Downtown Novato is getting a new burger joint.
Smashburger, a Denver-based chain, has signed a lease to open a location at 7370 Redwood Blvd., a half block from Grant Avenue and a half block from De Long Avenue. The restaurant will occupy a spot in a new building that replaced the old Denny's location and Mills Restaurant between a Shell gas station and a McDonald's restaurant.
The chain will open in a 2,335-square-foot spot next to . A Smashburger publicist said the restaurant would open in the late spring or early summer.
"I have heard great things about them ... people speak highly of them," said Darren Pomponio, president of the Downtown Novato Business Association. "Anything that brings new energy to downtown is great."
According to its website, Smashburger is "a place with a burger soul." The burgers are seasoned Angus beef served on artisan buns with fresh produce. The company also serves chicken sandwiches, salads, fries, veggie frites, haystack onions, milkshakes made with Haagen-Dazs ice cream and bottled beer and wine.
"The way we look at it, it's a broader menu and we expect it to be appealing for downtown business workers and Novato families," said Thad Logan of RetailWest commercial real estate agency, which handled the lease. "It's quick service, but it's more like a restaurant than like fast food."
Smasburger, established in 2007, has about 200 locations.
“We started this concept about five years ago with the intention of changing the way people thought about burgers," CEO and Chairman David Prokupek, said on the Smashburger website. "We wanted to offer food and an atmosphere that was modern, exciting and much different from the quick-service burger restaurants that consumers now find tiring."
Logan said the outdoor patio area on the sidewalk along Redwood Boulevard will be an attractive option for diners there.
Parking options in the downtown area have been a widespread concern as the new building made its debut. Logan said Peet's attracts and early-day crowd while Smashburger would attract more of a late-day crowd. Another new building is being finished up about 75 yards to the north; Umpqua Bank Plaza at the corner of Grant and Redwood won't have much parking once it is opened.
"We think that area is pretty pedestrian friendly," Logan said. "A lot of their business will be from foot traffic."
Logan said the largest parcel inside the new building at 7330 Redwood — 3,880 square feet — is still available for lease.