In the gourmet burger world, there are only a few names really worth mentioning, and of them, Smashburger is near the top. Dubbed the fastest growing better burger chain in the country, and with branches nationwide, Smashburger has become synonymous with delicious, made-to-order burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs, and shakes. And they’ve brought that winning formula to Ohio, with one restaurant already open in Dayton and the latest set to open on February 20th in Gahanna at 109 North Hamilton Road.
Drew Hansen, franchise owner, has one simple philosophy: “our goal is to make sure we use the freshest ingredients…in the wide variety of what we make, so everything we send out is going to be good”. And it is. It’s not that hard to make a burger, but the ones at Smashburger are particularly good, not only because they use 100% Certified Angus, and not only because of the patented 10-second smash that every burger is treated to in order to ensure a juicy product. It’s because everything they do there is done with extreme care and attention to detail. No issue is too small to overlook, from the thin slice on their awesome onion straws, to the precise temperature taking they do to make sure that every burger meets a high standard.
From the time you order your meal to the time that it’s prepared and delivered is a guaranteed four and half minutes (three if it’s just a burger) according to AJ Dickerson, long-time employee and corporate trainer. Each Smashburger depends on a skilled team trained in the art of consistency, an ace team if you will, and between them, you get the fast food experience elevated: quick service, quality food.
But quickness is not the only consideration Smashburger makes when it comes to serving their customers. “Service is key to us…our people are trained by a team that goes around the country training Smashburger employees…and not just how to serve food, but how to serve the customer, meet them, greet them…we want to take care of you the minute you walk in the door” says Hansen. He wants to create a place where people feel appreciated, their money goes a long way, and ultimately, their appetites are satisfied.
And many an appetite will be satisfied at Smashburger. Not only are the burgers juicy and well-seasoned, but their chicken is succulent, the salads almost laughingly large, and their shakes are thick and chuck full of whatever add-ins you desire, from Oreo to Butterfinger. The Buckeye Burger, what they expect to be their top seller, is topped with fried onion straws, American cheese, and unexpectedly briny and crunchy deep-fried banana peppers. A bite into it brings a smile to your face. My favorite burger is the Spicy Baja finished with pepper jack cheese, fresh jalapenos, spicy chipotle mayo, and guacamole atop a chipotle bun (yes, a chipotle bun. And yes, it tastes like chipotles). On a cold winter day, it warms you from the inside straight through to the top of your head.
An unexpected star is the Chicago-style hot dog, which carries on the tradition of cased meat topped with relish, peppers, mustard, and tomatoes with unexpected class. The hot dog itself is slightly spicy 100% beef, the toppings are fresh and plentiful, and the bun is poppy seed-studded like it should be. Pair it with a side of flash-fried vegetables zested with a secret salt developed by Smashburger founder Tom Ryan. Green beans never tasted so good! Or you can create your own burger or sandwich from the myriad of proteins they offer (including a very respectable black bean burger patty the size of a tire), cheese, and bright vegetable toppings.
Everything is good at Smashburger. The staff is comprised of some of the most sincere and knowledgeable people in the business, and their dedication to making quality food is evident is every facet. The restaurant is clean and well-lit with separate areas for dine-in and carry-out. Their promise of always-fresh, never frozen product is upheld at every level, as they “know [they] not only have a better product, but better service too. [They’re] not going to give you anything in a greasy brown bag”. With such fierce enthusiasm, it’s only a matter of time before Smashburger smashes the competition here in Ohio.
More information can be found online at www.smashburger.com.
Photos by Craig Ferance.