By Jill Nagy
A new Smashburger restaurant, the fourth in the Capital District, is scheduled to open in Clifton Park July 20.
One of the branches is on Marion Avenue in Saratoga Springs in the Fresh Market shopping plaza.
Co-owner Marc Goldstein is director of real estate for Columbia Development Cos. in Albany. His co-owner and the operating partner, Leo Butera, has some 30 years of experience in the franchise business, mainly supervising franchisees on behalf of their parent companies.
Goldstein and Butera have the exclusive franchise rights for an area comprising six upstate New York counties and all of Vermont. They have contracted to open eight restaurants in their territory. The Clifton Park site is their fourth and they plan to open a new outlet every two years.
Their signature hamburgers are called Smashburger because they get smashed in the preparation. According to Goldstein, the burgers are made from fresh angus beef, formed into balls, placed on a very hot grill, and then compressed by a heavy metal plate that flattens them and gives them a crisp outside.
"That's where the smash comes in," he said. And, he noted, it all takes only four minutes.
The restaurant will offer two sizes of burger with a choice of add-ons, fresh chicken breast in various combinations, a black bean burger for vegetarians and an option of gluten-free buns for the gluten averse. In addition, there is a salad menu, old fashioned milkshakes, and a variety of side dishes. And organic milk. Other beverages include beer, including two local brews.
"Kids like our burgers because they taste so good," Goldstein said. "We don't give away toys."
As franchisees, the owners buy equipment and supplies from the parent company on a national contract and are bound by the company's menu. Although they are "advised" on prices, the final decision on how much to charge is a local decision, Goldstein said. The red, black and white decor is also prescribed. The restaurant will seat about 130 diners in a 2,700-square-foot space.
Trinity Construction, a Massachusetts company, is erecting the building. They also built the Saratoga and Niskayuna outlets.
The Smashburger company is headquartered in Denver, which, Goldstein said, is home to a large number of franchises.