Source: NorthFulton.com

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S. Lee Guy
And you thought the burger craze was over

by S. Lee Guy

October 01, 2011

Join me in welcoming the latest fast-casual burger concept de jour to Alpharetta. Metro Atlanta's third location opened this week on Windward Parkway. You can find them in the shopping center with Einstein Bagels across the street from the HP campus.

Phil Wilkins owns the Atlanta Smashburger franchises and has plans for as many as 30 locations. Right now you'll only find stores in Buckhead and Johns Creek. Kennesaw and Sandy Springs are next, although Wilkins told me they are looking at real estate in Cumming.

Smashburger has an interesting tradition of letting each large franchise owner create their own unique burger. For example, Chicago's burger is served on a pretzel bun. Atlanta's own burger features a peach barbecue sauce, pimina cheese, vidalia coleslaw and grilled jalapenos. By themselves, each ingredient is interesting. Mixed together, the combination is a pretty big mess that completely overpowers the burger itself. It would probably make a delicious sandwich without the hamburger meat.

And speaking of the burgerů Smashburger gets their name from their cooking process. They take a ball of meat and smash it on the griddle for twenty seconds. The goal here is to create a sear while hopefully not squeezing every bit of juicy flavor from it. The burgers do have some sear but I would have liked more.

My biggest disappointment with the smashing is that I didn't get to see it! If you're going to give your restaurant a verb in the name, I want to see someone performing that verb. Sell the sizzle, right? With a closed kitchen, patrons are left to their imagination when it comes to the cooking process.

The rest of the menu contains a few chicken sandwiches, hot dogs and a salad or two. As for side items, I really enjoyed their Smashfries. These are shoestring french fries tossed with rosemary and olive oil. On my two visits this week the fries have been prepared well; crispy (even with the olive oil) yet soft in the middle. The rosemary seasoning really makes these fries shout.

Smash also offers milkshakes made with Haagen Dazs ice cream. The peach shake I tried as a sample was delicious and worth an order next time.

So after all the smashing is over and your burger is consumed, what's the verdict on this place? It's just an ok burger. Don't expect some kind of transcendental experience that takes you to burger nirvana. Aside from the smashing thing, I don't see a lot that separates this burger from many others available in this crowded market.

Disclosure: I received a free meal from this restaurant at their pre-opening event. You can read my disclosure policy on my about page on RootsinAlpharetta.com