Sunny Side Smash Burger with Salsa Verde

original recipe

Last year I signed up to go to France for an artist retreat just outside Paris.

The retreat was five days in the country just outside of Paris. We were cooked for, creatively nurtured, and encouraged to relax and find inspiration anywhere and everywhere. But being a new(ish) mother, I knew that five days wasn’t quite enough time alone, let alone enough time to get rid of the jet lag before having to turn around and go home. So I tacked on two days to the end of the trip.

The plan: I’d stay in Paris and do/see/eat things that I’d never done/seen/eaten before. Of course, Type A me needed to have a “loose” plan (and when I say loose, I mean that I made a custom Google map of every restaurant/coffee shop/museum in Paris that I wanted to try).

This is where our story begins.

On Instagram, I stumbled across a restaurant in the 10th called Holybelly. One of it’s owners, Nico, is constantly on IG stories talking about #allthethings and providing a look behind the scenes into the day-to-day of his restaurant. After about a week, he had hooked me. I had to go.

Why did I want to go there? Because I felt invested. I felt like I knew the owners and the staff. I liked their mission of hospitality (“It’s good because we care”) and I had seen the dishes on the internet almost every day and dang it I wanted that savory stack.

So after the retreat, I found myself back in Paris with those two days to spend. Of course, I knew where I was going for breakfast that Saturday. I got up early, navigated the metro up to the 10th, and got in line to wait for the doors to open at 8am (yep, there were already people in front of me).

Doors open, I’m shown to a table. Order in, savory stack out. It was everything I had hoped it would be and yet…this is a not a story about pancakes.

This is a story about burgers.

Nico has had #burgersonthemind for the better part of a year, taking his followers along as he researches the subtleties of the American smash burger. The guy is obsessed. There have been discussions involving meat ratio, toppings, and sauce. References to Shake Shack and conversations with George Motz, himself. Critique of other Pairsian burgers (none have measured up). There was even a crowd-sourcing effort to get Martin’s potato rolls sent to Paris from the States (he got them).

All this is to say that Nico Alary is a guy that WILL NOT STOP until he has created the perfect smash burger. I have no doubt that he’ll do it. And when he does, dare I say that another trip to Paris is in order?

Update: Holybelly 5 is having a smash burger night on May 30th, 2019! They are even flying George Motz in. Damn I wish I were a scosh closer to Paris…


This recipe was created by Priya Krishna, but immediately made me think of Holybelly. Nico, I know you’re a purist when it comes to toppings, but I can’t help but think that this one is right up your alley.

Illustrated ingredients: tomatillos, onion, jalapeño, olive oil, cilantro, ground beef, sesame seed buns, eggs, salt.