Batavians next month will have the first taste of a new restaurant chain in Illinois.
Smashburger will open its inauguaral Chicago-area restaurant on Dec. 7 at 842 N. Randall Road. The company will bring about 35 jobs to the area.
Made-to-order grilled Angus beef burgers are the main fare but the eatery also offers smashfries, haystack onions and Häagen-Dazs shakes along with beer and wine. Smashburger founder Tom Ryan said there was a gap in fast-food burgers and traditional sit-down places, so he came up with an idea for a better burger and a better place to eat.
"We offer better food, a better ambiance, for a better value and convenience," Ryan told Batavia Patch earlier this month.
Menus are localized for each market and will feature local beers and some "surprise drinks you won't expect to see," he added. He said they'll feature a Windy City Burger, Vienna beef hot dogs, Polish sausage, and a special array of toppings for the Chicago market. Ryan also said they will feature a Green River float, resurrecting the nostalgic Chicago-born drink first developed in 1919 and popular in the 1960s.
The next Illiniois Smashburgers will open in Rolling Meadows, Darien and Schaumburg. The Denver-based franchise opened its first Smashburger in Denver in 2007 and currently has 86 stores in more than 25 markets. Ryan said he expects that number to reach nearly 100 stores by the end of this year with plans to open 100 more in 2011.
Smashburger's success can be attributed to offering a place to go for different occasions such as a quick lunch or date night, Ryan said. The restaurant is family-friendly and also is suitable for larger groups to enjoy affordably priced burgers and a beer, he said.
Ryan said many fast-food places weren't managing people's time and money and considering the actual cost and driving time to get to and from the restaurant. That is the design criteria for Smashburger, he said.
Ryan has held top-level positions at some of the biggest fast food entities, including Quiznos, Long John Silver's and the McDonald's Corporation. With a Ph.D. in Flavor and Fragrance Chemistry from Michigan State University, Ryan got his start in the culinary business with a marketing job at Pizza Hut.
To apply for a job at the Batavia Smashburger, visit smashburger.com and click on "Work Here" on the far right-hand side near the top of the page.