Five Guys on Harbor to open July 25

COSTA MESA — Five Guys Burgers and Fries will open July 25 in the Costa Mesa Square shopping center on Harbor Boulevard near Baker Street, a franchisee said.

It will be the Virginia-based chain's first Costa Mesa location and one of several to open throughout Orange County this year. The restaurant, in the center anchored by Target and Henry's Market, replaces the Baja Fresh Mexican Grill.

A Five Guys also opened in Newport Beach's Fashion Island on Friday, shopping center spokeswoman Jane Gillespie said Monday. That location was previously a Fatburger.

Both the Newport Beach and Costa Mesa locations are operated by the Georgia-based Monument Restaurant Group.

Although Costa Mesa's Five Guys is opening across from two other burger joints — In-N-Out Burger and a soon-to-arrive Sonic — it won't be the first time the restaurants have shared territory, said Kevin Nelson, vice president of operations for the franchisee, Monument Restaurant Group.

"We feel that it's a compliment if we're compared to In-N-Out and the same with Sonic, although they offer very different products from ours and have a different variety from what we do," Nelson said.

However, the relationship between the eateries will be more symbiotic than competitive, Nelson said.

"We feel that what's going to happen is that we'll bring more traffic to the area," Nelson said. "In the past, it's usually worked out for the best for all, actually."

Five Guys features made-to-order burgers, which can be ordered in more than 250,000 ways with a variety of toppings. Other menu items include hot dogs, grilled veggie and cheese sandwiches, and fresh-cut fries.

Last year, Five Guys was Zagat's survey winner for best burger, edging out Irvine-based In-N-Out, which was the 2009 winner.

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