What’s different about San Jose’s new Smashburger? Their Certified Angus burgers are smashed and seared to order; a technique that purportedly seals in all of the juices. You say it’s the bun that makes the burger? Smashburger offers four artisan varieties. Their fries are tossed in olive oil, rosemary sprigs and fresh garlic. And how about those shakes? They’re made of real, Häagen-Dasz ice cream and served in frosted glasses.

No corners were cut on the décor, either. Cool lighting, a chic color scheme, and locally shot photographs. I was there on the 2nd day of business and the San Jose location on Coleman Avenue already had several photos of San Jose natives chowing down on their burgers.

The menu was diverse and creative. Not too overwhelming, just enough to get excited. All burgers came with lots of free extras and a number of sides for easy personalization. (e.g. one can order a fried egg for a $1. I hadn’t seen this trend hit a national fast food chain yet).  My burger was brought to me in a wired basket, not a paper bag. I got a real fork and knife – they weren’t plastic.  The burger itself was indeed tasty, but I wouldn’t say it completely separated itself from the competition. It was more about the little thoughtful luxuries that made for a more elevated, burger eating experience.

The 6-year-old franchise has recently gathered a lot of national attention, with the CEO telling US Today that they look to eventually be the ‘Starbucks of Burgers’. With sales soaring over 250 million and 200 stores in 5 years, it’s a conceivable goal.  The company relies very little on advertising, choosing instead to take to social media sites and blogs to help promote their brand. With the location in San Jose causing quite the stir, it is apparent that social media popularity is becoming more of a predictor of success for the food industry.