Brace yourselves, better burger lovers: a new fast-casual restaurant has opened in Tucson. But before all the vegheads among you go turning your noses up, let me assure you that Smashburger smashes more than just beef; they offer a whole slew of chicken sandwiches, salads, sides and even a black bean veggie burger. I was recently invited to sample some menu items and I can tell you that Smashburger has been added to my list of approved dining establishments and if you know me well, you know that isn’t an easy feat.
If you’ve never heard of Smashburger, your first question might sound something like, “Why smash burger?” Mine was, too, so I asked Eric, the franchisee, and he happily explained the concept behind all things smashed. Apparently, the chain has developed a grilling tool that appropriately smashes the protein (whether beef or chicken) as it is cooked, effectively searing the meat and locking in the juices so that the end result is one juicy sandwich. From there, they get creative with their menu items, dressing both burgers and chicken with gourmet-esque toppings like haystack onions, goat cheese, applewood smoked bacon, garlic sauteed mushrooms and cukes. You can choose from one of their established menu items, or you can smash your own sandwhich with the toppings of your choice. Oh, and the sides. Did I mention the sides? On the night I visited, I was served the most addicting fried pickles I’ve ever encountered. For reals. We also got to try the smashfries (seasoned with rosemary and sea salt), sweet potato fries and veggie frites. See, vegheads? I told you there was something for everyone. Veggie Frites, for those not in the know, are flash-fried carrot sticks and green beans, served alongside ranch for dipping. Not being a beef-eater myself, I was partial to the green beans, and the chicken sandwich with goat cheese, cukes and a multi-grain bun. Yum! And just when you think the calorie count has been pushed to the limits, Smashburger tempts diners with hand-dipped Häagen-Daaz shakes. They have your standard chocolate, vanilla and strawberry, but I was all about trying their premium Oreo shake and, um, let’s just say it was worth every last calorie. I’ve got my eye on the Butterfinger version for next time.
Great news, too! Smashburger has kindly offered up $25 in smashbucks for one lucky reader. You don’t have to be a Tucsonan; Smashburger has locations all across the country, from California to New York. So what are you waiting for? Go get your smash on ;)