Burger shop smashes into Folsom

The newest hamburger restaurant in Folsom, opening today, is certain to be a smash.

All burgers at Smashburger, described as a “fast-casual” restaurant, begin as meatballs that are smashed, seared and seasoned into a patty on a flat grill.

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Named for its cooking method, Smashburgers start at $3.99 and are a one-fourth, one-third or half-pound ball of fresh certified Angus beef cooked to order, served on a buttered artisan bun and topped with a selection of real cheeses, fresh produce and condiments. The food is served open-faced and restaurant style.

Smashing meatballs into patties creates a “great texture and adds tender juiciness,” said Tom Ryan, the 53-year-old company founder, who works from corporate headquarters in Denver.

The new Smashburger at 703 E. Bidwell St. in Folsom, near Wales, is the second Sacramento-area location. The other is in Citrus Heights, which was the first in Northern California. Plans are to open three more Smashburgers in or near Sacramento over the next two years, one in Roseville this fall.

Customers also can order smashchicken, smashsalad and smashfries, as well as other sides, milkshakes and soft drinks. The Folsom store is licensed to sell wine and beer, most locally brewed.

“I am confident Smashburger will become Folsom’s favorite place for burgers,” said Ryan. He created the concept in 2006 and the first store opened in mid-2007 in the Denver suburb of Glendale.

He projects 100 stores by the end of this year, establishing “a national footprint” for the chain. There currently are 68 Smashburgers, 40 to 45 of them owned and operated by the privately held company, the others are franchises or joint ventures. The units are not stand-alone nor are they drive-throughs. Most are located in strip malls.

Two owners of locally owned burger restaurants welcome the competition. Eman Ashari at the recently opened Fireside Burgers in El Dorado Hills said, “We all serve burgers so you have to have a very original idea to be of interest to people.”

Richard Righton, owner of the Bidwell Street Bistro in Folsom and the newly opened Relish Burgers in El Dorado Hills, doesn’t see Smashburger as a direct competitor.

“They’re in a little bit different market and just a burger place in more of a casual concept,” he said. “El Dorado Hills has a lot of burger places but Folsom doesn’t have that many.”

Smashburger is ready for the burger battles.

“Even though, generally, there looks to be a burger place at every corner, burger lovers are not being very satisfied with their choices,” Ryan said. “Our concept is focused on being everybody’s favorite burger.”