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Smashburger Opens in East Brunswick

The Summerhill Square restaurant has its grand opening on Tuesday.

It was Monday afternoon, almost a full day before its official opening, but already the new East Brunswick Smashburger was mobbed.

The Summerhill Square restaurant held a soft opening Monday, serving up burgers, fries and drinks to invited guests as a way to prepare for its Tuesday grand opening.

“We expect to do well here, said Scott Gillman, CEO of Mascot Corporation, owners of all New Jersey Smashburger locations. “We expect it to be our best site.”

The East Brunswick Smashburger is the 12th of its kind in New Jersey, and one of the first in Central Jersey. In April, a 13th location will open on Route 1 in North Brunswick.

Smashburgers are made of Angus beef, are seared and “smashed” while cooking and seasoned with a secret mixture used by the restaurant.

Other items on the menu include marinated grilled or crispy chicken sandwiches, grilled and split hot dogs (using Best hotdogs made in New Jersey), salads, Haagen-Dazs shakes and side dishes, including sweet potato fries haystack onions, and “Smashfries” which are tossed with rosemary, garlic and olive oil.

One menu item Gilman wants people to take note of is the New Jersey Smash, a burger he said is inspired by much of the cuisine in the state. The burger has Applewood-smoke bacon, blue cheese, grilled onions, haystack onions lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise and an onion bun.

“We have regional burgers which are inspired by food in the areas we open in,” said Gillman.

The restaurant has hired about 45 people from the area and more are needed, said Gillman. He said many Smashburger employees move up the ladder of success, becoming managers, assistant managers and filling other supervisory roles.

To apply for a position, visit www.mascott.com.

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Amanda B February 05, 2013 at 06:20 PM
Had the most amazing burger and my friend had a chicken sandwich, best she ever had. You MUST go!
Norman February 05, 2013 at 07:22 PM
Ok Amanda B...are you a "ringer" for Smash.?...I ask because this is your very first post on Patch (all you need do is click on your name and it takes you to all your historical posts). Try doing that with mine and you will see all my posts here. Assuming I am correct...we would all respect you more if you just came out as someone who is affiliated with the business and invited us in to try....but then again maybe I'm jumping to conclusions and you are who you say you are.....
Christopher February 05, 2013 at 08:20 PM
Almost as shilly as Stefano's jacking the Patch Pizza Award each year. ;)
Dan F February 05, 2013 at 10:59 PM
Just had dinner at Smashburger. I've been to others and have been waiting for this one to open. Overall good experience, but they misfired on smashing my burger because it had an irregular shape (looked like Australia) and lacked the caramelized shell that I'm used to seeing. I'll chalk it up to opening day jitters.
Ralph Wiggums February 05, 2013 at 10:59 PM
Agree on the questioning for Amanda's glowing remark and really agree with Stefano's political ballot box stuffing for the pizza award. :)
Ralph Wiggums February 05, 2013 at 11:03 PM
I like 5 Guys....brown bag and all. More fries in the bag than in the cup. Hear Smashburger is good. Will have to give it a try. Wish a local-owned mom and pop type burger place would open with original burgers, not a chain. But, when the rent for a place along 18 can only be paid for by chains that can risk more, I guess that's what we get. The Stagehouse in Somerset makes a good burger, but that's a little bit of a trip from East Brunswick.
Christopher February 06, 2013 at 01:50 AM
Eating a New Jersey Big Smash right now and it's awesome. Not sure it's better than Five Guys but it sure is good.
Norman February 06, 2013 at 03:20 AM
Good to hear Christopher and Dan F....I think I'll mosey over tomorrow for lunch. Hey Amanda B.....got anything else to add? Isn't it better when we get REAL reviews?
Norman February 06, 2013 at 03:24 AM
And all we now have to do is wait with bated breath for House of Cupcakes to open. BTW did anyone else notice in the article and website that "Mrs House of Cupcakes" is quite a cupcake herself?
Michael Hill Goldstein February 06, 2013 at 01:39 PM
If you are looking for a really good burger and want to support locally owned businesses then stop in at the Grove. I don't own any part of it, am not shilling for them, have absolutely no stake in the business-but they serve good food at affordable prices and are not a chain.
Norman February 06, 2013 at 02:25 PM
Hey Michael thanks for the tip. I have lived in EB for over 20 years and have only eaten at the Grove twice. I know this is a very popular place and many friends and neighbors frequent them. While the burgers may be awesome how would you rate the other foods they serve such as their Buffalo Wings? From my recollection they are rather small (tiny) and are more like quail wings than chicken wings. Just my opinion but having grown up in Upstate New York very near Buffalo they pale compared to a real chicken wing.
Michael Hill Goldstein February 06, 2013 at 02:37 PM
Norman, Wings left alot to be desired. I go to Sandys another local-non-chain favorite for my wings. But the Grove has FREE popcorn, great salads-especially the Cobb and Taco, good burgers and fries-I like the inside out burger, wonderful pizza, nice portions, friendly service and low-key atmosphere. it is very dark. The place has history and is always a good choice as is Sandys. We have to support places like them or else they will go the way of the Edsel. I love community friendly, neighborhood places, with good food ,good service and low prices.
Dan F February 06, 2013 at 03:26 PM
I like hanging at the Grove. Good soups and sandwiches. The pizzas they serve are nothing more than bar pies.
Christopher February 06, 2013 at 03:41 PM
Grove's food is ok. I've never had a burger there, but I do like their Montreal Cheesesteak.
Christopher February 06, 2013 at 03:42 PM
The best buffalo wings in NJ -- I mean this -- are down the road from the Grove at the Golden Lion Inn. I will accept no disagreements by anyone who has yet to taste them. :)
Dan F February 06, 2013 at 05:04 PM
Also consider that Smashburger tweeted a link to this story around the time of "Amanda Bs" glowing review. http://twitter.com/SmashburgerNNJ/status/298873034108964864
Norman February 06, 2013 at 08:56 PM
@Christopher.I have seen the sign on the side of their building for years and years and have meant to try them out. I especially like how they poke fun at the size of the Grove's wings too. Do they still have that sign that does that?
benjammin February 06, 2013 at 09:22 PM
Visited a Smash Burger once, back in 2010 while i was in Colorado. Burger was good, it was a burger. I was a fan of the Smash Fries with rosemary, garlic, and olive oil.
Norman February 06, 2013 at 09:25 PM
@ Michael- Yea I get the wings from Sandy's on occasion but I am sure you realize they are Cluck U wings which means that they are lightly coated/breaded. I do "like" them but I much prefer a typical "naked" wing. When fried correctly they are much better.(IMHO).
Christopher February 06, 2013 at 10:01 PM
Alright, as long as we're talking great burgers, I have to shill for the Minetta Tavern and their Black Label Burger. You'll never eat a burger like this anywhere. It'll set you back $26, but it's worth every penny for that one time you'll eat it. http://aht.seriouseats.com/archives/2009/03/secrets-of-minetta-taverns-black-label-burger-1.html
Norman February 06, 2013 at 10:43 PM
Christopher..sounds amazing, I'm going to definitely try it. Since we are talking NY landmarks have you tried the "Kobe Burger" at The Old Homstead? $41 and very tasty. Yeah I know it's really not Kobe beef as you can only get true Kobe in Japan but still a great burger....not sure it measures up to Minetta though by the online description.
Norman February 07, 2013 at 03:13 AM
Hey Mandy B are you listening??? I went to Smash tonight and it was very very good! Although a bit chaotic I have to say they did a great job. Once ordered and seated my burger was delivered quickly. It was hot 'n juicy as promised with good flavor. I have to be honest in that I did not really get the whole thing about the outside crust on the burger as mine did not have one but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt as this was only the 2nd or 3rd day they are open. I will go back,,,,,hey Mandy are you listening???
charlie February 07, 2013 at 04:54 AM
I like the Grove, great food, good prices, Try their works pizza, and an ice cold pitcher of beer . You can not beat it. White Castle will come to Rt. 18 soon.
Christopher February 08, 2013 at 12:32 AM
@Norman - I have been to the Homestead, but I've never had the burger. I hear it's awesome. At $41 it sure as hell better be.
Jason Bracco February 08, 2013 at 07:53 PM
what is House of Cupcakes?? Is it going in the same shopping center?
EB Resident February 10, 2013 at 01:00 PM
The Grove is great. Yes, their wings are too small, but the blackened chicken boli, blackened chicken salad, Chicken Creole sandwich, various cheese steak sandwiches and fresh Blue Moon are great. For wings, I like Mancini's best. Mancini's also has the best sandwich in town, their Pizza Steak.
Long Time EB'er February 13, 2013 at 02:28 AM
Tried Smashburger this past Sunday for lunch. Highly unimpressed. Still like Five Guys better. I had the Classic Burger minus the cheese, sauce and ketchup. My wife had the Classic Chicken. We shared the Smash Fries ( with Garlic, Olive Oil and Rosemary) and the Onion Straws, which we did like. Burger was nothing to write home about, didn't care for the spices and it was greasy. We both said we didn't like that they only gave you 3 little pickles on the sandwich. The Smash Fries are frozen french fries that had too much olive oil and and rosemary and hardly any garlic. They tasted like frozen shoe strings Ore Ida's that I buy in the supermarket. Five Guys Fries are Fresh Cut and they always give you an extra little bit. I don't find the burgers there to be greasy and I like the things you can add to make the burger yours. Smashburgers were already "pre designed" and the only mods were to take away things you didn't want.
joysmove February 13, 2013 at 04:23 AM
I thought the burgers were great but the portion sizes of the fries left a little to be desired. Milkshakes were good but nothing to write home about.
Norman February 14, 2013 at 11:37 PM
LTEB. Perhaps your buger was smashed by our dear Mayor...see this link http://eastbrunswick.patch.com/articles/mayor-st#photo-13323157
Ralph Wiggums February 24, 2013 at 04:52 AM
Ate at Smashburger today. I wanted to like it. Had a good vibe when I walked in, but the food was very unimpressive. The burger was average at best. It was cooked well done and wasn't too juicy...maybe from smashing the juice out. There's a difference between greasy and juicy and it doesn't seem like they're sure about that. The meat was also a little loose, more crumbly than most burgers. The bun was an "egg" bun. Was more like eating a burger on a giant dinner roll. Didn't like that either. It got soggy fast. The fries were terrible. Like a previous poster said, and it's no exaggeration at all...they're essentially the ore-ida shoestring fries you buy at the supermarket, toss on a baking sheet and throw in the oven. They toss some olive oil, garlic, and rosemary on them and act like it's gourmet. Even if you like the flavor or rosemary, you can't make up for such a crappy no-frills type of french fry. The meat they serve is quality and you can taste the freshness, but I didn't like how dry and well done the burger was. It wasn't a thick burger, even for being a 1/2 pound from what they told me. I'm sure it will have it's own faithful. Different strokes for different folks. But, I've had much better burgers at Five Guys (especially the fries), diners, and restaurants and would not choose to go back if I'm the one deciding. Highly overrated.

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