By Leslie Albrecht
UPPER WEST SIDE — Columbia University students will soon have a chance to conduct intensive burger research.
Five Guys Burger and Fries will open a new location in February 2011 at West 110th Street and Broadway, just blocks from Columbia's campus at West 116th and Broadway.
The burger restaurant's new location is almost directly across the street from Mel's Burger Bar, which opened in August.
Five Guys chose the Morningside Heights location for its heavy foot traffic, proximity to Columbia and mix of nearby residential and commercial businesses, said Five Guys spokeswoman Colleen Murphy.
Mel's Burger Bar manager Steven Kay said he believes both restaurants can succeed. Both serve fresh ground beef burgers and fresh cut french fries, but the similarities end there, Kay said.
While Five Guys is a "quick service" eatery, Mel's Burger Bar is a full-service sit-down restaurant that serves beer and alcohol-infused milkshakes, Kay said. "There's always room for more," Kay said. "We welcome them to the neighborhood."
John Z. Rigos, the Five Guys franchise owner who will open the Morningside Heights location, agreed.
"We think that there is enough demand for burgers for us to both thrive in this market," Rigos said in a statement.
"There are hamburgers sold in almost every restaurant and that is because people love hamburgers. Every hamburger is different and people love burgers at home, at fast food restaurants, fast casual and fine dining."