Meet Mr. Burger: Tom Ryan of Smashburger

Smashburger has long been a point of contention in Denver's highly competitive cheeseburger scene.  There are those out there who love the place all out of proportion -- swearing up and down that it is our answer to In-N-Out, that it is the long-awaited Chipotle for the American food enthusiast.  Others, not so much.  I know dedicated carnivores who absolutely hate the joint -- who just don't understand the draw and would eat a big plate of sprout-fries and tofu dogs before ever setting foot inside another Smashburger location.

I was a bit torn myself -- I liked the place, sure, but was rather on the fence about the whole enterprise.  Then, after getting hipped to the massive expansion plans Smashburger has planned for the coming year (120 stores by the end of 2010), I decided it was time to have a little chat with the man behind the phenomenon: food scientist and R&D wonderboy Tom Ryan.  In the paper this week, you can read all about the magic behind Smashburger and a little bit about the chain's plans for the future.  And keep an eye on this space over the next few days for an extended version of that same interview, which I'll post after the paper hits the streets.

It's an interesting story, kids.  And with the plans that Ryan has, there's a good chance that his baby, Smashburger, might really be the Next Big Thing.

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