There's another contender in L.A.'s ongoing burger-chain war, except this time you'll have to visit Thousand Oaks to get a taste. Denver-based chain Smashburger, which derives its name from the way its patties are smashed into the grill to, according to a press release, “seal in the juices,” will be opening its first L.A.-based location sometime next month. (Editor's note: If you still think that searing meat to “seal in the juices” isn't complete crap, maybe go listen to Harold McGee on the subject.)
The fast-casual restaurant already has 143 locations in the U.S. and Canada (plus one in Kuwait City) and has garnered a “top-burger” praise from Denver's Westword, Forbes, Las Vegas Weekly, and the former Gourmet magazine, which named founder Tom Ryan one of the “Top 25 Food Entrepreneurs” in 2007.
Ryan is also the guy responsible for developing the Pizza Hut stuffed crust pizza, McDonald's McGriddle, and the concept of the Dollar menu. He even earned a Ph.D. in Flavor and Fragrance Chemistry (Watch out Adam Fleischmann?)
The Thousand Oaks locations will offer a selection of house-built and D.I.Y. burgers and sides like sweet potatoes fries and fried green chiles, as well as hot dogs, chicken, and salads. Smashburger also plans to serve a limited selection of beer and wine choices.
The most intriguing news? L.A. will be getting its own unique version Smashburger (each state gets a locally-inspired custom creation). Ours includes wontons, a fried egg, Japanese dressing, cilantro, cucumber, lettuce, and tomato because, you know, we're just so darn crazy and multi-ethnic. What, was throwing on a slice of avocado too stereotypically Californian?
Smashburger: 650 N. Moorpark Rd., Thousand Oaks; www.smashburger.com.
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