The Best of Portland Burger Week 2018
With 49 contenders Portland Burger Week 2018 was the biggest one yet! I was able to stomach a career high 25 burgers and I’m happy to report that my burger instincts were on point as 7 of The Must Haves ended up in my top 10. It’s a crazy week for all of the restaurants and bars and they should be applauded for even participating. Hopefully you had a great burger or found a new spot, I certainly did.
Hottest: Lucky Devil
We sat on the PG-13 back patio but were treated to a hot show when the Hellfire Burger hit the stage. The roasted red peppers, chipotle adobo mayo, and habanero jelly fired up an already sultry burger.
Best Use of Props: Lightning Will
The Bobby Boucher Burger was good but what really put it over the top was the High Quality H2O bucket and The Waterboy playing on the giant projection screen.
Is a Burger A Sandwich? Smokehouse Tavern
Kelsey already asked and answered the question but this one blurs the lines. With a heaping portion of pulled pork, creamy whipped avocado, and pickled onion you could take the patty out of this and have a killer sandwich. Top Chef contestant BJ Smith's restaurant brought their BBQ chops to Burger Week and finished #3 overall on my list.
Slide Into My Stomach: Kim Jong Smokehouse
Give me some more sauce and I would eat a dozen Cheeseburger Steam Buns in a single sitting. These sliders need to be on the menu.
Best Topping: Burnside Brewing
Look out Portland because cream cheese on burgers is here and it’s GOOD. The Cornholio Burger also had corn and chicharron and paired well with the $2 Lime Kolsch. Burnside also offered a double burger with American cheese for those less adventurous patrons.
Runner up: Nick’s Famous Coney Island’s mini corn dog
Worst Topping: Chapel Hill
The pineapple salsa was actually pretty good but sadly salsa is not a burger condiment. It soaked through the bottom bun instantly and it was nearly dissolved even though I scarfed it in 2 minutes. With some tweaks they could really make this work.
So Little Time: Bar Maven
I’d been hearing about it all week but the 4pm opening time and the travel distance just didn’t work out in my favor. I’m sad to have missed the coffee and pepper rub and marionberry aioli but I’ve got Bar Maven in my sights for a happy hour in the very near future.
Hidden Gem: Hostel Cafe
I’d seen them advertise their burger special but the cafe is literally in a hostel so I was skeptical at first. Weary travelers are in luck however as they turned out consistently good burgers all week long.
Most Disappointing: Danwei Canting
My burger was one of the first off the line so that could explain why it was dry and over-cooked. Burger Week is tough on a kitchen though, I’d still recommend them any day plus they’ve got great Instagram lighting.
Repeat Customer: Stoopid Burger
The Crazy Carl was created by a customer and featured onion rings, fries, honey mustard and swiss and american cheese. I could eat this burger weekly and maybe I will.
Best Cooked: Lay Low Tavern
2017’s reigning champ punched high enough to earn my #2 overall spot, narrowly missing the belt due to some bun sogginess. The patty however, was cooked to a perfect medium rare and Lay Low has cemented itself as one of the best burgers in town.
Best Overall: Tilt
Tilt is known for their loaded burgers and they really topped themselves. The Piggy Walls Burger originally featured Tilt sauce, chicharrones, pork belly, egg and that scrumptious fried monterrey cheese bomb. At some point during the week they apparently subbed out the belly for pulled pork, but I was blissfully ignorant until I was halfway through this monstrosity. With some unique uses of ingredients and great taste, Tilt's Piggy Walls Burger most embodied the spirit of Burger Week and comes out as my 2018 Best Overall.
Runners up: Lay Low Tavern’s “The Grappler” and Smokehouse Tavern’s “Pulled Pork Torta”
2 Lay Low Tavern
3 Smokehouse Tavern
4 Stoopid Burger
5 Burnside Brewing
6 Kim Jong
7 Lucky Devil
8 Portland Burger
11 Hostel Cafe
12 Nick’s Famous
13 Lightning Will
15 Bit House
16 Las Primas
17 The Lamp
18 Ya Hala
19 Bar Bar
20 Kells Brewing
22 Home: A Bar
23 Danwei Canting
24 New Seasons
25 Chapel Hill