The Experience: After battling a bout of food poisoning and a copious amount of summer construction, I was surprised that my mouth was still watering over the thought of reviewing Smashburger’s Michigan Olive burger. So, I traveled to the get my “smash” on at sunset.
My relationship with Smashburger has been ongoing for about two years; my friend’s mom brought me for my first time. As a college student, the buy-one-get-one coupons and free drinks with student ID were irresistible.
I’d say I visit the local locale about once month, always ordering the Classic Smash. I had a bad experience with my first “local” burger, the BBQ, Bacon & Cheddar that uses Michigan Cherry BBQ, because I hate haystack onions. I guess I never ventured to try the Michigan Olive for that reason.
So there I was, ordering the Michigan Olive for my first time. My waitress punched in my order and ended it by saying, “Everything is made fresh, so your order will be out soon.” The only difference with this visit so far was that the dine-in cups had changed. Instead of to-go cups, they were using those hard plastic cups that usually have an advertisement on the side in white ink.
Burger Ordered: The Michigan Olive Burger
The Taste: My first impression was that there were SO MANY OLIVES. I counted more than 25 olives. I got a whiff of my burger before it hit my lawn-furniture style table (the kind where the condensation from your cup drips on your leg because the table is just a wire grate). I was eating outside, by the way.
The olives were the green variety, with the orangey pimento, topped onto a piece of melty American cheese on a crumbly well-done burger patty. The top of the bun sat directly to the left, with mayo, lettuce and two tomatoes waiting to be turned over to meet the meat bun. The olives, and the burger, were nothing fancy. The way, I think, burgers should be.
As a photographer by hobby, I loved the repetition in the fancy presentation. I was impressed by the one, two, three presentation of the toppings, burgers and fries. Bing, bang, boom.
The burger was pretty salty. If you have a severe olive craving, it won’t disappoint. Yep, you can definitely taste the olives. I don’t think the burger was terrible, but it was missing something for me. I tried to balance it with some sweetness, a little plop of ketchup, but that tasted weird.
Maybe if the burger was topped with some bacon, jalapeno or egg, or cooked with the olives in the meat, it would’ve tasted smoother. Instead, it just tasted like a bunch of raw, green olives on a burger.
To its credit, the burger wasn’t inherently evil. The tomato neutralized the flavor quite a bit, and you could still taste the burger through the olives. I dripped on my plate a little bit. Still, the burger was dramatically less messy than the Classic Smash I usually order. I only used two napkins. TWO NAPKINS! I usually go through 10.
I lost about nine olives during my meal. Not too bad. I wasn’t going to eat them off my plate, though. I had enough olives for one day.
The Verdict: The Michigan Olive is best for olive-lovers only. For the rest of you, try the Classic Smash.
Smashburger is located at 4315 West Main Street in Kalamazoo, Michigan.