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Jun 23, 2009 11:35 AM

Golden Valley, MN Smashburger now open

Who is going???

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  1. They're planning on building quite a few in Ohio the next few years. They're going to expand from 15 to about 500 stores throughout the country, evidently.

    1. Stopped in at 11:15. Line was 20 deep. Thought I'd stick it out. Saw a burger go by. Left in disgust. Had Chipotle next door.

      17 Replies
      1. re: MSPD

        you probably made the right decision.

        1. re: getgot211

          Yes, it's evident by the number of people that have responded to this post. Not many people from this board are going, and probably nobody that knows what a good burger should taste like. Fortunately for Smashburger that means they should do very well here in Minnesota! :)

          1. re: princebaal

            So is it that bad? Is it comparable to anything? The chain is undergoing major expansion. That doesn't speak for Quality, of course, but I want to know what I'm in for when it reaches Ohio.

            1. re: Fibber McGee

              I'm not saying it's terrible...obviously I didn't eat anything there.

              If you want a comparison, I would guess Culver's is your spot. I happen to hate Culver's burgers with a passion. I personally think it's an absolute shame to take ground beef and destroy its flavor and texture by flattening it and griddling it until there's a uniform layer of dark brown char across the whole patty. Bonus points for serving it on a dry, mealy bun that you try to salvage by dousing in butter.

              I'm not qualified to say what Smashburgers taste like, but I saw burgers going by and at diners' tables that were thin, small and charred across the whole patty with buns and condiments that didn't look appetizing.

              I walked in hoping for the best since I already knew from reading here what the place was all about. I'm sure I'll try one some day. But it just didn't look like good food.

              1. re: MSPD

                Not a fan of Culver's, either. At least, their burgers. princebaal had some rather scathing things to say about them in another post, though.
                We getting inundated by Sonics here the last few months. I'd hate to think the trend of poor to mediocre chains oversaturating markets is going to continue.

                1. re: Fibber McGee

                  The good news is, just because the poor to mediocre chains come here, doesn't mean we have to patronize them! Sure, it's fine to try them and keep an open mind (because you just never know when you'll find something amazingly delicious).

                  But, if the chain burgers disappoint you, you can keep right on enjoying the burgers at 112 Eatery, Craftsman, Meritage, Vincent, Town Talk Diner, The Nook, Blue Door Pub, Matt's, (and so on, I'm sure I missed many...) even Burger Jones, which is a chain, but, at least, a local chain...


                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    We don't have any of those in Ohio.
                    But seriously, you're right. However, when a chain, poor, mediocre or good, expands as rapidly as Smashburger is planning to, it certainly could hurt the local places by increasing competition among other things I don't think I need to go into as so many have talked about that before on these boards.

                    1. re: Fibber McGee

                      I hope you have some good indie burger places in Ohio, then!


                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                        We do. I know what you meant, though, and undertood the spirit of what you posted. it is good advice.

                    2. re: The Dairy Queen

                      Burger Jones is not a chain. There is only one. They may be a chain wannabe but that is to be seen yet. Parasole hasn't exactly turned all their restaurants into chains and what they have they haven't exactly saturated the country or region they way you would expect a chain to do.

                      1. re: Davydd

                        You're right--poor choice of words on my part. Burger Jones is not a chain, but one of many arms of a giant octopus/corporate holding group. But, at least it's a local octopus.


                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                          ***picturing an msp "local octopus," perhaps sporting an 8 armed u of m maroon sweater and an "i heart NE" pin, using 4 arms to ride a tall bike and the other 4 to eat a jucy lucy, a wedge co-op deli salad, and cream cheese wontons simultaneously***

                          whoa. dude.

                          1. re: soupkitten

                            I think s/he should free up two more arms from pedaling: one to hold an Izzy's ice cream cone, and the other, a honeycrisp apple. (It's a magical multi-seasonal octopus). And s/he should be wearing a Surly baseball cap.


                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                              woo-hoo! for sure! and earmuffs and a snowshovel! and frozen custard and battered walleye and a bahn mi and a reusable green mug (from target) of peace coffee and a mock duck taco and pierogies and a bucket of booya! and some blackberry schnapps and a DQ blizzard. :) okay the octopus is actually a hexapus by now. pulling a little red wagon full of penguin butts for distribution at the doorsteps of out-of-state chains such as: smashburger, starbucks, 5 guys, TJ's, california pizza kitchen. . .

                              oh yeah, i'm punchy! dooooood!

                  2. re: Fibber McGee

                    I was curious and tried it for the first time today.
                    Underwhelmed is an understatement.

                    > At 2 PM there was a line that took about 10 minutes (which is just fine if you are going to get something very special).

                    > The 5 minute wait on a take out order was actually 10 minutes. They also have no accommodations for those wanting to take out.

                    > The fries were over-salted, lukewarm and hard -- not crispy on the outside and tender in the middle. I'd guess they'd been sitting around for a while. I have had better fries at McDonalds.

                    > The containers weren't labeled. That doesn't sound like a big deal, but when you get a burger with a lot of toppings, it's messy to disassemble it to figure out which one is which and then have to put it back together again.

                    > What's with the lack of Spicy Baja burger here in Minnesota?
                    I asked for it and was told that it's only served in California and Colorado -- that you're serving the Twin Cities burger here. For that matter, we don't even warrant a pepper-jack cheese or chipotle bun option??? Don't tell me, let me guess: you bought into the hype that no one here likes heat, right? That generalization is about as outdated and untrue as that whole "Minnesota Nice" thing. Not so much on either of them. The order taker suggested a "spicy mustard". I passed.

                    > I now know why its called a "smash" burger. The patty was smashed and charred in grease. It came completely unsalted.

                    It is my first and likely last visit. If I was an investor, I'd stay away from this place

                    1. re: mpls3467

                      I had sent them feedback and the Smashburger Rep. addressed it in a classy manner:

                      "Thank you for taking the time to write regarding your first Smashburger experience! I am glad to hear your burger was good and you enjoyed it. I apologize that your fries were not as tasty as the burger! It sounds like you had your order to go? We do try to cook our fries fresh for each order, so that even when you take them home they will still be hot and crisp. It is also our standard practice to write the name of each burger on each box so that you do not have to try to figure that out on your own. It seems that practice may have been missed on your order and apologize for that as well.

                      I am from MN, and I have been working to get the Baja burger on the menu here. It was not taken off because we Minnesota folks would not like it; but more because the Twin City burger was added and some ingredients were eliminated to make room for it. I do know there is consideration being given to get it added back to the menu- stay tuned.

                      In the meantime, I would love to send you a couple of certificates for you to use the next time you are in. If you could respond with your address, I will get them in the mail to you this week.

                      Thanks again for your time and patronage.

                      Brian A Beers "

            2. I went today out of curiosity. First off, the place is a fast food burger place but it is definitely way better than the McDonalds ilk, a cut above Culver's and similar to Five Guys in focusing primarily on the burger. It is no gourmet burger and it is almost half the price of Burger Jones. It is better than the Matt's Bar Jucy Lucy in quality and presentation.

              In the City Pages review...


              by Rachel Hutton, I would say she was right on with her rankings. I've had burgers from all but the American Burger Bar in St. Paul. Given taste, price, service and presentation it could be ranked first among Sonic, Five Guys, American Burger Bar, and Burger Jones. Burger Jones was a cut above but also, as I said, almost double the price. If all you wanted was a quick burger for lunch it is fine, more than fine.

              As MSPD mentioned going to Chipotle there were quite a few impatient people that made that same decision while I was there. I'm sure Chipotle was happy. This Chipotle didn't have the lines like the Nicollet Mall Chipotle. The wait started right at the entrance door but went surprisingly fast. Unlike Five Guys where you have to listen for your call out number and pick up, Smashburger gives you a number sign to put at your table to wait and they deliver your burger basket. That little difference alone makes them better service wise.

              Attached are photos of the Twin Cities Smashburger without fries and the Classic Smashburger with fries. Fries were good, BTW.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Davydd

                Thanks for taking one for the team.


                1. re: Davydd

                  What IS that digusting glob of glop on top of the meat?

                2. By the way, if you don't want to wait in line but want a good burger, Schuller's is just down the street.

                  1. My post about the burgers at the Hilltop location was kind of lost in the Burger Jones thread, so I'll repost it here, where it makes a lot more sense:

                    The first (Hilltop) Smashburger has been open for a couple of weeks now. I tried it for the first time today. (Full disclosure: I had a coupon for a free burger, so I didn't pay for mine.)

                    Overall, it was a pretty good burger. Best burger I've ever had? No, but way better than most, and for 5 bucks, you shouldn't be expecting the 112 burger. I really liked the garlic rosemary french fries - some of the better fries I've had in a while, although a bit too greasy for my liking.

                    In the end, Smashburger (and Five Guys, which I haven't been to, but will assume is quite similar) will do for the burger what Chipotle has done for the burrito. If your burgers are usually from McDonalds or Applebees (Taco Bell or Don Pablos) this will be a major step up for you. The service is fast and friendly, the place feels trendy, and the food is better than average at a price that won't break the bank.

                    That's a recipe for success with the masses, and they deserve every bit of that success. I doubt I'll go back, because I'd rather not visit any chain or franchise. That said, I don't think it is bad to have a place like this raising the bar for everyone else. You're going to have a hard time throwing a frozen Sysco patty on the grill and getting away with it if there's a Smashburger nearby.