THE WORD ON THE STREET IS "DAAAANG!"

New contender enters Springs burger wars

Smashburger opens its first Colorado Springs location Friday – the latest in a wave of restaurants beefing up the local burger scene.

Five Guys Burgers and Fries opened a Springs location in December. Jack in the Box returned to the Springs at the end of last year after a 12-year absence and has plans for four more restaurants in the Springs area.

They join a long list of established hamburger places ranging from fast food chains such as McDonald’s and Wendy’s to gourmet burger restaurants such as Red Robin – which has a location little more than a stone’s throw from the new Smashburger.

The Springs Smashburger is the Denver-based chain’s 11th restaurant. Nationwide, the chain expects to grow to 50 to 60 locations by year’s end, said Tom Ryan, founder of Smashburger. The Springs area will be part of that expansion, with plans for four or five locations in the next couple of years.