A CULT burger restaurant from Washington DC is coming to Lakeside as part of intu’s £9m food court revamp.

Five Guys, which opened its first UK restaurant in Covent Garden in July, will be coming to units 420-421 of the expanded Lakeside food court, in the latest of a rapid spread across the country which has already seen eight restaurants open.

Described by the Hamburger Me blog as garnering “immediate cult status” in London, the chain has a ‘Fanatics’ section on its website and was described by business magazine Forbes as America’s fastest growing restaurant in 2012.

Currently the nearest Five Guys is on the other side of the Dartford Crossing at the Bluewater Shopping Centre, Kent, making the move far more convenient for burger fans across south Essex – particularly as the franchise was named best fast food burger restaurant by ZAGAT in 2010.

ZAGAT top Mexican restaurant winner 2013, Tortilla, may also be coming to the food court after applying to Thurrock Council for an alcohol license earlier this month, together with Nando’s, which looks set to open a third restaurant at the shopping centre.

Joining them will be only the second Rhythm Kitchen jerk chicken joint in the country.

Former hotel chef and TV chief Delroy Dixon ploughed his life savings into his first outlet at the Westfield shopping centre in Stratford and said he decided to expand into Thurrock after being badgered by his Essex customers to open closer to home.

As well as chicken, the kitchen serves barbecue ribs and braised oxtail, all Caribbean fare inspired by his West Indian mother’s cooking.

“Our portions are big and Caribbean food is completely underrepresented in shopping centres and High Streets, so Rhythm Kitchen is a nice alternative to have,” he said.