Happy Monday! I am super excited to share my new weekly feature with you called #MeatyMonday. If you love burgers, you are going to love this series, as every Monday I will be showcasing my favorite burgers in the greater Tampa Bay area. My first feature is on SmashBurger which recently opened in Clearwater. I am embarrassed to say that I had never heard of SmashBurger, which was founded in Denver, CO and has 343 locations in 36 states and 7 countries and is still growing. My experience was beyond delicious and I ate enough for three days, hence the reason I was in a food coma for two days.
Smashburger won my heart after learning about their brand. The name “smashburger” comes from their unique and delicious concept in which burgers are “smashed” on the grill, thus yielding a burger like no other. Using only fresh, never frozen, 100% Certified Angus Beef®, their handcrafted burgers are smashed, seared and seasoned to order. I was able to take a peek in the kitchen and see the process with my own two eyes. Sound complicated? It isn’t. They use loosely packed balls of Certified Angus Beef® which are then placed on a buttered, flat top grill. They have their own machine which presses down on the ball of beef and smashes it into the form of a burger patty. This method sears the beef and keeps the patty nice and juicy. One bite and you will taste the difference.
A few weeks ago, I was invited to a media tasting at the new SmashBurger in Clearwater. Unfortunately, I was unable to make it due to work. They invited me to come back for a tasting on my own and I was treated to an array of their burgers and sides. The first burger I tried was their CLASSIC SMASH™ which is topped with American cheese, Smash Sauce, ketchup, lettuce, tomato, pickles and onion on an egg bun. I felt the same way as when I made my first trip to Italy and was having pizza for the first time…….breathless. There are almost no words to describe the incredible flavor of this burger. I had to remind myself that there were about a dozen other burgers to try and to restrain myself from finishing the whole burger.
Next up was their Truffle Mushroom Swiss. Oh Lord was I in deep trouble. They had me at truffle and I think that was the day I fell in love with a burger. Juicy, cooked to perfection and tantalizing my taste buds with sautéed crimini mushrooms and truffle mayo on an egg bun, this burger will be what I order on my next visit. All that was missing was a nice glass of wine.
Not a meat eater? Not a problem. SmashBurger has an incredible line up of grilled and crispy chicken options. I tried their SPICY JALAPEÑO BAJA with crispy chicken topped with guacamole, jalapeños, pepper jack, lettuce, tomato, onion and chipotle mayo on a spicy chipotle bun. Truly a masterpiece, it is topped with some of my favorite items. Did I mention how incredible their buns are? Each burger is made with gourmet burger buns such as multi-grain, egg, chipotle and even a gluten free option. Another great feature about SmashBurger is that each location features a regional burger. I absolutely love this! The regional feature for the Clearwater location is the MEDIANOCHE which is topped with smoked ham, aged Swiss, pickles, red onion and mustard on an egg bun. I will have to add that to my list for one of the many future visits I will be making to SmashBurger.
Ok, I need to take a moment to honor SmashBurger and their fantastic sides. First of all, I love that they offer an array of items from fries and haystack onions to veggies and fried pickles. I wanted to try everything but I had save some items for the next visit. One item that won me over was their SMASHFRIES® which are tossed in Italian olive oil, rosemary and garlic. WOW! They were fantastic. Do not get me started on their HAYSTACK ONIONS served with a side of Texas Petal Sauce. Again, I had to control myself as they were so dang delicious.
Another one of the highlights of my visit was their VEGGIE FRITES. As much as I love fries and haystack onions, sometimes I like to order a healthier option with my burger so I don’t feel as guilty. I ate all of these and didn’t feel an ounce of guilt.
Now, no visit to SmashBurger would be complete without one of their signature shakes or malts. With flavors such as CHOCOLATE, VANILLA, STRAWBERRY, OREO®, CHOCOLATE OREO®, PEANUT BUTTER made with REESE’S®, Peanut Butter Sauce, SALTED CARAMEL and BUTTERFINGER®, there is truly something for everyone. I sampled both OREO® and their featured BELGIAN COOKIE CRUMBLE. They had to take me out to my car in a wheel barrel after my meal.
If you live in the Tampa Bay area, I urge you to visit SmashBurger in Clearwater. You can thank me later!
SmashBurger: 5300 E Bay Dr., Clearwater, FL 33764