A month or two ago I had the opportunity to try Z Burger, an up and coming burger chain in the DC metro area.  The worst part about Z Burger is the fact that it is essentially a blatant copycat of Five Guys.  However, this is also the best part about it.  Instead of falling short, they seem to have risen to the challenge of largely measuring up to Five Guys.


When you enter Z Burger you are confronted with a menu almost identical to Five Guys – fries, single or double burgers, cheese burgers or bacon cheese burgers, plus a list of 20 or so toppings, all at no extra charge.  The differentiation from Five Guys comes in the form of additional menu items – cheesesteaks, onion rings and about 70 different milkshakes, with flavors ranging from Birthday Cake to Peanut Butter & Jelly.

We placed our order and our burger arrived wrapped in tinfoil adorned with the Z Burger logo:


A healthy sized burger for sure, and as I always do, I loaded it up with almost every topping available:


The burger is juicy and tasty, although a little cleaner and less greasy than a Five Guys burger. It lacks the depth of greasy flavor most Five Guys burgers have, but hits about 90% of the flavor notes necessary for a good burger.  On to the sides:


The fries might actually be slightly better than Five Guys. They have a good fresh taste and are complemented perfectly with vinegar.  But after that, we moved on to the real star of the Z Burger show, the onion rings:

Click below to keep reading for more photos and thoughts on Z Burger!


Put simply: these are da bomb.  Lots of breading that is perfectly crispy and manages to stay flavorful without being greasy.  One of the most jonestastic things about eating onion rings is when you bite into one and end up pulling out a huge piece of onion, leaving you with an empty shell of onion-less breading. It sucks, but it’s inevitable, it always happens at least once an order with onion rings. But not with these onion rings my friends. I have now had them three times, and every single time the onion rings break off into perfectly balanced bites.  For some extra flavor, try dipping them in the Z Sauce, which is essentially a hybrid of russian dressing and remoulade sauce.


People, people, we haven’t even gotten to the shakes! I had a strawberry cheesecake which was perfectly solid, but unspectacular. My friend got a rocky road shake:



On my most recent visit to Z burger I got a Peanut Butter & Jelly shake, which I was curious to try. Sure enough, it tastes EXACLTLY like peanut butter & jelly. Unfortunately I realized about 5 sips in that is not a flavor combo I can drink 16 oz’s of without feeling a bit bloated and nauseous.

Overall Z Burger is very solid. Those who say it is better than Five Guys have a pretty good case to make – the burger is of almost equivilant flavor, but less greasy, while the onion rings are outstanding and the shakes get the job done while giving you incredible selection.  There are two locations in DC right now, TenleyTown and Glover Park, but expect Z Burger to keep expanding to Dupont, Chinatown and other neighborhoods.

18 Responses

  1. Bear Silber

    “…70 different milkshakes, with flavors ranging from Birthday Cake to Peanut Butter & Jelly.” Okay that’s it, I’m flying to DC right now. This place sounds awesome. It’s like In-N-Out (no Five Guys here) but with bacon, toppings and crazy shakes.

    What toppings do they offer? What’d you get on yours?

    Hilarious 🙂 “Unfortunately I realized about 5 sips in that is not a flavor combo I can drink 16 oz’s of without feeling a bit bloated and nauseous.”

  2. MattHurst

    That sounds an awful lot like the Z burger I know. I’ve been huge on this place since I move d here, especially the Z burger in my neighborhood.
    You know they have this sign that says they’re the”best veggies burger in DC”? It’s true, hands down the best, no lies. Check my reviews on Yelp if you don’t believe me.
    I can see Z Burger expanding around town. To be honst, I’m kind of surprised this hasn’t happened already.

  3. Antonio

    No it is far from in and out. I am from San Francisco and Live in DC. I have had five guys. Five guys is good bcuz u can get any extra topping for free i.e. mushrooms chesse whatever.

    I am going to try Z burger.

    In and Out has the animal style which im sorry just cant b beat.

    Well it cant be beat until you stick a sour dough jack in your mouth. Then it gets KO’d lol.

  4. Catherine

    I go to AU (American University) which makes hitting up the Tenleytown location of Z Burger easy, and quite a constant (they also do tons of fundraising events with AU’s various clubs and organizations. Not to mention any AU student with a BlueCrew card [our student sports section] gets 50% off their order) for us hungry students.

    I love Z Burger. How much do I love Z Burger? I used to avoid eating fried food. No fries, no onion rings. I didn’t eat hamburgers. I didn’t drink shakes. Thanks to Z Burger, I’m going to die from clogged arteries. Blissfully.

    Also, their Bananas Foster milk shake? Good (they’re all good).

  5. modi

    great fucking review. it looks like a damn five guys but honestly, i think it’s a better establishment with a smoother aesthetic. the name is wack as shit tho.

  6. Needs a VeggieBurger

    If you are vegetarian, Z Burger actually has a veggie burger whereas at Five Guys you are stuck with a grilled cheese sandwich. Also, Z Burger has wi-fi and Five Guys does not, making it a simple choice if I want to sit and eat.

  7. Waverly

    First time at this place and the last time tables where dirty food order was wrong no one cared . How dare you compare to five guys you are not even close I just threw away 23.95 worth if food. I called and asked for a manager the left me in the phone not in hold no one cared when I complained. Horrible experience and this was at white marsh where you have a high expectation die to the area.. I will not be back and I will let everyone know how bad it was. I have my receipt and would like my money back


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