Photo: Kim Bhasin / Business Insider
Smashburger is growing fast. The “better burger” chain has more than 100 locations nationwide, and plans to double that number soon.
Click here to skip to the photos >
The man behind the concept is Tom Ryan. He’s a long-time food exec who’s known for his prowess developing new products and marketing programs.
In his past, he worked on big-time items like McDonald’s McGriddles and Dollar Menu, Pizza Hut’s Stuffed Crust Pizza and Quiznos’ Sammies.
Ryan’s latest focus is getting beer more integrated into his better burger concept. He’s trying to pair craft beer with Smashburger’s fare.
“I truly think beer is the new wine,” Ryan tells us. He says he’s doing it to help distinguish the brand, and that he wants Smashburger to stay at the “cutting edge” of innovation.
Ryan wants his brand to be seen as consistently ahead of the game — a revolutionary concept that keeps evolving. Smashburger wants to “carry the torch for the modern burger lover.” Nothing should be standard.
He’s touring Smashburger’s various regions to find local breweries to be partners. So far, he has Chicago, Minneapolis, San Diego, New York and Phoenix set, and he’s working on Las Vegas, Dallas and Miami.
We stopped by New York City’s only Smashburger location in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, for a beer-and-burger pairing event hosted by Ryan.
Smashburger's only location in New York City is in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, on DeKalb Ave. across the street from Long Island University.
We met up with Tom Ryan, the mind behind Smashburger, back in the kitchen. He showed us how they literally smash their burgers.
The finished product. The smashing helps keep in the juices, and yes, it was incredibly juicy when we tried it.
There's plenty on the menu to choose from, but today Smashburger has lined up eight burgers and eight beers, all paired up for maximum indulgence.
They cut up the burgers into fours so that we didn't stuff ourselves too quickly. This is the Brooklyn Burger, which is topped with pastrami. It was our favourite of the bunch, paired with an ale made from rye and barley malts.
Each burger was paired with with a Six Point brew. This Mushroom Swiss Burger was paired with a brown ale.
The Spicy Baja Burger is Smashburger's spicy offering, with pepper jack cheese, jalapenos and a Chipotle-studded bun.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.