What’s a hotter concept right now than the premium burger joint? Burger lovers are in nirvana.
Smashburger is named that because each never-frozen burger is rolled into a ball, then smashed into a patty before cooking. This is as good a shtick as any, I suppose, though if you’re OCD about your burger being perfectly round with a uniform edge, then consider yourself warned.
The centerpiece of the Smashburger menu is—guess what?—burgers. Want a traditional hamburger? They can do that. There are extensive customization options as well, including five different cheeses, four different buns (including a gluten-free one), or even sliced avocado or a fried egg. Burgers are $5-9 or so, depending on how you dress yours, and whether you get a regular (1/3-pound) or big (1/2-pound) patty. The big burger hangs over the edges of the bun rather delightfully.
If you don’t want to specify every little thing, there are several pre-thought-up specialty burgers available. Lea tried a Dixie, which is what Smashburger calls a “local flavor”: one available regionally as opposed to nationally. That’s white barbecue sauce, Swiss, and genuine fried green tomatoes on top.
The boys’ favorite is the BBQ, Bacon, & Cheddar, which also includes fried onion straws.
I had the Spicy Jalapeno Baja, with fresh jalapenos, pepper jack, and chipotle mayonnaise on a chipotle bun.
Finally, they’ll also make any of their burgers with grilled or fried chicken.
Our cheerful Smashburger employee (Smashburgerer?) brought our food promptly after we sat. The burgers were obviously seared when we ordered them or very shortly before, and all of our toppings were fresh and vibrant. These don’t cost much more than fast food burgers, but they’re considerably better.
You’ll get more choices than you might expect on your fries, as well. The signature Smashfries are tossed in olive oil, and seasoned with rosemary and garlic. There are also Cajun Smashfries and haystack onion straws. Finally, if you don’t want adventure on this part of your plate, you can opt for regular French fries or sweet potato fries.
We found that three orders were fine for the four of us to share. We went with Smashfries, haystack onion straws, and sweet potato fries. All were pleasingly crisp and tasty.
Smashburger also offers several artisan salads, including a classic Cobb salad and one including spinach, cucumber, and goat cheese. Vegetarian options include a black bean burger and “veggie frites,” which are flash-fried carrot strips and green beans. The children’s menu includes a smaller Smashburger, as well as chicken strips, a hot dog, or a grilled cheese sandwich.
“Dad, they have milkshakes, so we have to get milkshakes. You know, so you can have a photo for your review. Right?” What a little salesman. Yes, they do indeed have shakes, for dessert, meal accompaniment, or both. Vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry are available, as are a few specialty flavors like Oreo and Butterfinger. They bring you the steel cup from the milkshake machine, too, so you can get the little extra that’s in there. I like that detail.
Smashburger’s look is a hyper-modern one that doesn’t sacrifice comfort for style, with a lot of attention to detail. It’s a neat place to look around, with booths, tables, and even a little counter seating in a thoughtfully-designed space.
Restrooms are single-seaters, and there is a changing table in the women’s restroom. Highchairs and booster seats are available.
For a truly small premium over fast food burgers, you can elevate your experience considerably. If you’re a burgers-and-shakes sort of person, then Smashburger deserves a spot in your rotation.
8135 Highway 72 West
Madison, AL 35758
Open 10 am to 10 pm, Monday through Saturday
Open 11 am to 9 pm Sunday