By: Jonathan Bender; The Pitch Blog
Get ready for the sizzle — Smashburger opened yesterday at 6551 West 119th Street in Overland Park. This is the first Kansas City area location for the Denver-based fast-casual chain that takes its name from the practice of smashing down its Angus beef patties on the grill.
The space is bright, with the bold red of Smashburger’s logo driving the color scheme: red booths and circular red pendant lamps in a space formerly occupied by Starbuck’s (it was split in half; Starbuck’s is still adjacent to the burger shop).
The restaurant also has an outdoor patio in front with 12 tables. Chairs are molded red plastic and sit beneath large umbrellas with the restaurant’s motto of “Smash. Sizzle. Savor.”
That’s apparently what a middle-aged couple was doing, at least from what I overheard in the parking lot as they discussed their meal on the way to their car.
“That leaves a hell of a taste in your mouth,” said the woman.
“Yup. That’s a good one — I’d come back for that,” said the man.
Burgers are available in 1/3 lb. ($4.99 to $5.99) and 1/2 lb. ($5.99 to $6.99) sizes or with a chicken breast for what is known as smashchicken. The Spicy Baja (pepper jack cheese, guacamole, lettuce, tomato, onion, chipotle mayo, and jalapenos on a chipotle bun) and the Kansas City smashburger (grilled onions, garlic sauteed mushrooms, Swiss cheese, haystack onions and A-1 steak sauce on an egg bun) have been popular early sellers.
The chain also has its own special sauce — smash sauce is a blend of mayonnaise, yellow mustard, pickled relish and lemon juice. You can also create your own burger, choosing a bun, cheese, sauce and toppings. Among the add ons is a fried egg (99 cents), beefy chili (99 cents), guacamole (99 cents) and fried pickles (49 cents).
Fries come in three flavors — smash (rosemary, olive oil and garlic), sweet potato (smash seasoning with sweet potatoes), or French fries (shoestring potatoes with sea salt). They’re $2.79 to $2.99 as a basket, $1.99 with the order of a sandwich. Other sides include veggie frites (flash-fried asparagus spears, carrot sticks and green beens) and haystack onions (thinly sliced crispy onions).
Four types of hot dogs are on the menu as well. The KC Hot Link ($3.99) features Gates BBQ sauce, cheddar cheese and haystack onions; the Chicago Dog ($3.99) has yellow mustard, tomatoes, pickle slices, sport peppers, sweet relish and onions (but sadly, no celery salt).
Milkshakes ($3.99) and malts are made with Haagen-Dazs ice cream and are available in vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. They come in an old-fashioned glass with a metal tumbler that contains nearly another milkshake. You can also add vanilla ice cream to root beer for a float, which is served the proper way: in a frosted mug.
There’s bottled beer ($2.99, four for $9.99) and wine by the glass ($3.99) — probably the best deals on the menu. The current beer selection includes Budweiser, Bud Light, Miller Lite, Coors Light and Boulevard Pale Ale, Wheat, and Boss Tom’s. The wines are Barefoot wines.
Somewhere between fast food and gourmet burgers, this joint seems made for the family set and college students.