July 11, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Smash House Burgers Opens Upstate

The team at Smash House Burgers Woodbourne.

Plenty of college kids get a summer job between semesters. Maybe it’s an internship to add to their resume. Or maybe they are squeezing one last summer out of their ability to go to camp. Sometimes they will work in a restaurant to start saving up money for a car.

And while all those things sound like a great way to spend a summer, Teaneck’s Ezzie Kilimnick decided to go in a slightly different direction.

He opened up a location of Smash House Burgers in upstate New York.

“Every time I was passing by Queens I always wanted to stop by there,” Kilimnick said about Smash’s first New York location in Kew Gardens Hills. “It was always amazing.”

Camp Kaylie arrives for opening day at Smash House Burgers Woodbourne.

When he heard that they were franchising, he made it his goal to get involved. With Smash looking to expand, Kilimnick set his sights on upstate New York.

“I had been upstate the last few summers at Camp HASC,” he said about his choice to open upstate rather than some location that would operate year round. “Going out for food upstate is a monumental part of the summer. I wanted to make a chill place where people could come and hang out and have really good food.”

But if it’s chill he wanted, that would be at the end of the road. Trying to open up a restaurant is anything but chill. He and his partner, Jonah Greenblatt, were driving upstate every day for plenty of time before the opening date and staying there until 3 a.m. trying to get the place ready for showtime. They also had to go train at the Queens location so that they would be prepared to hit the ground running when the summer began.

Dirty fries

“Listen, if you don’t put in the time, you don’t see the results,” Kilimnick said simply.

Kilimnick has a background working in some Teaneck restaurants as a mashgiach and also in front-of-house positions, so this didn’t exactly come out of nowhere. Nevertheless, the self-described amateur chef is really just a kid on summer break from Yeshiva University. Greenblatt is in yeshiva at Sh;or Yoshuv while taking classes at Lander College for Men.

Smash House Burgers opened in Woodbourne (407 NY-52) on July 4th and the line was out the door. Camp Kaylie showed up with 100 campers. But the crew at Smash was prepared.

Crispy onion

“We specialize in getting you out quick,” said Benjamin Haimoff, the founder of Smash House Burgers. “It was really crazy there and it was very hectic, but we managed to get almost everybody their food in under 20 minutes.”

If you are unfamiliar with Smash House Burgers, Haimoff started the company with the goal of being the kosher version of fast food with bold flavors, a small menu and strong branding. He also wanted to keep costs down and has succeeded in providing a good product with a reasonable price tag. The use of vibrant graffiti is eye-catching and has given Smash a signature look.

The first two locations in Florida (Miami and Boca Raton) did well enough that Haimoff opened one in his native Queens, followed by a fourth in Manhattan. Woodbourne is the fifth location, while more entries are coming in the Five Towns and (another) in Manhattan.

Popcorn chicken bites

It may have just started, but when the summer ends, Kilimnick and Greenblatt intend to go back to school. That is… until next summer.

Nati’s Smash House Burgers Recommendations:

Dirty Fries—What could be better than french fries covered in pulled brisket and drizzled with a trio of sauces?

Crispy Onion—A pile of lightly battered onion strands. The perfect amount of crunchy while not being overly greasy. You’ll be surprised how hard it is to stop eating them.

Popcorn Chicken Bites—With a nicely seasoned outer crisp, you get great bites of juicy chicken. You’ll be amazed by the lightness of the fry.

Crispy Coated Wings—Heaven for those of us that love to bite into a wing and really get that outer crunch.

Loaded Smash—Double burger, beef bacon, caramelized onions, signature vegan cheese (best imitation cheese I’ve ever had).

Crispy coated wings

Jalapeño Smash—Double burger, signature vegan cheese, jalapeño, tomato, purple onion, and jalapeño aioli. For those who like more of a kick.

Philly Cheese Sando—Chopped steak, caramelized onions, and signature vegan cheese served on a sub roll. If you’ve always wondered what a Philly cheese steak might be like, this is the choice for you.

 

Jalapeño smash

Philly cheese sando

Nati Burnside is a freelance writer living in Fair Lawn and is a man of many interests. He can be reached at [email protected].

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