Smashburger trumps Five Guys!!!

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MetroplexJim
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2011/12/18 11:53:21 (permalink)

Smashburger trumps Five Guys!!!

IMHO, of course.
 
Back in the 1980's my fellow Arlingtonian Jerry Murrell developed a "better mousetrap":  the Five Guys Burger.  It beat the pants off "McWendyKing".  And that's all he aspired to do:  fill the gap between the "fast food" dreck served by "McWendyKing" and the excellent restaurant-style burger served, (to give a D.C. Metro example), by Clyde's.
 
Whether one "likes" them or not, no one can argue that Five Guys is not a spectacular commercial success.  It may surprise some of you that my many posts that have praised them have been more a celebration of the American Free Market System than "flakking" for Five Guys.  I am just a retired poor country businessman and economist who thinks Smith, Hayek, and Friedman are under-appreciated and who also happens to likes a decent burger.
 
And I have found one better than Five Guys':  Smashburger!  Again, what we are talking about here is a continuum of burger quality ranging from that frozen thing you unwrap and zap at the 7-11, to McD's to........Waffle House (Mr. Hoffman) to...............Five Guys to.........Smashburger to............. .....Clyde's (e.g.) to.................. (all the way) to Peter Luger's (or some Wagu/Kobe $100.00 burger at some au courant NYC joint). 
 
And, within that continuum there is a segment that can be called "fast food/limited service".  For me, prior, Five Guys topped that segment; now I believe that Smashburger does.
 
Here is why:  Smashburger uses better meat, prepares it more skillfully, serves more of it on a better bun, does so in an esthetically pleasing fashion, and offers more value for the buck.
 
Meat:  Angus grade beef v. ground chuck. 
Prep:  Seared and carmelized in butter v. fried and "squished". (Both are "well done). 
Qualtity: 5.3 oz. v. 3.3 oz.
Served unwrapped on a paper-lined steel mesh tray v. foil-wrapped and smooshed in a poke (Yinzer for paper bag).
Bun: Un-smooshed vs. smooched (and damp). (I HATE wet bread!). 
Value: 94 cents/oz. of beef v. $1.14.
 
Like Five Guys, Smashburger offers all sorts of "free" toppings.  Of course, both charge for bacon & cheese.  The one area where they fall short is in the "fries" department both in terms of quality and quantity.  And, for you "juice" fans, the Smashburger is juicy due to its tasty carmelized crust while Five Guys is merely moist.
 
The better mousetrap has been invented.  God Bless America!  And free enterprise.
post edited by MetroplexJim - 2011/12/18 18:30:45
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36 Replies Related Threads

    MiamiDon
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    Re:Smashburger trumps Five Guys!!! 2011/12/18 12:17:54 (permalink)
    Thanks for the tip, Jim!  There are two Smashburgers about to open in Miami-Dade county in the next couple of weeks, and I plan to try them out.  One is right on US-1 where my work takes me often.
    #2
    kland01s
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    Re:Smashburger trumps Five Guys!!! 2011/12/18 12:48:29 (permalink)
    We got the first Smashburger in the whole Chicago area last December. I have gone 3 times and find it OK. We do like some of the flash fried veggie items and my vegetarian partner really likes their salads which are not iceberg. To me, the burgers are just OK. Last spring we got the 2nd franchise of Tom and Ediie's, right now a small Chicago chain that is founded by 2 former McDonalds execs. The meat taste is far superior other wise they are very similar operations. I go for the pick up own options. Since T & E has opened I have not gone back to Smashburger and probably won't. During last summer we got a Five Guys and I'm not even going to bother.
     
    http://www.tomandeddies.com/index.php
    post edited by kland01s - 2011/12/18 14:21:17
    #3
    JRPfeff
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    Re:Smashburger trumps Five Guys!!! 2011/12/18 13:24:27 (permalink)
    Jim - Hey, I was going to start this thread. 
     
    I went to Smashburger for the first time yesterday and they immediately went to the top of my list.  As you say, it is the meat that makes the difference. Another difference from other burger places in this segment is the variety of choices for cheese and bun.  I also thought the value was excellent for the quality offered.
     
    The burger beats that Double-Double Animal Style, too.
     
    Jim
    #4
    MiamiDon
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    Re:Smashburger trumps Five Guys!!! 2011/12/18 13:30:52 (permalink)
    Well if the Two Jims agree...
     

    #5
    MetroplexJim
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    Re:Smashburger trumps Five Guys!!! 2011/12/18 16:53:29 (permalink)
    MiamiDon

    Well if the Two Jims agree...




    Damn right, Don!
    #6
    MetroplexJim
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    Re:Smashburger trumps Five Guys!!! 2011/12/18 17:32:49 (permalink)
    kland01s

    We got the first Smashburger in the whole Chicago area last December. I have gone 3 times and find it OK. We do like some of the flash fried veggie items and my vegetarian partner really likes their salads which are not iceberg. To me, the burgers are just OK. Last spring we got the 2nd franchise of Tom and Ediie's, right now a small Chicago chain that is founded by 2 former McDonalds execs. The meat taste is far superior other wise they are very similar operations. I go for the pick up own options. Since T & E has opened I have not gone back to Smashburger and probably won't. During last summer we got a Five Guys and I'm not even going to bother.

    http://www.tomandeddies.com/index.php

     
    Tom & Eddies looks really good and I'm sure that they are.  But, gotta' compare apples to apples.
     
    I believe that T&E's, with their $10 (!) burgers, fall more than a little "above" the fast food/limited service category on the abovementioned "burger continuum".  I'm almost certain that they serve a better burger than either Smashburger or Five Guys - they damn well better at those prices!  
     
    Hell, it took Clyde's 35 years to break the " />ten buck barrier" /> and they are a white linen, full service joints.  http://www.clydes.com/main/index.cfm
     
    We have a similar "chain" of "chef-driven" burger joints down here in Dallas called Twisted Root Burger Company that I'll guaran-dam-tee 'ya is every bit as good as Tom and Eddies.  But, even though their price point is lower than T&E's, they still fall above the fast food niche.  http://twistedrootburgerco.com/wordpress/ 
     
    Again, gotta' compare apples to apples.  Drive by or walk into either Five Guys or Smashburger and there is no doubt that they are competing with other "fast food" establishments.
    #7
    jeepguy
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    Re:Smashburger trumps Five Guys!!! 2011/12/18 18:12:13 (permalink)
    Looks like T & E's includes one side with the burger.
    #8
    MetroplexJim
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    Re:Smashburger trumps Five Guys!!! 2011/12/18 18:36:10 (permalink)
    jeepguy

    Looks like T & E's includes one side with the burger.


    In business we call that a forced sale.  The COGS on fries is a nickel.
    #9
    sk bob
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    Re:Smashburger trumps Five Guys!!! 2011/12/18 22:22:17 (permalink)
    all of this BS about these burger chains are fighting about whose the best "middle of the road burger" between Mcwendyking burgers and the better burgers you get at a LOCAL place.
    is the T&E burgers for $10. like a 5 guys where you walk up yo the counter & order or a sit down with waitress service?
    for $10 I want watress service & beer & fries included.
    #10
    Foodbme
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    Re:Smashburger trumps Five Guys!!! 2011/12/19 02:38:28 (permalink)
    I've had 5 Guys. I like their hot dogs better than their burgers which are OK too. I don't like their prices.
    You've peaked my curiosity.
    It's off to Smashburger on Monday!
    #11
    JRPfeff
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    Re:Smashburger trumps Five Guys!!! 2011/12/19 09:04:18 (permalink)
    After trying Smashburger, I put them even with (or ahead of) the "boutique" burger places I've tried in Phoenix.  They match those places in presentation, quality and options for toppings.  With pricing at half of those other places, Smashburger is a clear winner.
    #12
    MetroplexJim
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    Re:Smashburger trumps Five Guys!!! 2011/12/19 09:06:03 (permalink)
    Foodbme,
     
    You will not be disappointed in the meat.  For your first, I recommend a simple LTM.
    #13
    kland01s
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    Re:Smashburger trumps Five Guys!!! 2011/12/19 09:14:26 (permalink)
    sk bob
    is the T&E burgers for $10. like a 5 guys where you walk up yo the counter & order or a sit down with waitress service?
    for $10 I want watress service & beer & fries included.

     
    At Tom & Eddies you order at a  counter and the food is brought to you. A server is availible if you need something extra. The 3 T & E's that exist are all within upscale "lifestyle" malls (5 Guys is in the same mall here). Around my area $10 and up is the norm for even a good bar burger, $15 not unusual at a nice sit down place. I think the taste of a T & E burger is comparable to some of the best burgers I have had at non-franchise/ non-fast food places around here.

    post edited by kland01s - 2011/12/19 10:59:48
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    MetroplexJim
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    Re:Smashburger trumps Five Guys!!! 2011/12/19 10:21:54 (permalink)
    kland01s

    sk bob
    is the T&E burgers for $10. like a 5 guys where you walk up yo the counter & order or a sit down with waitress service?
    for $10 I want watress service & beer & fries included.


    At Tom & Eddies you order at a  counter and the food is brought to you. A server is availible if you need something extra. The 3 T & E's that exist are all within upscale "lifestyle" malls (5 Guys is in the same mall here). Around my area $10 and up is the norm for even a good bar burger, $15 not unusual at a nice sit down place. I think the taste of a T & E burger is comparable to some of the best burgers I have had at non-franchise/fast food places around here.


    Thanks for the description.
     
    As I suspected, T&E's is very similar in concept to Dallas' Twisted Root Burger Company.  Great places, but definitely not in the "fast food" segment.
     
    "Lifestyle Malls":  what a felicitious term. 
     
    These two "beauties" have sprung up within five miles of my home within the last five years:
    http://www.thevillageshopping.com/index.html  (includes a Twisted Root)
    http://www.watterscreek.com/  (Grimaldi's and a Village Burger Bar, also like T&E's)
     
    And ten miles away is this "little" gem:  http://shopsatlegacy.com/  (includes a Twisted Root)
    #15
    TJ Jackson
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    Re:Smashburger trumps Five Guys!!! 2011/12/19 10:31:44 (permalink)
    I too find the burgers at Smashburger to be far superior to the burgers at Five Guys
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    MetroplexJim
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    Re:Smashburger trumps Five Guys!!! 2011/12/19 10:57:05 (permalink)
    TJ Jackson

    I too find the burgers at Smashburger to be far superior to the burgers at Five Guys


    But have you tried the $110.00 hamburger at the Four Seasons, Jakarta?
    http://tanlinnei.wordpress.com/category/most-expensive-food/
    #17
    SeamusD
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    Re:Smashburger trumps Five Guys!!! 2011/12/19 11:06:17 (permalink)
    I can get a great local bar burger with fries for $5.25, $10 with a beer and tip if I eat in. Bigger and tastier than 5 Guys, can't compare it to Smashburger as we don't have any around here, but I'm also intrigued. That keeps me from going back to 5 Guys here... not that I don't like them or recognize their success, just that I can get something better for less locally. I'd definitely go to a 5 Guys if I were out of town somewhere and wanted a decent burger, and they had an establishment there.
    #18
    kozel
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    Re:Smashburger trumps Five Guys!!! 2011/12/19 12:52:05 (permalink)
    Forbes Magazine gives Smashburger a thumbs up.  I like that you can get a beer.
     
    http://www.forbes.com/lis..._Smashburger_4GSI.html
    #19
    saps
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    Re:Smashburger trumps Five Guys!!! 2011/12/19 13:45:06 (permalink)
    Not a big fan of Smashburger, with their salty patties.  I don't mind messy food, and I kind of like the conglomeration that 5 Guys is, and it simply has more flavor than a Smashburger- the bun, while a better quality baked good, just isn't a good hamburger bun, the fry portions are sparse (but better than the heavily greasy Five Guys fries), and I like the fact that Smashburger makes good malts and shakes.  But I don't find their burgers to be that great and worth the money.  That said, I don't have too much interest in either place, and I can get a much better bar burger at a variety of places for an extra buck.
    #20
    Foodbme
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    Re:Smashburger trumps Five Guys!!! 2011/12/19 18:49:19 (permalink)
    MetroplexJim and JRPfeff,
    While I respect your distinguished opinions on MOST things---I must differ with youze guys on Smashburgers.
    I had my first one today for lunch and must say it was a non-event. Don't understand why youze guys rate this average tasting, overpriced burger ahead of 5 guys.
    I had the basic Classic 1/3 # burger, french fries and a diet coke. The price, $8.67 plus tax. I'd rate that combo as a decent $5.00 combo. Definitely not worth $8.67.
    The fries were frozen string potatoes with no taste or flavor and they turned to a rubber consistancy as they cooled off.
    5 Guys French Fries are light years ahead of Smashes! 
    The burger did not have much flavor and there was nothing special about the "Special" Bun.
    AND NO PEANUTS!!!
    I'd rate the total meal just SLIGHTLY ahead of McD's and BK but not worth the price difference. A Jack in the Box burger is just as good if not better for a lot less.
    I'm in no rush to go back.Just MHO.
    #21
    MetroplexJim
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    Re:Smashburger trumps Five Guys!!! 2011/12/20 08:43:45 (permalink)
    Haven't tried the Smashburger fries yet.  On my first visit I had the onion straws which were so, so.  Again, the things that impressed me were the 5.3 oz. patty with the crisp, carmelized crust and the fact that it was presented well on a decent bun of your choice (as opposed to Five Guys "Here's your stuff in a poke" "presentation").
     
    Above, saps said that he found their patties to be over-salted. I have seen that comment on other sites so I'll be wtching out for that - especially here in Texas where, in chain eateries, the local cooks all think they're Emeril and defy their corporate chefs by going double-BAM! with the seasoning.  You can always shake a little more salt, but you can't de-salt the over-salted.
     
    Foodbme, sorry about both your Smashburger and our Steelers!  Bad day. 
    post edited by MetroplexJim - 2011/12/20 08:45:14
    #22
    Foodbme
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    Re:Smashburger trumps Five Guys!!! 2011/12/21 14:26:08 (permalink)
    Metroplex Jim,
    Big Ben looked like a Kamikaze Quarterback out there taking one for the team. Shame on the Stiller Brain Trust for not taking him out when it was apparent he should not have been out there. Even turning out the lights to give him some rest didn't help.
    I hope there's enough Duct Tape in the Burgh to patch this team back together.
    #23
    MetroplexJim
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    Re:Smashburger trumps Five Guys!!! 2011/12/21 14:40:21 (permalink)
    How bad is Leftwich hurt?  Even though he is a bit slow on the release he is a great 'down the field passer' that would give Mike Wallace a field day.
    #24
    ScreamingChicken
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    Re:Smashburger trumps Five Guys!!! 2011/12/21 14:54:45 (permalink)
    Leftwich broke his left arm in the preseason and was placed on IR, which put him out for the year.
     
    I guess you could say he's a smashed 'Burgher...
     
    Brad
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    MetroplexJim
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    Re:Smashburger trumps Five Guys!!! 2011/12/21 15:38:18 (permalink)
    ScreamingChicken

    Leftwich broke his left arm in the preseason and was placed on IR, which put him out for the year.

    I guess you could say he's a smashed 'Burgher...

    Brad


    As the Governator would say:  "Tat's ah guut whan!" 
    #26
    JRPfeff
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    Re:Smashburger trumps Five Guys!!! 2011/12/30 18:06:47 (permalink)
    Our Smashburgers from lunch today.  My with and son both raved about the burgers AND the fries.
     

     

    #27
    MetroplexJim
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    Re:Smashburger trumps Five Guys!!! 2011/12/30 18:34:44 (permalink)
    Look at that presentation JRPeff shows us above!  Five Guys, take a lesson!
     
    We revisited our Smashburger the other day and I had the fries.  The equivalent of In N Out's, they fall far short of Five Guys. 
     
    In addition, my wife and I got their small patties:  not nearly as good as their regular size; the smaller patty did not have the carmelized crust of which I am so enamored on their "regular".
    #28
    JRPfeff
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    Re:Smashburger trumps Five Guys!!! 2011/12/30 20:12:31 (permalink)
    Metro-Jim,
     
    We didn't cock the buns, they came from the kitchen that way.  I think they've been watching FoodTV.
     
    We ordered the Big-Smash half-pound patties and split the two burgers three ways.  The meat was hanging over the side of the buns and was outstanding.  The toppings complimented the burger and did not overpower it.  My family was sold on their first bites.
     
    Desert-Jim
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    MetroplexJim
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    Re:Smashburger trumps Five Guys!!! 2011/12/31 08:23:30 (permalink)
    JRPfeff

    Metro-Jim,

    We didn't cock the buns, they came from the kitchen that way.  I think they've been watching FoodTV.

    We ordered the Big-Smash half-pound patties and split the two burgers three ways.  The meat was hanging over the side of the buns and was outstanding.  The toppings complimented the burger and did not overpower it.  My family was sold on their first bites.

    Desert-Jim


    Glad you enjoyed!
     
    Your pics also depicted well the carmelized crust on the burger that both seals in the juices and adds a nice textural note.
     
    As we eat with all our senses, including sight, presentation is a very important element in gustatory enjoyment.  I wish Five Guys would take a lesson.
     
    Best regards from the Metroplex where "freezin' season" (remember last year's Super Bowl) is about to be upon us.  Enjoy the desert at this time when your locals describe the weather as "magical".
    #30
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