I learned last week that Smashburger is offering Udi's gluten-free buns for its burgers throughout its 30-state chain, so I made my first visit to its Neptune Beach restaurant yesterday.
Smashburger actually made the announcement two months ago but I missed it. I'm glad I finally found out about it because I had a pretty good hamburger there.
There was a $1 surcharge for the gluten-free bun, but that's okay because other restaurants generally charge $2 to $2.50 for them.
Of course, the big question is, beyond the bun, what is actually gluten free at Smasburger. You can check out the allergen information on its web page.
You'll notice that some items, particularly the french fries, are gluten free but the company warns they are prepared on shared equipment, so there is a risk of cross-contamination.
I asked the girl at the counter who took my order about the french fries and she immediately told me the fries are cooked in gluten-free oil. There was something in the way she answered that made me feel confident that she knew what she was talking about. There was none of that confusion that you sometimes see, particularly at a fast food restaurant. So I felt confident enough to order the fries.
I don't know if I can recommend Smashburger to people who are very sensitive and have cross-contamination concerns. I continue to recommend Epik Burger, which actually isn't very far from Smashburger on Atlantic Boulevard, for people with cross-contamination concerns, because Epik Burger does everything possible to accommodate celiac customers.
The Neptune Beach Smasburger opened in 2011, and the franchisee has announced plans to open more in the Jacksonville area. But no other locations have been announced yet.