An Event to Relish | The Grand Opening of Downtown’s Smashburger

May 27, 2011

Classic Smashburger with a beer
On Thursday, May 26th, Smashburger kicked off the grand opening of its fourth San Diego location by serving its "smashing" menu to a packed house that boogied to reggae and rock by A Conscious Few to work it off. The newest Smashburger location is shiny white and red, and located at 8th and Market in downtown's up-and-coming East Village.

"Smashburger" is inspired by the process the chain uses to cook burgers, which entails smashing a third or half-pound ball of 100% certified Angus ground beef on a grill. The technique sears the meat quickly and seals in the juices. While each Smashburger location varies somewhat, they all start with a 1950s soda shop concept brought into the 21st century with modern design and creative menu choices.

Headquartered in Denver, Smashburger franchises fast, casual restaurants and says its mission is to "be every city's favorite place for burgers." This may be an easier goal in some cities than in San Diego, where a virtual flood of burger-centric eateries has been inundating the city and county for several years. When asked how he plans to contend with local institutions like Hodad's and Burger Lounge, Smashburger's operations chief, Wayne Mandelbaum, responded, "there is plenty of business out there for everybody." He says the chain does not plan to compete with those restaurants, since it believes that each offers patrons something valuable and unique.

Smashburger restaurants aren't just about burgers. The imaginative menus also features salads, hot dogs, veggie burgers, chicken sandwiches, allChili Cheese Dog of which can be customized in many ways. For example, there are four choices of artisan buns and a huge number of sauces, toppings and cheeses. Patrons can pair their meals with beer, wine, Häagen-Dazs shakes and root-beer floats, as well as plenty of sides, including fried pickles, chili cheese fries, haystack onions, veggie frites and rosemary and garlic–seasoned Smashfries. Smashburger also serves breakfast through the day (breakfast menu).

At the party, we sampled the San Diego burger ($5.99) with fresh avocado, cilantro, pepper Jack cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, sour cream and spicy chipotle mayonnaise on a torta roll, served with a wedge of lime – very traditional SD flavors atop a juicy burger. We also tried the avocado club crispy chicken sandwich ($6.99), with fresh avocado, applewood smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, ranch dressing and mayo on a multi-grain bun. One bite crunched through both the crispy and flavorful exterior of the chicken and the moist, meaty cutlet, which contrasted with the avocado's creamy consistency and soft bun.

Veggie FritesOn the lighter side, there are six salads ($5.99), with can be accessorized with grilled or crispy chicken for an extra $2. The BBQ Ranch salad comes in a large bowl with a mix of greens (no iceberg here), smoked bacon, Cheddar cheese, fried "haystack" onions and a topping of BBQ sauce and ranch dressing. It's a great choice for barbecue lovers, since the smoky sauce and bacon create a dynamic flavor combination when mixed with the greens and fried onions.

On Monday, May 30th, which is Memorial Day, Smashburger will salute San Diego's military by offering a free entree to military personnel. Guests who bring military I.D. to any San Diego Smashburger will receive a 1/3 pound Smashburger, a Smashchicken or a Smashsalad while supplies last. It's a gesture that we all can appreciate.

801 Market Street, Downtown
Daily 7:00 a.m. To 10:00 p.m.

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