MOOYAH had me at free “fried onion strings” as a topping. Located in a strip mall in Los Gatos, this recently opened franchise touts fresh ingredients and build-your-own burgers in a no-frills atmosphere. Sounds a bit like Five Guys, right? But MOOYAH is no ordinary fast food joint.

The menu has all the standards: beef patties (single and double), American cheese, mayo and mustard, lettuce-tomato-onion-pickle. But MOOYAH, which has another location in Morgan Hill, also surprises with turkey burgers and black bean veggie burgers, fresh-baked buns, and unusual toppings and sauces like sauteed mushrooms and Cholula.

We stopped by after the Friday dinner rush and had them load up two burgers: a turkey on wheat ($6.29) with pepper jack ($0.79), avocado ($0.99), bacon ($0.99) and a whole host of free toppings (say it with me—fried onion strings!); and a double on wheat ($6.69) with cheddar, avocado, bacon and more free toppings. We skipped their salads and got french fries ($2.69) and sweet potato fries ($2.99) along with a vanilla shake and a Reese’s PB Cups shake ($3.49 each).

The buns were fluffy without being gummy. The patties were juicy and well-seasoned—the turkey was perhaps even more flavorful than the beef. The bacon was crispy, the pickles were thick cut and vinegary, and the avocado was ripe.

The shakes, made with real ice cream, were equally a treat. Both were creamy, rich and right-sized. (At MOOYAH, a small truly is small, thank goodness.) Even though they come with wide straws, blended shakes like the Reese’s PB Cups are best enjoyed with a spoon to get all the chunks that inevitably sink to the bottom.

Both types of fries had great flavor. The french variety were a little tough, as if they’d been sitting out. The sweet potato fries had a touch of cinnamon and were cooked to perfection—crispy on the outside, melt-in-your-mouth on the inside.

At roughly $17 per three-piece meal, MOOYAH may seem pricey for fast food. But the cost is justified by the high quality and range of options, especially compared to similar chains. We’ve all had our share of trendy $15 burgers, and most aren’t half as good as MOOYAH’s cheesy-bacon-avocado wonder.

15529 Union Ave., Los Gatos, CA