The first KC location of Smashburger is set to open tomorrow, April 1st. It is located at 6551 W 119 St, in the shopping center across from the Sprint Campus in a space freed up due to Starbucks downsizing.
They have plans on opening additional locations in Lawrence and Manhattan, as well as another KC location around 119th & Black Bob. I stopped by this first location this afternoon for a chance to get to know Smashburger and eat on their dime.
They occupy a long space with the counter/kitchen on one end. You order/pay at the counter and take a number for them to bring your food out. There are a couple of bottled beer options, I remember 3 Boulevard options including Boss Tom's. Hopefully this means there will be a couple of seasonal options. One of the employees mentioned the Lawrence location getting Free State, and hopefully they will be an option here when they begin bottling. When busy, this counter area could be a major cluster of people in line and others trying to get to the fountain drinks or leave. The seating features a lot of booths or tables with a booth on one-side. There is also a nice patio outside.
I ate a lot of food here. At first, I was unsure if it was OK if I ordered a burger and a dog. That was before they began bringing out sides, salads, shakes and additional burgers and dogs. I walked out with the meat sweats, and I doubt I'll get this meat smell out of my hands anytime soon. I'm going to try and do a recap by picture to help keep things in order.
The Spicy Baja Burger was my main choice. Burger, pepperjack, guac, tomato, lettuce, red onion and chipotle mayo on a chipotle bun. This things is incredible. The first bite was juice/fat bomb from a nicely cooked griddle burger. Apparently, the name Smashburger comes from smashing the patty on the griddle to seal the bottom and keep that lovely 20% inside. I removed the onion and smashed that bun down to properly spread the guac. Eating this beast was a mess of deliciousness. I will return just to enjoy it again
The Chicago Dog is also delicious. My first dog choice was a KC Hot Link, but this bad boy is far superior. They did use crinkle-sliced pickles instead of a spear, but such things can be forgiven when you hate pickles. Very flavorful. Very awesome.
This salad features chicken tendors, bacon, cheese, Gates sauce and ranch. Just eat a burger for fukesake.
Oh Smashfries, where have you been all my life? Smashburger has normal fries, but they also do smashfries which are coated in olive oil, rosemary and garlic. You can get smashfries in regular and sweet potato. The sweet potato beat the living crap out of the regular. The regular are fine, but don't mix them or you'll regret it. Rosemary is the most overwhelming flavor on the fries, and it's quite pleasant. The one bad thing is that the first time you eat them, you will fail to recognize that fishing for the last fries at the bottom will result in your fingers being completely coated in the pools of olive oil. I tried to capture some of that pooling below.
This is the KC Smashburger. Haystack onions, mushrooms, grilled onions, A1 and swiss. This was not enjoyable. We cut it in half to share, and I could only muster down a quarter. The flavors didn't mesh well for me. Also, if you're going to put Gates on a burger, why are you putting A1 on the KC-specific burger?
Fried Pickles and Veggie Frites. I doubt I would order either of these on my own. I don't like pickles...if you do, you probably enjoy fried pickles. The Veggies are flash fried and salted. I eat most of my vegetables raw. The salt wasn't really up my alley, and if they start to get cold (as they do when you eat half a place's menu) they aren't worth eating.
Here is the KC Hot Link. I like that they serve it and all the other dogs on poppy buns. The haystack onions help mellow the flavor, but Gates sauce and cheese are two things I'd never like to mix again. The hot link was OK, but the normal dog seemed tastier.
Overall, I was pleased with my visit. Of the things I didn't like, all are things I wouldn't have ordered due to personal taste. Well, aside from the hot link, which I felt obligated to eat. I tried a strawberry and a chocolate shake, but honestly, that's not something I need to get in the habit of as someone who initially orders a hamburger and a hot link.
I'd say this will become a fairly hot spot from day one. Being walking distance from the Sprint Campus should be incredible for business. In this part of town, I'd say Five Guys is the closest competitor, and Smashburger wins easily. What they lack in customization, they more than make up for in flavor, and the prices are almost identical. You might not get a bucket of fries, but these taste better, and well...YOU DON'T NEED A BUCKET OF FRIES.