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Burgers have been a crowd favourite for generation after generation for the past four decades. At the dawn of the regime change, young Hungarians munched on burgers stuffed with pickled vegetables. 90s schoolkids frequented McDonald's. The generation of the gastro-revolution nibbled on artisanal burgers from Zing and other spots with appreciative grunts. And Gen Z got the smash burger.
The smash burger originated in the USA – surprise, surprise – and has been available in a few burger joints in Hungary for a few years now. It differs from a regular burger in that fresh meat is thrown as a dumpling onto a hot grill and then flattened with a target tool. So basically, the smash burger will never be as eye-catching and Instagrammable as the finger-thick medium-rare burgers. Still, this is the TikTok generation, and they're all about the trash – and we mean good trash.
In Hungary, one of the first places, including the old pioneers, to rely solely on the smash burger was Simon′s Burger. Simon Lehoczky, the owner of smashy, was the manager here, and openly dreamed of opening his own smash burger spot in Budapest. After Simon's, he worked abroad for a while, looked for an investor to add to his existing capital, and opened smashy a couple of weeks ago.
One of the visitors to the tiny shop, who has a considerable number of followers on TikTok, made a video of them, and the queue outside the shop has been growing ever since. Both the offer and the concept are amazing: there are two burgers on the menu, one plain and one homemade, and fries in one size. The drinks menu includes water and coke, and that's it. The two burgers – although this may change with the current inflation – cost HUF 1,990, and the fries come to HUF 590, so for HUF 5,000 you can sample the whole menu.
But what can you expect from a burger that costs under HUF 2,000?
Spoiler alert: everything!
One of the common denominators among smash burger spots is that they buck the trend set by the last decade's burger craze with their foie gras, wasabi, multi-story, top-of-the-line burgers that cost a fortune. Instead, this new generation believes that a good burger comes with good meat, a good bun, good sauce, and that's it. Zero fuss.
For smashy burgers, the onions are pressed into the meat on the grill so that they caramelise together. Each sandwich has two slices of meat and two slices of cheese on each patty. They also feature pickles, ketchup and mustard in the classic one, and a secret sauce in the homemade one. Their buns, which are neither artisanal nor locally made, are dipped in melted butter for a second and fried. That's it – Back to Basics, as they claim on the bag. The fries aren't homemade either, but they're the good frozen kind; creamy on the inside, crispy on the outside, with their own seasoning and unlimited ketchup on the side.
One of the features of the smash burger is that the meat is cooked in its own rendered fat, so it stays very juicy. This is enhanced by the sauce and the butter-fried buns. A big upside is that you can bite into it without it falling off like the artisanal monsters jam-packed with everything you can imagine. It all has a very juicy, chewy trashiness to it, and it's not only going to get Gen Z off their feet, but we also have to say it's worth the queue.
The presentation is not too fussy either. Whether you want it on the spot or to go, it's wrapped in checkered baking paper and foil, and then placed in a bag. When the weather improves, enjoying a seat on Mikszáth tér will be delightful. Until then, feel free to savour it inside the eatery; the extractor fan works wonders, ensuring your clothes remain free from any lingering grease odours. We say include smashy on your Budapest bucket list, as they undeniably serve some of the finest burgers in the area.