ITHACA, N.Y. — Local burger lovers will be getting a new option soon — rapidly growing fast-casual burger chain Smashburger has sets its sights on Ithaca.
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The move is part of a wider plan to bring Smashburger to much of upstate New York — franchisees Brad and Drew DeGrazia plan 23 locations throughout the region from Syracuse to Buffalo. A separate franchisee brought Smashburger to the Albany region last summer.
“Brad and Drew have been Moe’s Southwest franchisees, and they have a lot of experience,” said Smashburger PR & Marketing Manager Christine Ferris in a phone interview with the Voice.
“We are in fact coming to the Ithaca area, with plans to open at least one if not two locations there … We like to open in markets that are growing communities, and the upstate and Ithaca market represent a good opportunity for a ‘better’ burger restaurant.”
The Denver-based premium burger chain has plans for 70-80 new restaurants this year alone. That would result in over 350 locations in 34 states and 7 countries.
Here’s the description from the corporate website:
“In 2007 we opened the first Smashburger with one simple notion in mind: despite the overwhelming number of restaurants serving burgers, Americans were starving for something better. And we could deliver. Our vision is to connect with America’s passion for its favorite food on a local level and in a space where “Smashed Fresh, Served Delicious” means dedication to crafting the best-tasting burger around. Our smashed burgers are always made-to-order, never frozen, smashed and seared to perfection on our grill. Our menu is also kid-friendly, vegetarian-approved and topped off with frosty milkshakes.”
According to Ferris, “In each of our different markets, we do a local regional burger. Our founder, Tom Ryan, does research in the market to determine what flavors are popular in an area.”
The New Yorker Smashburger in the Albany and New York City markets is topped with peppercorn garlic aioli, tomato, spinach, garlic-grilled onions, and New York cheddar cheese on a brioche bun.
“There will also be a couple of side items local to the market; for example, we do cheese fries in Long Island,” Ferris said.
She added: “All of our store designs are designed with local wall murals, these square murals that have specific icons or features in that local market, for example one of the New York City restaurants has the Statue of Liberty, and Brooklyn has the Brooklyn skyline.” Diners can expect a unique treatment for Ithaca locations as well.
While no locations or official dates have been set, the company’s real estate team is currently doing site tours, and once a location has been selected, a restaurant can take as long as six months to open.
“You can plan on having one open before the end of the year,” Ferris said.