Cross-posted from Calgary is Awesome.
Many foodie events in Calgary happen downtown. Since I work full-time way outside of downtown (and many of my evenings are spent at the gym), I miss a lot of the fun that's going on. So, I was delighted to see that the first Canadian branch of Smashburger was opening just around the corner from my work.
The restaurant hosted a 2-hour preview for friends, family and of course, bloggers! Founder Tom Ryan flew up from Denver and was very gracious about explaining the concept and guiding us through the menu. I was late to the event and thus missed the kitchen tour, but a few other bloggers were able to partake in the opportunity!
Smashburger is so named because of the way the burgers are prepared - the burgers are made from 100% never-frozen Angus beef. When an order is placed, the cooks take a fresh meatball out and "smash" it on the grill under a metal plate, giving it an even sear and locking the juices in. Aside from beef burgers, they also do chicken and black bean veggie burgers. All of the burgers come with many different creative toppings, and there is also the option to create your own.
I was impressed by the fact that despite being a franchise, Smashburger made sure to include some "local" touches on the menu, including a "Calgary" burger with grilled onions, pepper jack cheese, applewood smoked bacon and dijon mayo, two types of poutine and a saskatoon berry milkshake. They have also tried to get some local suppliers, like Mackay's Ice Cream for their milkshakes, malts and floats, and Big Rock Beer. (Yes, they're licensed!)
I decided to try the aforementioned Calgary Burger ($6.99) and the Sweet Potato Smashfries ($2.99)
The Calgary Burger is like a classic bacon cheeseburger. The patty itself was very well-seasoned, and I think the smashing and searing does give it a nice texture, and it was very juicy and messy! I loved the combination of sweet, caramelized onions, salty bacon and fresh vegetables. So good!
I got a generous portion of Sweet Potato Smashfries, so called because they are tossed in a special blend of rosemary, onion and garlic. The shoestring fries were crisp, full of flavour and not at all greasy.
I was dying to try their milkshakes ($4.99) but didn't think I'd be able to drink a full one and still be able to carry on with the rest of my workday. Fortunately they were bringing around samplers for everyone to try.
All in all, I had a great experience at Smashburger and will definitely add it to my "rotation" for the rare occasion (OK, about once a month) that I go out for lunch! Would love to try building my own burger and perhaps one of their hefty looking salads!
4 - 2770 32 Ave NE
Calgary AB T1Y 5S5
Open daily 10 AM-10 PM. Free parking available.