The Shops at Riverside/Riverside Square Mall
390 Hackensack Ave
Hackensack, NJ 07601
Just ask Hatebreed, there is something to be said about “Perseverance.” Its a good rule to live by; if you believe in something, stand by it and don’t give up. (This might explain my infatuation with the Easter Bunny.) Its that belief that kept Sarah from Smashburger held while continually inviting me in for a burger. After repeated attempts to get me to one of their locations, I was finally going to be in NJ and with a car. They’re closest location to NYC is in Hackensack, NJ which makes it difficult to just stop by when you’re living in NYC without a car.
In fact, I’ve been wanting to try Smashburger so badly that I was willing to rent a car just to eat one of their burgers. So on the Friday of the holiday weekend, I hopped into my Connect By Hertz rental car with 2 destination stops; #1. The Burger Maker plant (more on this later) & #2. Smashburger.
Smashburger, a fairly new US casual dining burger chain, began their rapid expansion from the original location in Denver, CO in 2007. The concept is simple, attract our fast-food nation by serving fresh, quality burgers at an affordable price. “Fresh, never frozen 100% Angus Beef smashed, seared and seasoned on the grill.” “Smashing” is highly regarded in burger circles to be one of the best ways to cook a burger. The simple yet delicate process involves smashing a ball of ground beef on an extremely hot, flat griddle. The burger cooks quickly, searing in its flavor. They offer menu suggestions but patrons are welcome to create their own. All burgers are served on a variety of a butter-toasted artisan buns with a selection of freshly prepared toppings. Not feeling a burger? No problem! They also have smashfries, smashchicken sandwiches, salads, Häagen-Dazs shakes, a variety of sides along with bottled beer and wine.
In attempt to support the community and make each location feel, well local, Smashburger does something special to commemorate store openings. Smashburger chooses local bands to play at grand opening events they call “Rock Your City.” While you’re on their website, be sure to sign up for the “Smashclub,” for discounts, special offers and promotions. You can even place your order online through their website.
I pulled into the parking lot at the Riverside Square Mall, found a parking spot and walked right into the restaurant. I should’ve known better than to attempt a lunch time meal at a popular restaurant in the mall on the last Friday of the summer before school starts. The line, although very long, actually moved pretty quickly. The Smashburger staff are incredibly attentive, prepared and friendly.
Curious, I placed my order for a 1/3rd pound with sharp cheddar, lettuce and haystack onions. When it came to ordering a drink, I went with what I consider a special treat, Stewart’s Root Beer. When the server handed me a cold mug to go with it, my heart began to flutter. I took my beverage, number and took a seat in the dining room, while I waited for the food to arrive.
The Lettuce is really fresh and crisp and it’s a real factor in the taste of the sandwich. The haystack onions, which are basically crispy onions are good but have a strong of a flavor. It detracts from the star of the show, the beef. It does however add to the texture of the burger, giving you a nice little crunch in the middle. Smashburger gets extra points for the multi-grain bun. So much more flavor than boring old white buns! The smashed and seared patty has a nice, fresh quality about it with some real beef flavors. Its juicy, not dry and doesn’t taste like it used to be a frozen hockey puck. For what is essentially a dressed up fast-food option, the burger is pretty damn good. Everything is prepared with care and attention to detail. I would definitely choose this over some of the other mall burgers.
At Smashburger, it’s not ALL about the burger, they also have very quality sides. The grilled veggie frites (carrot sticks, asparagus and green beans) are a nice touch. Much healthier than any form of fried potato. The fresh flavor and smell adds a real nice compliment to the burger itself. The smash fries are delicious! The fries are about the same size and style of McDonald’s, these little bad boys are tossed with rosemary, olive oil and garlic. Without a doubt the most unique chain fries available. Do not miss out on them!
All in all, a tasty adventure that I was glad I FINALLY made. Thanks Sarah and thank you to all the staff at the Smashburger in Hackensack, NJ.