Last week Several weeks ago (ok, i’m a lil’ late on the review..), I had the lucky fortune of swinging an invite to the “First Look” luncheon for local Jacksonville food bloggers.
Now I admit, I was pretty skeptical. I’m really not a big fan of fast-food. I mean I really, really like fast food. Fat rolled in sugar rolled in salt.. CRAVE. But we all know how good fast food is for you.. so the brain has to win over stomach here.. and so ultimately, I’m NOT a fan of fast-food.
I think there are waay too many options for people to eat poorly on a regular basis and not enough options for people to eat healthy. Most restaurants have food that are so processed, even if its originally presented as healthy food, once you really dive in and look at it, it’s really not even healthy anymore.
When I initially thought of Smashburger, I thought of other gross fast-food chains in Jacksonville like Whataburger and Five Guys. I know I’m going to get a lot of static for saying Five Guys is gross. But really, we all know it’s definitely a ‘sometimes’ food. Their burgers are nice, but totally greasy.
Enter Smashburger. “Every Smashburger starts as fresh, never frozen.” To be honest, that’s probably better than what I cook at home.
When we pulled up, my first thought was that the sign & building combo was terrible. I wish I’d taken a photo. Their logo has the Smash in white and the Burger in red. Unfortunately the building is a pale yellow, so all you really see is “burger” when you first pull up. They needed to put some red behind the white Smash to make it pop. OK…logo design critique is over.
We park, we enter, we’re immediately greeted with the big words SMASH and a large open tiled space and counter to order at. My first thought was it’s awkward (in a good way). There was a lot of open space and tile. Oddly, no queue line (think Wendys or Arbys).
We walk up and I grab a printed menu. I’m
blind nearsighted so I can rarely read a menu hanging on the wall. Plus I like to be able to see all the options which can sometimes be difficult on a wall board.
Looking at the menu, you can definitely see their Smashburger is their featured item. What I noticed next was Chicken. They actually have real chicken on their menu. I don’t have to eat a burger if I don’t want to. A burger would be nice, but I really don’t want to get caught by my boss for sleeping under my desk at work in two hours.
Also, look at all those sides. Its not just fries, onion rings, and apple slices. Those are there, but there’s also sweet potato smashfries, fried pickels (yum!), veggie frites (?), and even salad!
Another cool thing is they have more than one bun type. You can order Classic Egg, Multi-grain, Spicy Chipotle, or even go bun-less.
I also see they have a veggie black bean burger. Hm.. these usually look like flat hockey pucks.
I placed an order for a buffalo chicken sandwich and a side of sweet potato smashfries. I also couldn’t resist ordering a side of fried pickles. I love me some fried pickles. They said they would bring our food out to us so we went and found a seat. Since this was a promo event, they had several of their food items set out on a table. On this table they had several of their salad items. I’m assuming this is because they didn’t expect anyone to actually order these, and still wanted to showcase them.
Look at this Cobb Salad! Looks pretty delish (for a salad) to me! It has real chicken on it and is on a mixed greens rather than iceberg lettuce.
And the blue cheese lettuce wedge. I never quite understand why anyone orders these, since iceberg lettuce basically has no nutritional value. but hey, it sure does look pretty!
One of the first things I noticed that made them stand out from other fast food restaurants was that they actually had silverware! Not plastic sporks.
Mmmm and now my food arrived. It really did look great. Know what? It tasted great too!! The sweet potato fries were crispy but soft on the inside. The chicken sandwich was great and was actually chicken. It wasn’t a processed chunk of meat formed into the shape of chicken.
Look how THICK the pickle slices are!
And of course, I HAD to sample the veggie burger. It was a “Handcrafted, made-from-scratch patty, smashed, seared and seasoned on the grill.” It was served on the Multi-grain bun with pepper jack cheese. I’m not typically a fan of pepper jack, but it really fit the black bean veggie burger really well. No hockey pucks here. I actually ended up liking this BETTER than the chicken burger!
And of course, they passed out samples of their Haagen-Daz shakes!!! Order the nutter butter.. seriously.. doooweeeeit. Its amazingly delicious.
So overall, I was impressed. I obviously woudn’t eat here every day, but I definitely see myself going here again. Especially when they open more locations. Right now, the only location is in Neptune Beach (in the TCBY shopping center on Atlantic Blvd.), but they are planning on opening several more in Jacksonville.