DENVER – Smashburger opened its first Latin American restaurant location in Costa Rica Dec. 1, according to the company.

The restaurant is the first of 18 locations planned for the area by franchisee Richard Eisenburg of QSR International. Eisenburg also plans to open restaurants in Central America, South America and the Caribbean, according to Smashburger.

"We are delighted and privileged to have opened our first Smashburger location in Costa Rica,” Eisenburg said. “It’s a restaurant that truly sets a new standard in the way people enjoy burgers.”

Smashburger’s first Costa Rica restaurant is the third international market for the brand outside the US. It currently operates locations in Kuwait and Canada, and plans to open restaurants in Saudi Arabia by early 2013.

“Our expansion into Latin America is an important milestone for Smashburger,” said David Prokupek, chairman and CEO of Smashburger. “We’ve built a brand that has a strong, passionate following well-beyond the borders of the United States. Costa Rica is certain to be a great market for us.”