The restaurant's name is inspired by the cooking technique. Chefs start with a meatball of Angus beef and smash it against the grill to sear in the meat's natural juices. The burger is then gently pried off the grill and flipped (See how our own Beckie Maislin does flipping her own Smashburger). The result: a medium-done, perfectly moist burger.
Most burgers are topped with a buttered airy egg bun and smash sauce, a blend of mustard, mayonnaise and relish. The burgers come in three sizes, and the small Smashburgers were more than adequate (young kids could probably even split a kids smashburger meal).
In a regional twist, Smashburger is offering a St. Louis Smashburger, with provel cheese, garlic grilled mushrooms, grilled onions, sweet bell peppers on a pretzel bun. The combination is savory and delicious.
The sides at Smashburger are winners as well. Sweet Potato Smashfries were personal favorites. These fries closely mirror traditional potato fries in texture, and after being lightly tossed in rosemary, olive oil and garlic, they were the highlight of lunch.
In honor of St. Louis' favorite dessert, Smashburger offers a gooey butter cake milkshake, two ounces of gooey butter cake (from Ann and Allen Baking Company no less) handspun into a Haagen-Daz ice cream. What may sound overly decadent and rich, actually amounts to a smooth, vanilla-infused shake with small flecks of gooey butter cake.
The menu also offers chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, a veggie burger and salads. The kids meals include your standard burger, grilled cheese, hot dog and chicken strips (though you can order any Smashburger in a kids small size), and each cost $3.99.
This is the first Smashburger for the St. Louis area and Missouri. The Denver-based company pegs itself as the fastest growing "better burger" restaurant in the nation. Smashburger will open a second St. Louis location in Chesterfield in early fall, and 10 more area locations in the next four years.
Update, NOV. 8, 2011 -- Smashburger is opening their second St. Louis area location. A Smashburger will open Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2011, at 1671 Clarkson Road in Chesterfield.
Top: Smashburger Founder Tom Ryan demonstrates how Angus meatballs are turned into Smashburgers.
Top middle: Jessica Pupillo samples a St. Louis Smashburger.
Bottom middle: Appetizers include fried pickles, Sweet Potato Smashfries, haystack onions and several more.
Bottom: The Gooey Butter Cake Milkshake is a meal unto itself.