Three or four years ago North America was on a health kick. McDonald’s was adding salads to their menu, Krispy Kreme donuts damn near went out of business, and opening a burger, poutine, or pizza place was nothing short of crazy. Oh how times have changed.
In today’s world, delicious not so healthy food is back in vogue and new burger joints are popping up all over the place.
Take for example Five Guys who recently went on a spree of openings in Alberta including locations in Medicine Hat, Red Deer, Lethbridge and Grande Prairie. In a short two year period Five Guys has done what Fat Burger could not – it has become the most popular burger joint among aficionados in Alberta. That popularity was a clear indication to competitor Smashburger that Calgary would be a prime location to enter into the Alberta market. With similar yet diverse offerings, it will be interesting to see how this plays out.
The two restaurants use the same smash technique that gives a burger a char and flavor that cannot be matched by any BBQ. However, the two restaurants have a completely different approach to how the burgers are topped. At Five Guys, every ingredient but cheese and bacon is free, just pick what you want. The Five Guys concept unfortunately leads to a limited menu, however simple can be better. Smashburger on the other hand has a list of free ingredients, and a list of specialty cheeses and add ons for a price, which is nice if you are craving something special. Smashburger also does something that Five Guys does not, they help you pick your ingredients by having a menu of themed burgers. Take for example the Calgary themed burger which includes grilled fresh mild green chilies, melted cheddar cheese, pepper jack cheese, lettuce, tomato and mayo on a spicy chipotle bun. While I am not sure how this burger has a Calgary theme to it, I can tell you it is delicious and takes the guess work out of ordering.
Smashburger also goes beyond burgers and hotdogs, serving salads, chicken, and milkshakes. In other words it has something for everyone so you don’t have to worry about taking a wife who is competing in a fitness competition or someone with allergies (don’t take someone with a peanut allergy to Five Guys!).
The Five Guys fries which are fresh cut beat the Smashburger fries hands down and for my taste, Five Guys just does it for me. I still think they make the best burger I have ever had. Smashburger isn’t far behind though, and if you have health conscious or picky eaters with you it is definitely a friendlier environment. Either way, you can’t go wrong, but I still love my Five Guys.
Smashburger Add Ons
Smashburger Add Ons