How a New Yorker Rave catapulted a burger restaurant to Manhattan
When Hannah Goldfield wrote a rave New Yorker A restaurant reviewer on Smashed NYC, a small burger restaurant on the Lower East Side in early June, she had no idea what impact it would have on her business.
Goldfield described the Smashed NYC burger as “the best to eat in New York right now.” The fact that a single burger smash patty is relatively light, favoring surface rather than weight, makes it palatable even in summer. “
She also praised her expanded hamburger offering. “You can also go heavier, doubling or even tripling the patties, or ordering the deliciously messy blue cheese and bacon burger,” she wrote.
A positive restaurant review from a national reviewer can boost a restaurant’s business and set it on the path to success.
The night I had dinner at Smashed NYC on a cool, chilly night, it was packed with customers, hip-hop music blaring and burgers sold faster than McDonald’s.
Smashed NYC debuted in the first week of March 2021. It has 400 square feet of indoor space, with no seating, 300 square feet on its outdoor patio that can accommodate approximately 30 guests, and 900 square feet of kitchen space. in the basement.
Its signature dish, according to co-owner Mark Mendaros, is an “interpretation of the Big Mac offered by McDonald’s.” He says his burgers are “crushed” and, like his global franchise competitor, will not disclose anything about his secret sauce.
But breaking the hamburger is an art. “We mash the meat for 30 seconds with a meat press to bring out the flavors. The edges caramelize and lock in flavor and juice, ”he says. But overdo it and the meat dries up.
Mendaros had no idea Goldfield would come by and examine him, but she identified herself and informed him that New Yorker would send a photographer the next day.
Since the journal’s publication, business has grown 15 to 20 percent per day, he says. “About 10 people a day stop by and tell me they came here because of the exam,” says principal Gretchen Smith.
Mendaros, from San Francisco, attributes Smashed’s social media presence to prompting Goldfield to review him. “We made a splash on Instagram and TikTok and the restaurant site Infatuation voted us the best burger,” he explains.
In the same space, Mendaros had run Oola’s Kitchen, along with a partner named Oola, from July to December 2020 during the pandemic. But when his partner returned to Sweden, he shut it down.
Instead, he teamed up with his friend Jamie Chester to design a new restaurant and a new concept. He told his partner that the burger was his biggest seller at Oola. “Let’s make a burger with a different burger,” Mendaros said, and Chester replied, “Let’s make a mashed burger. They’re big in California.
They did some minor renovations and kept the menu streamlined as her kitchen and storage space is so small. The menu consists of burgers of different sizes including two and three patties, Impossible vegeburger, fries (a huge portion which is shareable) – that’s it.
They also let people know about secret menu items or daily specials, such as frozen ribs or a fried chicken sandwich, which have now become an everyday item.
Mendaros and Chester have self-funded Smashed NYC and are looking to expand. They scouted the East Village, Midtown, Downtown Brooklyn and Williamsburg. From now on, its expansion would be self-funded.
Three venture capitalists approached them to fund the expansion. One of them offered them $ 10 million for 20% of the property but did not call back. Somewhere in the distant future, franchising might or might not be an option.
Consumers on Yelp were mixed, as is often the case. One enthusiast wrote: “The burgers are full of flavor and fresh. Every bite you take is an explosion of flavors that keeps you from wanting to buy another burger.
But another consumer found “the hamburger patties on the salty side. I barely tasted the sauce on the big schmacc and the chili.
Going forward, Mandaros says it must “stay consistent with the quality of our food and service”. In a year, he expects he will have opened four or five new locations in New York.
With a minimal marketing budget, Smashed NYC relies on word of mouth and Instagram to get the word out. And of course surprise visits from a New Yorker restaurant review.