Just when you thought that all was quiet on the Austin front of the Burger Wars, another chain is ready to muscle in on the competition and take a bite out of the lucrative Austin market.
Smashburger is expected to open its first location in central Austin on April 2. The Denver-based company has two other Austin-area locations, one near Lakeline Mall and the other near Southpark Meadows, but the new spot will be located in the Mueller area, near 51st Street and Barbara Jordan Blvd.
It’s an opening move that’s pretty bold, considering that the new location is down the street from Austin’s first In-N-Out, the burger behemoth that has garnered a massive cult following around the country. How will Smashburger fare in the Burger Wars? Let's look at how Smashburger sets itself apart from other popular burger slingers in the area.
Like many new burger chains, Smashburger's menu reflects a philosophy of using fresh ingredients. But the real difference lies in the clever spin on the humble hamburger: seasoned balls of raw beef are smashed using a special mold, then seared on the grill. The result is a tender and juicy burger patty that can be served in the classic style or as a fancier sandwich like the Avocado Club or Spicy Jalapeno Baja.
Smashburger’s Smashfries are also a welcome change of pace. Choose either regular or sweet potato fries tossed with olive oil, rosemary and garlic. (Even if you stand by In-N-Out’s burgers, you have to admit that the fresh-cut fries can be a bit bland.) To top it all off, Smashburger offers milkshakes made with Haagen-Dazs ice cream, and the chain also sells domestic and local craft beer — a surefire hit with its new Austin audience.
We can't say who will ultimately win Austin's ongoing Burger Wars, but Smashburger makes the competition that much tougher. That is until Shake Shack finally opens later this year.