By Ian Bush
RADNOR, Pa. (CBS) – Word this week of the ‘Frankenburger’ — the mystery meat created in a lab — might leave you craving the real thing. The Delaware Valley has no shortage of options, from mom-and-pop grills to fast food Goliaths. The newest burger joint in our area is trying to stand out from the crowd.
“It’s yummy, juicy, delicious, cheesy, mad, and good,” Tom Ryan said.
Forgive him for being biased. He’s the founder of Smashburger, opening one of its 200+ locations today at 550 E. Lancaster Avenue in Radnor, Delaware County.
“Our special offering in Philly — we have a pretzel bun, we do grilled onions with Gulden’s mustard, and a couple layers of Cheez Whiz.”
It — and the “fast casual” chain’s other red-meat options — are anchored by a burger that hits the grill looking more like a meatball.
“We put it on the butter, cover it with parchment paper,” then, he says, Smashburger earns its name.
“These are our patented smashing tools that we put on the burger and hold there for 10 seconds. You can see how it sears the bottom,” Ryan explains. “I love it, because the juices percolate up through the burger, and the seasoning gets sucked down into them. He’s gotta turn them, and the key is to make sure the sear stays with the burger. That’s wonderful. That’s where all this great, beefy flavor is.”
And if you think their Haagen-Dazs shakes or sides — like rosemary-garlic-olive oil fries or haystack onions — are an over-indulgence.
“We have flash-fried green beans and carrot sticks as a foil to french fries.”
Ryan, who started his career in the restaurant biz at Pizza Hut and became a higher-up at Quiznos and McDonald’s, developed stuffed-crust pizza and McGriddles breakfast sandwiches. He says he knows burgers aren’t the healthiest thing you can scarf down, either — Smashburger sells chicken and salads, too — but carnivores want what they want.
“I think what people are really looking for in their lifestyle is wholesome food.”