FRANKLY, I’ve only been in Smashburger for about five minutes and already I can feel a deep sigh coming on. It’s not just that we have to go through that tiresome greeter-at-the-door thing – in a fast-food restaurant that looks kind of like McDonald's.

Or that the table I’m shown to hasn’t even been cleaned of its sticky smears. Or that before I’m allowed to go up and order all-by-myself at the counter we have to go through the breathless have-you-ever-been-to-Smashburger-before blurb.

And, by the way, at this point in a restaurant I’m always tempted to say yes just to avoid the incoming corporate cack, but somehow tonight, with a dark, grim and cold Sauchiehall Street outside, and so few people inside, I buckle myself up and go with the flow.

It boils, OK make that broils, down to this: order at the counter, pay first, then we bring the food. Genius.

There may have been something about freshness or there may not, but by the time it had finished I was staring at the menu and wondering what on earth the advantage can be in hand-spinning a milkshake. Seriously. As opposed to letting a machine do it.

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Is there some wee guy in the back with a Popeye bicep on just one arm? Answers on a postcard to Denver, Colorado, where the global franchise phenomenon that is Smashy apparently started.

I eventually get to the counter and there’s only one other customer there, a middle-aged woman. She is having the following words barked at her. "Can-I-get-a-name-for-the-order-please!" At 100mph. In a North American accent.

Clearly taken aback by this – like why would you have to give your name to get a burger – the customer does indeed give her name: Sue.

Unfortunately, and this may be due to a cultural chasm caused by a distinct lack of syllables, this short name does not register at all with the barker.

She blinks, stares at the customer and once again unleashes her catchphrase. "Can-I-get-a-name-for-the-order-please!"

“Er…Sue, that is my name,” says the woman, a tad desperately.

“Awwww. I’m not from here,” says the serving girl.

Now, at this point, I’m thinking three things:

1) What a welcome to Smashburger

2) If she asks me I’m going to call myself Ron-Bob or Ronnie-Sue just to get things moving

3) Hey, how the hell have I just been charged £23 for a cheeseburger, regular fries, a side of fried pickles and a side of onion rings? Oh and a hand-spun milkshake. In a fast-food joint. That looks like McDonald's.

Answers to some of the above, er, below. Let's fast forward through the bit where the burger is brought, where stuff gets knocked off the table, including some sauce, and I have to pick it all up. Uh?

On past the onion rings, quite a lot for £3.25 though Denver will be disappointed by their frankly excessive greasiness. There are fried pickles at £4.25 and if you haven’t experienced it this is simply a crinkle-cut gherkin, dipped in cornflour, fried and served up at £3.95. Good business, yet sweetly, crisply, pleasant.

The regular fries are clean and perfectly good. The burger itself arrives in a chrome basket with greaseproof paper, served open, lettuce and tomatoes on the lid, and cheese on the patty. Well, I did order a cheeseburger (large) at £7.95.

The gimmick, sorry, the deeply serious new approach to burgers, is that the beef itself is smashed down on the griddle making it uneven and presumably even more delicious.

Is it? Well, the bread, lettuce and tomatoes are all fresh tasting, the beef pattie isn’t wiped out by the toppings, there’s a gloopy sauce running out and it’s maybe all a little bit underwhelming but by no means bad.

As for that milk shake? Popeye is obviously a little tired tonight. Mine is full of icy milk-coloured lumps. Message to Denver. Get a machine.


Sauchiehall Street,


0141 332 4554

READ MORE: Where are the best burger bars in Glasgow?

Menu: US franchise takes British beef, rolls it into a ball then smashes it down onto a buttered grill. Plus fried pickles, fries and, er, hand-spun milkshakes. 4/5

Atmosphere: Wooden table tops, bright lights, it’s kind of like all the fast-food places you’ve ever been in, smashed together. 3/5

Service: It’s a fast food joint where staff greet you and show you to a table. Pleasant enough service but still kind of feels they’re going through the corporate motions. 3/5

Price: All that extra interaction doesn’t come cheap. A pretty basic burger and chips weighs in around £11, mine was a hefty £24 with sides. Pricey. 3/5

Food: The burger is served on fresh bread which always makes a difference, the meat itself is pleasant rather than stunning. Hand-spun shake: hopeless. 6/10

Total 19/30