Smashburger isn't just the name?it's the way chefs, otherwise known as Burger Smashers, cook every burger. First, they form never-frozen, 100% Certified Angus Beef into a giant meatball. Then they season it, place it on a butter-glazed grill, and smash it into a patty. The process caramelizes the beef, locking in flavor while keeping the meat juicy and tender. Each slab is then sandwiched in an artisan bun and is turned into one of an array of standard burgers or locally inspired specialties unique to each market.
This handcrafting approach typifies everything else the restaurant does, from blending handspun shakes to hand painting Smashburger's logo onto every beverage cup. Letting its food stand for itself and relying mostly on word of mouth for advertising, the Smashburger franchise expanded from one restaurant in 2007 to 220 today, with its swift growth from zero to 100 stores making it one of the nation's fastest-growing restaurant companies. This rapid development even caught the attention of Forbes and Inc. along the way.
The San Antonio Botanical Garden, which rests on 38 acres, not only dazzles visitors with bright sunflowers and roses, aquatic plants, and a glass display case filled with orchids, but it also teaches them about the local and world flora with informative exhibits. Four large, formal beds showcase seasonally rotating displays, and the Texas Native Trail features representative species from Hill Country, East Texas Piney Woods, and South Texas. Encompassing a wider array of biomes, the Lucile Halsell Conservatory boasts collections of tropical fruits and desert cacti housed within glass buildings that surround the sunken tropical lagoon.
Aside from these exhibits, the botanical garden also hosts summer-camp sessions, school-group programs, and classes for adults as well as children. These programs include lectures and hands-on lessons that discuss local plants and which garden insects are helpful and which are harmful.
Since 1993, the guffaws emanating from the Rivercenter Comedy Club have been sending ripples coursing through the waters by the River Walk. Located on the third level of the Rivercenter Mall, the recently renovated club keeps its calendar stuffed with nightly showcases by nationally recognized headliners and up-and-coming local jokesters. Past years have seen the likes of Carlos Mencia, Drew Carey, Jeff Dunham, and Chris Rock on the Showroom stage. Nightly shows at 8:30 p.m. and late shows on weekends increase the odds of catching the next rising star. All comedy shows require a two-item minimum, which can be used toward appetizers, entrees, and specialty cocktails from the club’s menu. The club will validate three hours of free parking at either of Rivercenter Mall's garages or heliports.
The low-hanging branches of southern live oak trees stretch out over the house and pavilion areas at Don Strange Ranch, dappling parties, weddings, and corporate team gatherings with splashes of sunlight. Since 1952, the 125-acre longhorn ranch in the Texas Hill Country has hosted myriad events, including scenes from the PBS music documentary series Live from the Artists Den and the wedding of country music stars Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton.
More than just a picturesque backdrop, the ranch?s rugged natural surroundings host outdoor activities such as ropes courses and kayak trips down the Guadalupe River. And the friendly staffers who man 350- to 400-foot ziplines work to ease guests out of their comfort zones, like a mother bird pushing her young out of the nest for their first extreme base-jumping lesson.
SA Fresh Catering, a full-service catering company specializing in table toppers for businesses, parties, or parties of two, boasts a diverse menu of freshly made, to-go fare, pre-packaged and ready for home reheating. The expert chefs roll out a perpetually changing and break-dancing selection of five weekly entrees and sides portioned for two, including vegetarian, gluten-free, and vegan options. Past menus have featured such savory choices as the vegetarian chili and the Coq Au Vin, its braised chicken simmering in red wine, lardons, mushrooms, and pearl onions. Selective diners, meanwhile, can cherry-pick a choice of two sides, such as the veggie couscous salad, the baby carrots with peas and pancetta, or the herb-roasted new potatoes. Desserts are available à la carte or for hourly emotional support, and have included triple-chocolate cake ($3.95 by the slice), peanut butter fudge, and toffee square ($1.50 each) varieties.
Seeds of Love offers bright floral bouquets and verdant plants to complement occasions, sentiments, and nostril cravings of every variety. Let flowers take the place of pebbles lobbed at a suitor's window with the love and romance display ($44.99), bursting with aromatic roses, lilies, tulips, and Gerber daisies, or snatch up the fiddle plant ($29.99), a glossy exhibit of greenery that occasionally breaks out into Appalachian-tinged tunes when the porch light goes on. Stop by the shop to pick out a bundle of petals to compassionately adopt before the holidays, or do your browsing online and call to place an order and schedule delivery ($7.95 delivery fee), which is offered six days a week.