Where Local and Global Appetites Collide

Smashburger Tucson Debuts November 20

Photo courtesy of Rita Connelly
Photo courtesy of Rita Connelly

I went to the media preview of Smashburger and I think they will do well in Tucson. The franchise owner expects to open 4 stores here by the end of 2014 so it’s just a matter of time. The first location is in the former Buddy’s Grill at 4821 E. Grant Road in the Crossroads Festival shopping center. The building is also shared by a third Paradise Bakery & Cafe but there’s a wall and it’s not intrusive.

The burning question is: Why is it called Smashburger? Aha, that is the technique of how the burger, and ditto for the chicken, is cooked. It’s smashed down for a juicier burger but is by no means paper thin.

One thing that I liked about Smashburger is the variety of offerings. While they have many burger combinations as well as buns, there is grilled or battered chicken sandwiches, salads, and plenty of sides for all appetites.

We sampled many (too many) items. Our table of four shared fried pickles, Smash fries (tossed with rosemary, olive oil, garlic), and sweet potato fries prepared the same way. The veggie frites were a hit as green beans and carrots are flash fried (no batter thankfully) to keep their crispness.

Unlike some other burger joints, Smashburger servers beer in frosty mugs and mini bottles of Barefoot wines as well as soft drinks.

We tasted many burgers…too many to remember but unfortunately most of them were too salty for our baby booming palates. At first the person in charge said perhaps the cook was over salting but later said the burger seasoning was perhaps too salty for us. The grilled chicken sandwich was perfect in every way however the black bean burger, though tasty, was a tad too salty. I don’t use much salt so am perhaps more sensitive than most.

Every Smashburger has a regional burger. Here in Arizona, the burger boasts habanero cheese, guacamole, lettuce, tomato, onion, spicy chipotle mayo, and fresh jalapenos on a spicy chipotle bun. Jalapenos aside, the burger was not as fiery as it sounds.

Burgers come in regular ($4.99-$5.99) and big ($5.99-$6.99) sizes. You can also create your own burger ($3.99/small, $4.29/regular, and $5.29/big) and pick your bun (4 options to choose from), add free sauces & toppings, and cheese (.70/extra). Some premium add-on options include fried egg, applewood smoke bacon, haystack onions, beefy chili, garlicky mushrooms.

My fav was avocado club on multi-grain bun.

If burgers aren’t your thing, hot dogs and salads cater to other appetites. And for dessert Haagen-Dazs shakes, floats, and malts to caress your sweet tooth. Oh!

As you can see the choices are varied. It will be interesting to see how they progress and can succeed in this fast casual environment. No drive-thru; dine-in, or take out only.

You can find a Smashburger near you. New locations include Kuwait & Saudi Arabia.

Get smashed!

(Pictured: BBQ, bacon & cheddar burger)

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