Smashburger recently landed in Utah, amidst a fairly well organized PR blitz. For the uninitiated, Smashburger is a relatively small national chain. The operation mirrors a number of other high concept, upscale burger joints, popping up all over the place. The focus is on freshness, cooked to order and never frozen burgers. Smashburger’s particular USP is that meat is smashed onto the grill, supposedly to sear in flavour. We were invited along a couple of days ago to sample a couple of freebie burgers at their new Sugarhouse location. We thought we would report back on what we found.
The menu features a number of set burgers, available in one third and half pound sizes. The menu also offers a ‘build your own’ option plus a chicken burger and salad. No sign of a vegi-burger though. Burger add-ons feature familiar items like smoked bacon and sauteed mushrooms. What did catch my eye was the fried egg for an extra buck. Sometimes a fried egg atop a burger can work wonders. Sides are as you would expect: fries, chilli etc. Interestingly they also offer veggie fries, which are a mix of deep fried carrots, green beans and asparagus.
During our brief excursion to Smashburger, we tried both the Utah signature 1/2lb beehive burger (honey BBQ sauce, applewood smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, haystack onions, $6.99):
and the 1/3lb classic burger (lettuce, tomato, pickle, mustard, ketchup $4.99):
Burgers come open faced, so you immediately take in the “smashed” meat. The kitchen is closed off to the dining space, so you don’t get to see the actual smashing in action, which strikes me as particularly odd; indeed it’s possibly a downright glaring omission. Myself and my dining buddy both agreed the burgers were particularly juicy and full of flavour, if not a bit on the salty side though.
As well as the burgers we tried a side of the fries and onions too. The sides were great in my humble opinion. The fries were easily better than most fast food fries, and the haystack onions were artery-cloggingly-delicious.
It’s always struck me that a burger and it’s sides are a highly personal experience. Saying burger joint Y is better than burger joint X is always a call to arms for a war of words, so I won’t go down that route here. What I can tell you is that I definitely enjoyed my food here. Prices are certainly on the higher end of the scale too, but so is the quality. The clinical modernity of the interior didn’t work for me personally though. Smashburger is now open for business at two locations in Utah: Sugarhouse and West Valley. Provo, Logan and Draper are all planned for 2010.
SLC: 1028 E 2100 S, Salt Lake City, (801) 478-0158
WVC: 3513 South 2700 West, West Valley City, (801) 988-4613
Hi, I’m Stuart, nice to meet you! I’m the founder, writer and wrangler at Gastronomic SLC and The Utah Review; I’m also a former restaurant critic of more than five years, working for the Salt Lake Tribune. I’ve worked extensively with other local publications from Utah Stories through to Salt Lake Magazine and Visit Salt Lake. I’m a multiple-award winning journalist and have covered the Utah dining scene for more than a decade. I’m largely fueled by a critical obsession with rice, alliteration and the use of too many big words I don’t understand. What they’re saying about me: “Not inaccurate”, “I thought he was older”, “I don’t share his feelings”.
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