Acadiana Business

Be patient Lafayette, Five Guys is a comin'

by Leslie Turk

Five Guys Burgers and Fries franchisee Billy Jacob still won't elaborate on the delays, but he says he's definitely coming.

ABiz first reported in late 2010 that Billy Jacob, whose family owned and operated Jacob's Restaurant at Four Corners from 1935-1985, had returned to Louisiana that year from Atlanta to develop the successful Virginia-based chain Five Guys Burgers and Fries and was planning a Lafayette store. Seventeen years before coming home, Jacob worked for Popeyes' corporate entity as executive chef.

Two years after signing a lease for his spot at Ambassador Caffery and Settlers Trace (near Starbucks), Jacob is still waiting. In June he said the restaurant would be open by the fall. That, obviously, did not happen.

Jacob told ABiz Friday that developer Shane Morrison will turn the building over to him in 30 days, and it will take up to 75 days after that to convert it into a Five Guys. The 2,700-square-foot restaurant will seat 100, accommodating about 20 for outside dining.

Lafayette burger lovers can't wait to sink their teeth into a Five Guys burger, which Zagat rates the best in the country.

Jacob declined to comment on what has caused the delays - and created a whole lot of anxiety among Lafayette foodies ready to experience the burger Zagat's annual survey ranked the best in the country for the past two years (it was, in fact, a reader's inquiry that prompted us to update this story). Two USDA Choice beef patties come on the burgers (the "little" burger has one), which are dressed with a wide selection of free toppings. The fresh cut fries come in lightly salted or Cajun style (go for the spice).

Jacob and his business partner, Rodney Johnson, opened the state's first Five Guys location in Baton Rouge's Towne Center on Corporate Boulevard in October 2010. The second location opened in Covington (where Jacob now lives), the third in the Northgate area of LSU - in the old Blockbuster on Highland Road between State and Chimes streets - and the fourth will open in Harahan about the same time as the Lafayette store.

Jacob has development rights to all of South Louisiana (seven parishes).