This is going to sound a little weird, but I am very excited about this place. It all has to do with their name and logo.
I know, I am a sucker for these kinds of things.
I was a HUGE fan of "The Creature from the Black Lagoon" movie. It was a tediously slow-moving film, the acting was so-so (I do horror film reviews on another blog, check it out), but the "gill-man" costume was amazing. It was just one of those things that stuck with me as a kid as being the height of cool.
When I saw this place going in a year or two ago, I was disappointed that I had not had a chance to stop in and check out the movie-store that was there previously, but thrilled about the idea of an artist having a gallery that had SOMETHING to do with that movie.
Like I said, I am a sucker for these kinds of things.
So, this is all a little premature. Sunday, we rolled by the Gallery Black Lagoon, finally having an opportunity to stop in the Hyde Park area and check it out. They were closed. Looking in through the window, I saw a few shelves with some hand-made jewelry, and maybe something on a wall way in the back, but otherwise the place was empty. The hours were like 12-4 M-F on the door (don't hold me to that...). I also saw that the place could be rented out for $100 and hour!
Can you imagine? You are a "starving artist" and you want to do a show. Let's say you want to do a Saturday night show from 6pm to midnight. That will be $600, my hungry friend. You better hope your flier campaign brings in loads of people with fat-wallets, or that you have a dozen artist-friends willing to share the space and the cost.
Thankfully, the Gallery Black Lagoon is not in the business of separating artists from their money. In fact, quite the opposite; they do a series of shows and calls-for-art each year, inviting local artists and artisans to participate for free. They even let you keep 85% of your sales, which is a bargain, as veteran artists will tell you. The gallery space is large enough to support several artists at a time, and the place stands-out, so promotion of your show should be easy.
The place is also in a cool location, right next to The Parlor Pizzaria (review coming soon) and across from the Hyde Park Theater, forming a kind of creative nexus. It seems to be a great location for wedding rehearsals, small receptions, and small charity events. The art displayed and discussed on the 'net is a little more mainstream than my own work, and they have already turned me down as a participant in their next series (for the sake of full-disclosure and not all that surprising). It looks like a great place for an artist like myself to get involved with the art community, enjoy a show, and get some free eats for a small donation.
My 11 year old, Gabrielle, raves about Five Guys Burgers and Fries. She must have had it somewhere in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. When we passed the location on Guadalupe in Austin, she was very excited, and said that we had to try it. Personally, I couldn't imagine what her fuss was about, I mean, it is just another burger-joint. Still, the next opportunity we had to go out and didn't know what we wanted, we opted to check out Five Guys Burgers and Fries.
On the plus side, they keep burgers simple. There is nothing overly pretentious about the place. Steak-and-Shake is what I would call an overly pretentious burger-joint... I mean, it is a burger. Calling ground beef "ground steak" is just assuming that your customers are idiots. "Burger-and-Shakes" lacks the same ring to it, but that is as far as I would go with the whole "steak" thing. Five Guys Burgers and Fries has a simple storefront, a simple menu, and is a fairly straight-forward operation.
I think this is coincidence, but there happened to be five guys working the shift we paid a visit.
At the front of the store, guiding you to the order-counter, was a walk-way lined with giant bags of what I think were peanuts. They might have been potatoes, and that seemed to be the impression I had that day, but that would mean that they go through a ridiculous amount of potatoes. Everything is made fresh. The place has no freezers, so maybe they were potatoes. Anyway, I thought it was a nice touch.
The menu, like I said, is simple. A burger is 2 patties with whatever toppings. A little-burger is 1 patty. You also have hot dogs and (of course) fries, regular of "Cajun". The variety of toppings allows for 250,000 variations on how you get your burger. They only do "well-done". I had a burger with bacon, cheese, and barbecue sauce.
The burger wasn't too bad. It wasn't too greasy (not necessarily a "plus" in my book), had only a hint of seasoning, and definitely was better than a once-frozen patty somewhere else. The fries were good, and they have malted-vinegar on hand for those who like that.
However, there was nothing outstanding about the burger, nothing worth the hype, anyway. I am confident that most people could make the same burger at home in a frying-pan on their stove top. The fries, also, weren't amazing. My kid was actually a little disappointed. Apparently, the Ft. Wayne store over-flowed the bag with fries. Our fries just filled the container.
Oh, that was the other cool thing. No trays or anything. They hand you your food in brown-paper bags, even if you are eating in.
The food was not bad, but not amazing. The amazing thing was the price. My burger, which in size I would compare to a Whopper at Burger King, was $6.99! That is not with fries and a drink. My cup-of-soda was another 2 bucks. To feed the four of us, I spent more than $40. That is the price I expect to spend at Applebee's, or maybe a local burger-joint like Dirty Martin's where the burger is massive, not a franchise burger-joint.
So, Five Guys Burgers and Fries was not bad, but was over-priced. Either make the same burger at home or go somewhere that you get more bang for your buck.