Smashburger is growing fast. The "better burger" chain has more than 100 locations nationwide, and plans to double that number soon.
The man behind the concept is Tom Ryan. He's a long-time food exec who's known for his prowess developing new products and marketing programs.
In his past, he worked on big-time items like McDonald's McGriddles and Dollar Menu, Pizza Hut's Stuffed Crust Pizza and Quiznos' Sammies.
Ryan's latest focus is getting beer more integrated into his better burger concept. He's trying to pair craft beer with Smashburger's fare.
"I truly think beer is the new wine," Ryan tells us. He says he's doing it to help distinguish the brand, and that he wants Smashburger to stay at the "cutting edge" of innovation.
Ryan wants his brand to be seen as consistently ahead of the game — a revolutionary concept that keeps evolving. Smashburger wants to "carry the torch for the modern burger lover." Nothing should be standard.
He's touring Smashburger's various regions to find local breweries to be partners. So far, he has Chicago, Minneapolis, San Diego, New York and Phoenix set, and he's working on Las Vegas, Dallas and Miami.
We stopped by New York City's only Smashburger location in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, for a beer-and-burger pairing event hosted by Ryan.
Smashburger's only location in New York City is in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, on DeKalb Ave. across the street from Long Island University.
You get an upscale feel inside the restaurant — something integral to the "better burger' concept that helps set it apart from traditional fast food.
This is what we're here for — a pairing party.
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