Smashburger’s unique technique locks in yummy flavors

A mushroom swiss burger and some sweet potato Smashfries from Smashburger. Photo by Emma Richie

Juicy, tender burgers dripping with grease. Savory french fries, with the salt sticking to your fingers, demanding several napkins. It’s the all-American pasttime, right up there with baseball, Chevy pickup trucks and apple pies. Smashburger was founded by two businessmen, Tom Ryan and Dave Prokupek, who wanted to make a “fast casual” burger place, with reasonable prices and great food that was unlike any other. Why’s it called Smashburger, though? It comes from the grill cook’s process of “smashing” the burger into the grill with a steel mold, to lock in all those yummy flavors and juices. Across from the mall at 1210 Roseville Parkway, it’s the perfect place to meet up for a date or hang out with friends, they’re open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. But the teen-friendly prices make it even better.

They have regular burgers, chicken burgers and even black bean burgers for vegetarians. They have an interesting selection of milkshake flavors, and three types of french fries; Smashfries, french fries and sweet potato Smashfries. Their sides are really reasonable, ranging from $2-3, and the burgers go from $4-7, but you’re getting some serious bang for your buck.

I had the Avocado Club, which was grilled chicken, lettuce, avocado, bacon and ranch on a whole wheat bun. And it was probably the best thing I’ve ever eaten. The chicken was incredibly juicy and flavorful, and the patty was way bigger than the bun. The bacon was crisp and delicious, and the ranch surprisingly matched really well with the rest of the sandwich. The bun tasted like it was homemade, and even as a big “ew, no whole wheat anything please” advocate, it was amazing. They could have put a tad more avocado on it, seeing as it IS the avocado club, but I was too distracted by the rest of the meal to even care.

Most reviewers decided to go for the traditional burger rather than a chicken sandwich.

“The food at Smashburger is mouth-wateringly delicious. The Mushroom Swiss burger was grilled to perfection, the mushrooms, swiss cheese and burger combining together perfectly. It’s better than any burger I’ve ever tasted by far. The bun was picture perfect, the burger obviously made of meat, unlike other chain restaurants that use something that can’t be classified as meat. Everything about the Mushroom Swiss burger was amazing — from the hot, juicy burger to the toasted bun. Smashburger’s Mushroom Swiss is definitely deserving of an award,” Harmony Reilly said.

There’s also a create-your-own burger menu, where you can choose your own bun and toppings to create your perfect burger or chicken sandwich..

“Overall I had a nice experience at Smashburger but there were a few problems with my create-your-own apple wood smoked bacon and swiss cheese chicken sandwich on sourdough. The patty was a very thin, the same size or smaller to a chicken sandwich at McDonalds, and the meat was extremely salty and fatty. Additionally, the sourdough tasted fake and did not hold up with the sandwich. For the price, it was a little weird because a premade burger with similar topping cost less even though they should have cost about the same,” Michael Nakada said.

The selection of shakes were awesome, ranging from the normal chocolate, strawberry and vanilla to the Oreo, Butterfinger and Nutter Butter shakes, all for $3.99.

“My friend and I asked if it was okay to split a shake, and they were really nice about it. My shake was about the same size as people’s who paid regular price just for one, so I definitely recommend splitting one with a friend,” Abi Brooks said.

The sides were also really impressive. At first, I was hesitant to trying the deep fried pickles, because I mean hey, it doesn’t sound too delicious. But when dipped in ranch, I was definitely proven wrong. The crunchy-ness of the pickles, the creamy ranch, and the delicious coating worked really well togther and made the perfect tangy, crunchy treat to go along with my sandwich. You can try these for yourself for $1.99, or try the garlic smash fries for the same price.

“The garlic fries were great because unlike normal garlic fries that are just covered in garlic, these fries had olive oil, rosemary and garlic, and it was the perfect combination for the perfect fries,” Sara Miller said.

Smashburger also has their signature “smash sauce”, which can be added to your burger on request.

“To go to Smashburger and not try the Smash Sauce would be a horrible experience for you. It is a unique sauce that is only available at Smashburger and is comprised of mayonaise, mustard, sweet relish and a little bit of lemon juice. Now, don’t go thinking it sounds gross because you definitely can not knock it until you try it. With it’s different, but delicious taste, it will complete your burger and change your life. Alright, it probably won’t change your life, maybe just your burger,” Shai Nielson said.

However, the Smashburger experience wasn’t all rainbows and smiles; they did have a few faults.

“It was spicy, juicy, the onions were cooked just right, the jalapeno peppers were fresh, it was sensational —  until I realized my veggie burger was actually a slaughtered, butchered pig on a bun. After being given heaven on a plate, it was hard to digest the frail bean patty that fell apart with every bite. Don’t get me wrong, the burgers tasted fine, but it was like living in a box after spending a week in a mansion,” Ilaf Esuf said.

But overall, Smashburger is a great place, with wonderful food and a cool ambiance. There’s small tables and booths in the cozy restaurant, with lamps hanging overhead and words like “sizzle” stuck on the windows. The savory smells of your meal being cooked waft throughout the place. It feels nice enough to go out with family, but relaxed enough to go with friends. And if you haven’t tried it yet, you should definitely soon.

“Smashburger is the place to go if you want deliciously amazing food. Or, if you like greasy, unappetizing burgers that don’t look anything like the burgers on the ads, feel free to stop by McDonald’s,” Reilly said.

By GABBI FORREST