There’s a new food truck in town: Smith Burger Co. This is welcome news in such a time of turbulence that has caused so many small restaurants to suffer and shutter their doors, not just in our local community but all over the country.
I’ve always thought that food trucks were a great idea for this area, with segments of town seemingly impossible to access depending on the day of the week and the time of day. And don’t even get me started on the parking situation. For many reasons, food trucks just seem like a perfect thing. So I visited the Smith Burger Co. truck, and I’ll explain why I think it’s a shining example of pandemic-era dining options, plus how good the food was.
Smith Burger Co. was formerly called The Burgersmith, but the name changed due to copyright issues. Smith Burger Co. is a smash burger food truck. You know smash burgers: those thin, crispy beef patties ala Steak ‘n Shake or Freddy’s.
But these smash burgers are handcrafted smash burgers, and they come in way more versions than anything you can find here at a drive through. There are over a dozen burger options alone on Smith’s menu, each sounding yummier than the last — not to mention sandwiches and sides (I’ll get to those later).
For burgers, we went with the All American ($6.50) and city slicker ($8).
The All American is exactly how it sounds: a pretty basic burger with optional (and free!) extra toppings. My All American had double beef patties with bacon and American cheese plus pickles, ketchup, mustard, and onion. This was a really delicious classic burger, nothing too salty or too greasy.
The city slicker was a double beef burger with bacon, jalapeño, pepper jack cheese, onion rings, and their house made “western sauce.” I love a burger with a lot of stuff on it, especially crispy onion rings. This tasty burger could rival any chain restaurant sandwich because it just tasted homemade. Again, not greasy or salty, just a nicely made, well-cooked burger. Their buns are toasted, which is such a lovely touch that most places don’t think of. Toast your buns, people!
In addition to burgers, Smith’s also offers seven different sandwiches. If you want chicken instead of beef or a hot dog, check out that section. I know they’re not for everyone, but I am a bit of a hot dog fanatic. So naturally I had to go for the bacon mac attack ripper ($6.50): a deep fried hot dog topped with bacon and white cheddar poblano mac and cheese on a toasted New England-style bun. Oh, yeah. The deep fried hot dog is the kicker. Like toasted buns (which this also has, so bonus points there), the fried instead of boiled hot dog is what takes it to the next level and actually makes it delicious. And boy, was this hot dog delicious.
Perfectly cooked bacon plus mac and cheese, that if it did come out of a box, hid the fact really well. Maybe this is too much of a look into my neuroses, but pasta shape also makes a difference when it comes to mac and cheese. Elbows? Classic, sure, but a little boring. Shells? Okay, we’re getting there. But cavatappi? That’s what I’m talking about! You can order their white cheddar poblano mac and cheese as just a side, and it’s something I will definitely do when, not if, I visit Smith’s again.
As for sides, you can get some standard ones at Smith’s, but also some next-level ones, too. We went for a side of cajun fries ($1.50) and Wisconsin white cheddar cheese curds with marinara ($6.25).
The cajun fries were really the only “fine” thing I had from Smith’s. I really liked the texture of the fries: crispy, shoestring, but the “cajun” was underwhelming. I’d probably just go for classic french fries next time, but for $1.50 the side portion was really fair for the price.
As for the cheese curds, these were done really well. They were obviously fried by them, not frozen, and were nice and crispy. I liked that they also came with marinara dipping sauce. But on the opposite side of the fries, these were a little pricey for the number of curds in the basket but still reasonable considering these were homemade curds.
I also tried sweet potato tots ($3) with marshmallow creme (an extra $0.25).
The sweet potato fries were a great finisher. Salty and sweet, it’s worth the 25 cents to get the mallow cream drizzled on top. They were perfectly crispy on the outside and soft in the middle and still warm. Oh, I am so hungry as I write this.
Needless to say, it was all super delicious and Smith’s is definitely a place to check out if you haven’t already. I went when they were at Carle, and it was lunchtime, but the wait for my food wasn’t long at all, the staff was nice, and the food delicious. Plus, it was all priced really well for the quality of food. Make sure to follow them on social media for their locations.
While Smith Burger Co. is relatively new to C-U, it’s already established itself as the food truck to watch. I think we’re all pretty familiar with some staples like Fernando’s, Cracked, Just Bee Acai, and a handful of others, but there always seems to be those outliers that you pass once on the way to work, remind yourself to check them out, and then never see them again or have a hard time tracking them down.
Here’s to hoping Smith Burger Co. continues to remain visible and establishing itself a C-U food truck staple. Find them and give them some support.