I can’t quite remember the moment when smash burgers took over, but business owner Josh Vecchiolla puts it at sometime during the pandemic. “During COVID, smash burgers became this big thing,” said the founder of Fuzzies Burgers, which prepares theirs with crispy edges, a juicy center and “really good melty cheese on top.”
Vecchiolla, a former fine dining chef, started his concept as a pop-up in 2020, later adding a food truck. Now a 24-foot concession trailer will be permanently parked alongside the Mobtown Brewing Company in Brewers Hill. The trailer will have a grand opening Saturday with what Vecchiolla hopes will become an annual “FuzzFest.”
And the smash burger king is just getting started. Next up, he’s hoping to launch a permanent stall at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, where he operated on a pop-up basis this past season. The temporary stand was so popular that some customers waited in lines of up to an hour and a half.
Even members of the Baltimore Ravens are on board. Fuzzies is in regular attendance at the team’s Food Truck Tuesday events, whereby after a win, the team hires a variety of food trucks to come to the Under Armour Performance Center in Owings Mills. “Justin Tucker and Lamar [Jackson], they’re pretty set on Fuzzies,” said Vecchiolla, namedropping the team’s kicker and quarterback.
Sources offer different sites of the smash burger’s origins, with some saying it all started at a burger shop in Kentucky and others placing the genesis in the Great Lakes region. Vecchiolla added his own spin with a dry-aged prime beef blend, house-made sauces and pickles. Also popular are the eatery’s fries, chicken sandwiches and the falafaburger, a creative spin on the tried-and-true veggie burger.
The company’s name is inspired by “the warm fuzzies you get when something good happens,” Vecchiolla said. Over time, he’s built up a cult following with fans who come from far and wide to get their “Fuzzies fix.” Vecchiolla said sales rose 220% from 2021 through last year.
The pricing of the burgers feels well-suited to cost-conscious times. “Not everyone is going out and spending $200 on a meal every day,” Vecchiolla said. But his best customers have been known to come by three times a week. (The restaurant only occasionally offers its pricier “Boujee Burger,” made with an A5 wagyu patty and smothered in truffle fondue.)
Smash burgers offer cooks advantages over traditional burgers. “From an executional standpoint as a chef, your biggest nightmare is when you have burgers on the menu,” said Vecchiolla, who previously worked at the Spike Gjerde-owned Parts & Labor in Remington. Customers at a sit-down restaurant typically want to customize their orders, choosing toppings and temperature. In contrast, smash burgers are “all cooked the same way,” allowing cooks to quickly prepare more of them.
And that’s a good thing, given Fuzzies’ popularity and those aforementioned lines. Customers come from as far as Virginia, New York and New Jersey to get a bite. To help move things along, “We don’t do modifications,” he said. “We want you to eat the burgers the way they were designed to be eaten.”
At Mobtown Brewing, the new trailer will help Fuzzies feed its ravenous fans fast. Vecchiolla said it features an “absolute monster of a kitchen” with automatic burger presses, a custom grill and a toaster that can heat up to 1,000 buns per hour.
Given his fans among Baltimore’s other bird-themed team, could a stand at M&T Bank Stadium be in the future? Obviously. “Ravens [stadium] is on our horizon for sure,” he said. And then: the world.