Hundreds of people flocked to Aliso Viejo's new Smashburger restaurant Tuesday evening for a sneak preview of the chain's savory “smashed” burgers.
Tasters seem more than satisfied with the gourmet-style burgers, which make their official debut today.
Aliso Viejo resident Greg Hill, who said he has tried countless burger joints in Orange County, liked the food so much he thanked Smashburger founder Tom Ryan with a handshake before leaving.
“This was really a phenomenal burger,” he told a beaming Ryan.
What is the secret behind the chain’s success?
Ryan credits the use of high-quality ingredients, such as Angus beef, which is smashed and seared into an “amazing-tasting burger in about three minutes.”
He also touted the company’s ability to provide a meal at around $9 per person.
Real Housewives of Orange County star Jeana Keough showed her support by attending the celebration and even "smashing" a few burgers. “We need to bring back small businesses and jobs to California," she said.
The Aliso Viejo restaurant, located near Trader Joe’s in The Commons at Aliso Viejo Town Center, will provide about 45 jobs, the company said.
Last month, Smashburger franchise owner Ernie Sandoval and his son, Stephen, opened their first OC location in Mission Viejo.
The Sandovals plan to open 20 more locations across Orange County.
Ryan said he was optimistic and excited about the chain's prospects: “We want to bring the burger back to people’s lives. Orange County is a great place to do that.”