Smashing Good Time At Smashburger

by: Mike Madden, Montclair Patch

Smash. Sizzle. Savor. Those are the words that welcomed more than 200 burger lovers during a three-hour event Tuesday evening at Smashburger, which has introduced a variety of new menu items. The restaurant offered an array of tasty dishes, such as its familiar All American Smashburger, as well as a new BBQ Ranch SmashChicken, and a number of sides and new salads.

And perhaps the best part? You order at the counter and the food is brought to your table in, quite literally, about five minutes or less.

Indeed, with Five Guys Burgers and Fries still nowhere to be seen, despite promising a restaurant in Upper Montclair for the past year, Smashburger is likely to continue drawing enthusiastic crowds.

“The name is Smashburger, so the first thing is the cooking method,” said Scott Gilman, 49, of West Orange and owner of Smashburger in Montclair. “So, we actually smash the burgers. We take a very loose kind of meatball of beef, we put it on a really hot grill, we sear it and we have a smashing device and we smash it down on the grill and that creates the sear.”

Located on Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair, Smashburger churned out burger after burger, keeping the customers more than happy.

“Less fast food oriented than McDonald’s or Wendy’s and, in fact, I actually like it better than Elevation Burger,” said Adrienne Lasiter, 46, of Montclair.

“This is actually my first time here, but the food’s awesome,” said Jaime Kaslander, 19, of Verona. “I love it. I would definitely choose this over other places.”

Prices on the menu range from $4.99 to $6.99, depending on what size burger you choose to order. Other items besides their famed burgers, such as the SmashChicken (grilled or crispy) or Smashsalads, stay at the same steady prices as the burgers. There are also sweet potato fries and fried pickles for $1.99.

“It’s friendly and there’s a lot of people moving in and out,” said Jake Forman, 20, of Livingston, who’s also a waiter at the restaurant. “It’s very family oriented and I think it’s a very light environment. I like it a lot.”

So why is it called Smashburger? Because the 100 percent Angus beef is indeed smashed with a custom-made hamburger press for about 10 seconds, which caramelizes the meat. The burger is then flipped over and smashed again. Burgers come in two sizes: 1/3 pound and 1/2 pound.

With food as smashing as the prices, Smashburger is certainly a smash hit.