Popular American burger chain Five Guys could be opening a new store in Oxford later in 2017.
The chain plans to move into Magdalen Street, next to the Odeon cinema and the former Lola Lo unit.
Oxford City Council have been lodged with a change of use application to convert the Jaegar clothing shop to make use of the ground floor of the unit.
Five Guys was founded in 1986 as a single restaurant in Virginia, but was reported to have over 1,000 sites in 2013. Fans of the upmarket chain include former US President Barack Obama.
Cherwell‘s Food and Drink Editor, Susie Finlay, offered her own analysis of the news: “With ‘proper’ burgers at Byron and ‘dry-aged prime cuts’ at The Rickety Press, the possible arrival of Five Guys in Oxford just marks a new addition to an already sizeable line of artisan-style burger restaurants, which market themselves as better quality, or more ‘honest’ than the next outlet.
“But this isn’t purely an Oxford phenomenon. The cult of gourmet burgers has taken the entirety of the UK by storm. By 2019, the market is expected to be valued at £3.3 billion. I question whether there’s significant substance behind the slick publicity and aesthetic design, but one thing is for sure – burgers have come a long way from the McDonald’s Drive Thru.”
One Oxford student, who wished to remain anonymous, shared their frustration over the plans: “It’s dismaying to see Oxford once again add to its quite ridiculously competitive culinary scene. Another burger bar to add to Gourmet Burger Kitchen and Byron sitting next to each other, not to mention Banana Tree and Thaikun opposite each other with Giraffe, a poor man’s Nando’s, not much further up George Street than the place it badly rips off.
“I wish that companies would show some imagination next time they try to bait our money with hot food.”
St. Peter’s College undergraduate and prominent food blogger Rosie Crawford, told Cherwell: “There’s so many American stores and multiple burger chains in Oxford—there may as well be another McDonald’s or Burger King! I’m sure these would be more popular with the student crowd, anyway.”
Crawford added: “While it may be attractive for tourists, there are very little vegan options despite such a large percentage of vegetarians at the university.”
The UK welcomed the first Five Guys restaurant outside North America in July 2013, in London on Long Acre in Covent Garden—one day before the opening of Shake Shack’s first UK outlet. The chain continued to expand its UK locations, opening next in Reading, Berkshire. The chain now has 27 restaurants open across the UK.
A decision on the Oxford store is expected by May 24.