Arizona Gets its First Smashburger in Tempe

By: Dianna M. Náñez; The Arizona Republic

Kelly Welch ate what she described as a mouthwatering burger and side of fries at Smashburger, a national franchise that opened its first Arizona restaurant in Tempe today.

Smashburger, which specializes in gourmet burgers served fast, offered a preview lunch Wednesday for Welch and other friends and family of the restaurant’s staff.

Welch had the Arizona Burger, a hamburger made especially for a state with Southwest flair. On top of a one-third or one-half pound 100-percent Angus beef patty are fresh jalapenos, habanero cheese, fresh spicy guacamole, lettuce, tomato, onion and chipotle mayo on a toasted chipotle bun with baked in jalapeno flakes.

“Ohhh, it was so good. I really liked the spicy mayo and jalapenos,” Welch said.

Regis Smith raved about his barbeque bacon cheeseburger, which comes on a toasted egg bun and is topped with sharp cheddar cheese, applewood-smoked bacon, haystack onions and smothered in barbeque sauce.

“I come from a culinary background so I’m very particular and I thought it was awesome. I loved it,” he said.

Smith’s friend Alescia Parsons teased the picky eater. “He barely eats anything, so if he eats it it’s got to be good.”

General Manager Kurt Riske described Smashburgers as “candy” for burger lovers. While Riske is excited about bringing Smasburger food to the Valley, the Scottsdale resident said he is also pleased that in an economy that sorely needs jobs the franchise hired about 30 people to open the Tempe store.

“We hope to bring 100 jobs to the city in the next year,” he said, noting two Smashburgers that are planned to open in Phoenix and Avondale by spring 2010.

In addition to burgers, the restaurant
 also offers Smashdogs, Smashchicken and Smashsalads. In honor of ASU, Smashburger created the Arizona Devil Dog, a Hebrew 100-percent beef hot dog that is split, seared and topped with spicy guacamole, habanero cheese, jalapenos and onions on a toasted poppy-seed bun.

For calorie-minded foodies there’s the Arizona Cobb Salad, which also gets a Southwest twist with chipotle sauce, spicy guacamole, red onions and fresh jalapenos.

Sides include traditional fries tossed in sea salt, Smashfries seasoned with rosemary garlic and olive oil, haystack onion rings and veggie frites, which are carrots, asparagus and green beans flash-fired and tossed in garlic salt.

Desserts include Häagen-Dazs shakes and root beer floats.

Smashburger: 777 S. College Ave. suite 105, just north of University Drive and ASU’s campus. Open daily 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. More information: www.smashburger.com