I’ve never been a burger fan. When I was growing up in Manila, there were almost no burger chains. In the mid-sixties, I do recall that an A&W opened up but it was a long drive and so I never visited it after the family checked it out once. Besides, although the root beer was good, the burger was just OK.
When I did eat a burger, it was from a restaurant that served other food. I ate most of my burgers from the restaurant of the private club my family belonged to. Not that I recall the burgers being that great but because I didn’t have to pay for meals there. At the club, everything was signed for and so my parents paid for it.
When I came to the US and found burger chains everywhere, I found it strange. I didn’t eat a lot of fried food growing up and so when I did eat it, my stomach protested. I had to… sit down… soon afterwards. And not on a chair either…. ;)
When I did eat a burger, I chose Burger King since their Whoppers are broiled and theoretically less greasy than the others. And I did like that Whopper. Even if I did have to… sit down… soon afterwards.
I’m not sure when the $5 burger chains began. But when Five Guys finally came to Tallahassee a few years ago, I said goodbye to Burger King. Yet, Five Guys is still a greasy burger even if it is better meat than the “pink slime” I suspect the cheaper chains peddle. And since I still had to… sit down… soon after a Five Guys meal, I only visited maybe once every two or three months when the burger urge hit. (And now that our first Filipino restaurant has opened, I can indulge in the Big Three any time I want: pancit bihon, pork adobo and lechon kawali.)
Another blogger I link to said some good things about a $5 burger chain called Smashburger. But the only place I’d seen it is in Vegas and I’m not eating a $5 burger in Vegas when for maybe $8 I can get a steak dinner or (in the case of Mr. Lucky’s Café at Hard Rock Casino) prime rib.
When a Smashburger opened here about a month ago, about a quarter mile from one of the Five Guys’ two locations, I checked it out. Wow! I’m saying goodbye to Five Guys and getting smashed! ;)
Why? Although the two chains are somewhat similar in that they have two burger sizes and you can BYOB (build your own burger) from many toppings, that’s about it. Five Guys is a small, thick burger. Smashburger, as it name suggests, is “smashed” into a large thin burger. I’m not sure if “smashing” has something to do with the cooked product but it is the least greasy tasting burger I’ve had. Even when I get the large size, I don’t have to… sit down …any time soon.
And while you can get “normal” fries, they have a wonderfully delicate “smashfries” which are tossed in olive oil, rosemary and garlic. These fries are so light and delicious that ketchup spoils the flavor and I eat them “as is.”
As part of the grand opening, everyone’s receipt had an offer of free fries (your choice of type) if you completed an online survey and returned within 30 days. I did the survey and returned this week since my 30 days was running out.
And they were still offering the free fries on the receipt. So I’m doing the survey again and will be back in 30 days. Which means I’ll have eaten a burger three times in three months. But I like them!
Lastly, Smashburger is very “green.” All flatware is metal, not plastic. Drink cups are paper, not styrofoam. Napkins are unbleached brown paper not bleached white. No other burger place, or other “fast casual” place I know of is as environmentally conscious as Smashburger.
Smashburger, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship…