Is it safe? Review of Smashburger, Murfreesboro


The other day, my husband and I took a drive to Murfreesboro.  Anytime we take a day trip, it becomes a challenge to find a place to stop for lunch that won’t make me deathly sick.

Smashburger is one of the places that is utilizing online allergen menus that you can customize depending on what foods, spices, seeds, fruits, vegetables and additives you want to avoid.  It then gives options based on these choices.

I think this is wonderful, however, how does it translate to reality?  Anytime you choose to dine out with a food allergy or intolerance, it can become a literal crap shoot.  This is the main reason I have mostly stopped dining out.  It simply is not worth the hassle to me to have to be a detective to find a safe meal, and to be chained to my bathroom for several days.  If we are doing an activity after that meal, it becomes an embarrassment when I have to use a public bathroom, especially when it is in a location that is anywhere near a crowd of people.

That said, I have to say that the staff at Smashburger seems to follow that allergen menu pretty carefully.  They have everything in their register so that it can be put right on the order.  But then there is the ‘cover our ass” disclaimer:

In preparing results displayed by our Interactive Allergen Menu and other nutritional disclosures, we have relied on information provided to us by third party food suppliers.

Accordingly, we can make no guarantees regarding the allergen content of these items.

All Smashburger menu items are prepared on shared equipment and cross-contact with any allergens you wish avoid may occur during preparation.

The allergen and nutritional information on this website applies with respect to the United States only.

After carefully selecting gluten, wheat, dairy, nuts and tree nuts products to avoid, I was given several options.  I decided on the classic smashburger and the sweet potato fries. They have just rolled out gluten-free buns as well.   I read the ingredients and there were none of the allergens I had selected.  Yet, I still got sick.

There could be several culprits:

  • The burger was really greasy.  Having IBS and no gall bladder, this could have done it due to the high amount of fat.
  • I had a large glass of Dr. Pepper.  High fructose corn syrup is another irritant
  • The fries were cross contaminated.  They do not have a dedicated fryer.  Although this is not usually a problem for me.  But the fries should not be labeled gluten free
  • The bun was buttered.  This is usually done automatically without a thought from the kitchen staff, although I was assured there was no dairy on my order

These are all things that could be avoided.  I am willing to give them another chance because the food was really, really good.  Next time I will skip the fries, and drink water.

Anytime we choose to dine out, it is a game of Russian roulette.  Is it worth it?  That depends on you and how adventurous you are.  You can peruse menus til you turn blue, but I am convinced there is no such thing as a safe meal out, unless the restaurant is dedicated to serving only allergen free food.  And that is a rare thing these days.

So to Smashburger I say,  you are on the right track, and thank you for the effort.  It is much appreciated.  But please know that if foods are prepared on shared equipment, they are NOT allergen free and should not be labeled as such.

Order at your own risk!


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