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Smashburger Succeeds in Burger Race

Florham Park eatery a cut above fast food.

You don’t have to look far in northern New Jersey to find a great burger. But, not everyone has the time to sit and hassle waiting for a table at the local diner or greasy spoon, or resort to the local fast food outlet.

Enter Smashburger, the fast-growing Denver-based chain that touts itself as a “fast-casual restaurant”.

Looking for a quick dinner ahead of a borough council meeting, Patch stopped in at the Florham Village Smashburger at Columbia Turnpike and Ridgedale Avenue in Florham Park. The place has been popular since it opened, but Patch had wondered for some time if that wasn’t just because it was the new girl in town. Happily, there’s more to Smashburger than just a pretty face.

The chain’s name, it says here, comes from the cooking methodology: a ball of Angus beef is smashed onto a griddle to lock in flavor. That’s what gives the burger its unique, asymmetric shape.

Now, let’s make one thing perfectly clear: Smashburger promotes its burgers as “cooked to order,” but that is definitely in the eye of the beholder. You can build a burger with any number of accoutrements: cheeses, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, mustard, bacon, mayo, mushrooms, guacamole, or jalapenos, on one of four buns, or none at all. But when inquiring, Patch was told by the perfectly pleasant order-taker that all the burgers were cooked the same, for safety purposes.

What that meant was the burger, when delivered by the ever-polite staff to the table and inspected, had been cooked somewhere on the long side of medium well, not charred but with no pink visible at the core. You’ll have to go elsewhere if you like your burgers rare or raw.

Semantics aside, Patch enjoyed its burger dressed up with mustard, ketchup and pickles on an egg roll (not an eggroll). It was juicy and hot, and the side of shoestring fries were crispy and not greasy, with just a smattering of salt to complement the meaty meal. The price was right, just over $5 for the burger, your price may vary depending on add-ons.

The burgers are available in a half-dozen basic variations. Not a beefaholic? Smashburger’s menu offers an array of chicken breast sandwiches, customizable with buns, sauces, toppings and cheese. There are also a half-dozen salads, hot dogs, and a black bean veggie burger to round out the offerings.

Smashburger, 187 Columbia Turnpike, Florham Park. Open 10 a.m.-10 p.m. daily. 973-520-8717.

Michael Zucker September 16, 2011 at 10:40 AM
The food is good... The service is absolutely terrible. I two separate occasions I asked for to-go or eat-in, and try gave me the opposite. In addition the food order was prepared incorrectly and when told about, nothing was done to rectify. Maybe it's just this location in Florham Park, but my experience there was not good.

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