Montclair is the Burger Capital of NJ so we’ve been waiting (and waiting and waiting) for Five Guys to open. It seems as if the storefront on Valley Road in Upper Montclair has been empty (and desolate) forever. In fact, Baristanet told of its coming a year ago. So what’s the problem? Why hasn’t Five Guys opened its doors yet?
The rumor around town has been that it’s because of the peanuts. You see, Five Guys not only cooks their french fries in peanut oil, they serve peanuts in bulk containers. The website does give peanut allergen information and apparently even has signs on the bulk peanut container asking patrons to keep shells in the store and not bring them outside. In a day and age where children with peanut allergies have more than tripled in just over a decade, Five Guys is like a ticking time bomb.
The rumor was started when a local teen told the owner of Jafajems (that cute store on Valley and next door to the anticipated Five Guys) that he read on his friend’s Facebook page that she was suing Five Guys and preventing them from opening because her daughter has a severe peanut allergy. It was a story of a crazed mom protecting her peanut allergic child. The truth is–there is no truth to it.
I spoke to owner Carol Jafferjee who was happy to put an end to the rumor. She said she has no idea how the rumor got started, and while she does, in fact, have a child with an allergy, she would never try to prevent another business owner from earning a living. Carol says she doesn’t really even know the owner, whose name is Tom, and hasn’t seen him in months. She too wants to know why they haven’t opened yet and said, “As a tenant on the same block and in the same building who pays $10,000 a month in rent, I cannot believe they are paying rent for the space and not moving ahead with the opening.”
So if it isn’t an overprotective mom standing in the way of Five Guys opening in Montclair, what is it? A call to corporate didn’t give me any answers. They said, “As of now, they have no projected opening date.” When I asked if I could contact the franchise owner, corporate explained and repeated, “We don’t give out franchise owner information. But again, we have no information from him and there is no projected date as of yet.” It looks like Five Guys fans will have to wait a bit longer for their burger fix. Too bad there aren’t a bunch of other burger joints in town….