 21, in the Hamilton Crossing Shopping Center. The restaurant boasts a menu that is strictly burgers and fries done to what they say is the highest standards.
“Everything at Five Guys is fresh. We don’t even own a freezer,” Gibby Lepsig said. “Each morning we shred the lettuce, hand-cut the potatoes and hand-pat out the patties for the burgers. Our bread is baked fresh at our bakery and brought to us four times a week.
“We go through 6,000 pounds of potatoes a week and the Five Guys restaurants will go through 80 million pounds of potatoes per year,” he said. “We already love Blount County and are having a great response.”
The couple have franchise rights for Knox, Sevier, Blount and Loudon counties. They plan to do eight stores.
Tina Lepsig said they were so happy to be in Maryville. “We’ve really been looking forward to this store. The timing is just right for coming to Maryville,” she said.
Scott Goodrich, a regional manager with Five Guys Burgers and Fries, said the company looks at doing business differently. The company, he said, empowers employees to do what is necessary to keep the quality high.
“We empower employees to do that,” he said.
Often people who know about the restaurant react positively when they see him wearing a golf shirt with the company name on it.
“If I want a quiet evening, I don’t wear this shirt,” he said with a laugh. “But, it’s very satisfying to be part of it.”
Scott said Five Guys Burgers and Fries doesn’t try to add new things to their menu constantly. “We don’t want to add things, we want to be very, very consistent,” he said.
Andrew Sonner, who works with the City of Alcoa, was enjoying Cajun fries and a burger. “It’s good,” he said. “It’s like an old fashion hamburger you used to get at an old gas station.”
Customers appeared to agree with Gibby Lepsig. Tommy Bailey from Blount County was enjoying his meal. “You get a lot of fries,” he said.
Mike Blake from Strawberry Plains was pleased with his burger and said he had eaten at the Turkey Creek location. “It’s a great burger, but I knew what to expect,” he said.
Russ Brewer and his wife, Diana, said they enjoyed their meal. “It was very good, excellent. We ate one at the one at Turkey Creek, and we liked it real well, and the service is good.”