smashburger Opens in Clifton

It seems fitting to steal some lyrics from two Smash Mouth songs for this review.

“Hey now you’re an All Star, get your game on, go play.”

The first thing you notice upon entering is the lively décor, with the most upbeat and friendly staff waiting to guide you through your smashing experience. Clearly they are poised to be a player in the upscale, fast-food, small, franchised chain arena. On hand for the coming-out were Manager Marcos, Director of Operations Dave, and Owner Scott. They drank the Kool-Aid apparently because they were as helpful and concerned as the staff.

“And all that glitters is gold, only shooting stars break the mold.”

The Smashburger name derives from how they take a 100-percent Certified Angus Beef ball, wail down on it with their tool, and sear it to seal in the juices. They use a proprietary-blend of fresh-ground – not frozen – Angus beef which is delivered four times per week.

“I can’t get enough of you baby, my heart cries out more baby, I wish that there was more of you to touch. “

There are two sized of burgers to choose from (1/3 or ½ lb.ball) with tasty toppings all on an artisan bun, cooked to 165 degrees. While there are many other burger and non-burger items on the menu to pick from, I chose the New Jersey Smashburger, which is a burger topped with applewood smoked bacon, blue cheese crumbles, grilled onions, haystack onions, lettuce, tomato and mayo, served on an onion bun.

Yeah, it was pretty good. This is definitely the high end of fast-food and definitely worth the price of admission.

“I get to wishin that there was two of you.”

While my first choice for fries was the Smashfries (tender and crispy fries tossed with rosemary, olive oil and garlic), Director Dave cautioned me not to forsake the Sweet potato Smashfries. What to do? Order two, of course. I’d have to say that as good as the regular fries were, the sweet potato variety is the one to order.

“Somebody once asked could I spare some change for gas, I could use a little fuel myself, and we could all use a little change. “

As I stood outside snapping shots of the building front, a couple approached me and asked me what I thought of my meal. As it turns out, they were both in agreement of how Smashburger will be a welcome addition to the area, an addition that will have some competitors feeling caught between a rock and a hard place – smashed, as it were. I guess we COULD all use a little change.

Allwood Shopping Center, 700 Route 3 West, Clifton, NJ, 973-777-3600,  The location joins other NJ ones in Montclair, Florham Park and Hackensack, with other NJ locations to follow soon.

Update 2/4/2011:  Smashburger opened another location in New Providence in the Village Shopping Center on Springfield Ave, and once again invited Jersey Bites to share the experience.

Every time I visit one of the locations, I am always excited about eating there because their entire staff is always friendly and welcoming. I leave in a better mood than when I arrived. (That’s different than my other fast food visits). And of course it only gets better when the food arrives.

On this occasion I ordered the BBQ Bacon and Cheese Burger. The great taste comes from the BBQ sauce, applewood smoked bacon, cheddar cheese and haystack onions that is piled upon the burger and egg bun. Unfortunately they didn’t have the Sweet Potato smashfries available for the opening.

They DID have samples of the Häagen-Dazs vanilla shake. Yeah, it was great. I’m looking forward to sampling one of their smashsalads and smashdogs sometime soon.

Smashburger is a fun place to eat, and they have been consistent with their meal preparation as well as maintaining their upbeat atmosphere.

Disclaimer: JerseyBites was invited to attend and sample the food at the grand opening of the new Smashburger.

Phil Sikora: In his own words “I have a T-shirt from a club for owners of Russian motorcycles with a motto that translates to: “Eat to ride; ride to eat.”  I’ve taken that to heart. And so the stories will unfold.”   Phil is a motorcycle enthusiast and System Engineer for AT&T.  He works in Middletown and lives in Paramus and will be reporting on his culinary adventures in his “Reviews from the Road” series for Jersey Bites.