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Guilderland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, January 28, 2010

Five Guys in Guilderland makes seven for Hada

By Anne Hayden

GUIDLERLAND — A new restaurant will open on Western Avenue in two weeks, in a building that has been vacant for over three years.

The building, in Route 20 across from Stuyvesant Plaza, formerly housed a Denny’s, and will now become a Five Guys Burgers and Fries. The restaurant was sold to P.J. Hada at the beginning of December for $630,000.

Hada manages six Five Guys restaurants in the Capital Region; the one in Guilderland will be his seventh. Five Guys is a national chain, which Hada said is popular in Washington, D.C., where he used to live. Individuals privately own and run the chains restaurants.

Hada moved to the Albany area with his wife, with the intent to open a Five Guys. His first restaurant, in Niskayuna, opened in 2005. At that time, said Hada, there were approximately 50 Five Guys restaurants across the country.  Now there are almost 500, he said.

The chain has grown rapidly because of the fresh, quality food, he said.

“We make all our hamburger patties fresh; we don’t even have a freezer in the restaurant. We spend all day hand-cutting French fries,” Hada said. The local restaurants have a meat supplier in New Jersey, and it meets Five Guys standards of having no preservatives or fillers, he said.

While owning a restaurant that is part of a chain is different than owning an independent business, Hada said, he has been happy with the support he has received from the chain’s owners, and has met them several times in person.

Janie and Jerry Murrell and their four sons, with Mr. Murrell and his sons making up the original Five Guys, founded the chain in 1986, in Arlington, Va. Two years later, the Murrells had a fifth son; all five sons — the current Five Guys — are now involved in running the business.

Though this will be the seventh Five Guys restaurant under Hada’s management, it will be the first location at which he owns the building. He leases the others.

“The building on Western Avenue embraces a good demographic, and has good visibility,” he said. He is hoping that, with the University at Albany close by, and nearly 40,000 cars driving by each day, the new location will be as successful as the others.

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