Short Orders: Smashburger

4980 Belt Line, Addison

The first of 30 or so planned Smashburger locations in the Dallas area opened about two months ago.

Big deal, right? Just another burger chain that earned a following elsewhere (Smashburger is based in Colorado). Unlike some other popular operations, however, this one actually made it here--thanks largely to owner Leonard Davis, a Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman.

For this first restaurant, he teamed with fellow lineman Marc Colombo so...wait a minute...Two Cowboys offensive linemen? The place shouldn't be called Smashburger. How about "Pass Through Us Like Greased Lightning Burger"? And instead of one big bag, they could put your order in a lot of sacks--six, seven, whatever.

Maybe they could even stick a Tony Romo Fathead face down on the floor under the framed autographed jerseys of Davis and Colombo.

The owners may not know how to do more than wave at defensive linemen as they bear down on the quarterback, but they do know how to pick a burger franchise. For quick service chain fare, this isn't bad.

The BBQ, bacon and cheese burger, for example, features ground beef prepared so simply the basic salt and pepper seasoning barely makes an impression. Instead, you taste the warm, husky flavor of meat...that is until overly salty bacon and Thousand Island-ish barbecue sauce take over. Still, the bun is far better than most, a pile of crispy fried onions add textural contrast and you can add a fried egg, if you wish.

Smashburger's "Smashfries" are common, floppy fast food fries--and a toss in dry rosemary can't disguise the fact. But their shakes...let's put it this way: most other burger places should just stop serving shakes and yield to this franchise.

Made with Haagen Dazs, they are blended to a point thick enough to hold the straw upright, thin enough to sip through said straw, yet bulky enough you need to use the spoon.

And they don't refer to them as "Smashshakes," thankfully.

The word dominates, otherwise. "Smash" appears in large block letters on the back wall. When the short order cook--first time I've used that phrase in this column--plates an order, he or she yells "smash it up." The burgers themselves have been flattened as much as half pound of ground beef can be flattened. They spillover the edge of the bun and ooze grease.

Of course, its still a quick service chain so don't expect culinary genius. Compared to others of its genre, however, Smashburger stands out.