SO MANY BURGERS, SO LITTLE TIME
The Mercury’s Portland Burger Week 2019 boasts a whopping 60 locations which, like the McDonald’s 42 oz. Super Size drink, is just too damn much. Between work, commitments, and an upcoming vacation, I’m only able to partake in the festivities for the first four evenings. Hell, I barely had time to write this. With a limited window I’m only going to be able to focus on the best of the best and old favorites. Below I’ve broken down my interest in each burger on a scale of 1-10, starting in Downtown and working through quadrants. Factors include location, reputation, and of course the concept. Follow on Instagram or Twitter to see where I end up and let me know what spots I can’t miss.
Interest Level: 7
Why: A Juicy Lucy concept automatically piques my interest, the adobo sauce and Filipino green papaya relish differentiate it.
Kells Irish Pub
Why: I don’t know if this is even a burger but it is a lamb sloppy joe and Kells once again tries something new while staying true to their Irish roots.
Why: IT. HAS. MEAT. DUST. I’m kinda scared but I have to know what this is all about.
Why: If a “Caramelized smash burger” is what I think it is, I’m in.
Bacon Care of Business
Why: Not enough going on with this burger for me to venture into Rialto during the light of day.
DEN at the Portland Marriott City Center
Why: While blue cheese-whipped sour cream and a Beyond Burger option might get me in the door, the name of this restaurant is too much of a mouthful to repeat.
Hopcity Tavern + Market
Why: They did a “Sophia Burgara” last year but this is an entirely different burger and now I’m curious why everything is named after a Sophia.
Swine Moonshine & Whiskey Bar
My Big Fat Greek Burger
Interest Level: 7
Why: It’s a complete concept, from pita to sauce. And it seems lighter, which we can use during this heatwave.
Phil’s Meat Market and Delicatessen
Beer N’ Bacon Cheddar Fondue Burger
Interest Level: 8
Why: It’s from a meat market, so it must be good right? Fondue and fried onions sound like a nap waiting to happen.
Grapeful Dead BBQ Burger
Interest Level: 4
Why: Grape BBQ sauce and fried jalapenos are right up my alley but I don’t want to hit the meat sweats in an actual restaurant.
Kim Jong Smokehouse NW
Korean Hot Dog Burger
Interest Level: 9
Why: It’s from Kim Jong and it’s got a hot dog and kimchi on it!
Kells Brew Pub
Corned Beef and Cabbage
Interest Level: 7
Why: Again, Kells always embraces the challenge. I don’t know what “Irish magic” and “bubble and squeak” are but I’ll be finding out immediately after finishing up at Kim Jong Smokehouse.
Le Cordon Bleu Burger
Interest Level: 3
Why: It’s a simple concept but I did enjoy their burger last year.
The Boke Burger
Interest Level: 0 for me, 7 for you
Why: I already had a version of this when they did the special a few months back but you should go. Hell, I might go if I’m in the neighborhood because it is a good burger. Also available at SE Water location.
Interest Level: -1 (yes a negative)
Why: They’ve done this burger every year. I actually like it but that is a travesty and a slap in the face of Burger Week.
Tilt Pearl District
Interest Level: 11
Why: It’s available for breakfast again and that’s a game changer. Swan Island and Burnside locations are doing the same burger but with different hours. Check it out if you’re near one of them.
The Big Ugly
Why: With 3 slices of American Cheese and peanut butter, this already sounds like a bad decision. Which sounds like Yurs.
Ponderosa Lounge & Grill (@ Jubitz)
Wish You Were Beer BBQ Burger
Why: Available early and late and the farthest option North, “The World’s Classiest Truck Stop” has it all. Pair the burger with a movie at the Jubitz Cinema.
The Liberace Burger
Why: I love Bar Bar’s burgers, I just haven’t been so hot on their Burger Week offerings over the years. I also don’t understand how this ties into Liberace.
Why: I’ve heard Liberty Glass has a great burger, might as well see what’s up this week.
Why: Well it’s the closest spot to where I live and they’re nice people, plus it’s got tostones (crispy plantains)! They’re not open on Monday’s but do add shoestring fries if you’ve got the appetite.
That Good Good
Why: Smallwares has always done good burgers and returns this year with their new location on Fremont and Williams.
Grand Army Tavern
The Sack Lunch
Why: I like weird shit. House-made fried baloney and salt-and-vinegar chips classify as weird.
Why: Greek and Mexican inspired with cilantro-lime tzatziki! You might find me here back to back with Grand Army.
Why: Now we’re in the Burger Triangle (Stoopid, Church, Migration). Anything they’re selling here for $5 is already a steal and I’m sure it will be loaded with BBQ pork and fried pickles.
Why: Church always makes a good burger and I’m excited for the matchstick potatoes. Not excited to try to make it across town before they sell out.
We Got Seoul
Why: Migration seems to have some of the longest lines and will probably sell out, but they always bring it. Anything on a Hawaiian roll is going into my mouth.
Migration Brewing Burger Shack
We Got Seoul
Why: Apparently they have a burger shack in Lloyd Center? I guess go there when the main brewery’s patio is inevitably packed.
Spirit of 77
Why: I always avoid them on Burger Week but uh, fried beef might be too enticing to pass up. If I don’t show up to work it’s because this gave me a heart attack.
EB Mahalo Burger
Why: Hawaiian bun + pineapple slaw. Do they still have skeeball downstairs?
Hunan Black Pepper Burger
Why: Hot chili pimento cheese! Hopefully it’s cooked a little better than last year.
Island in the Stream
Why: Another Bar Bar burger is not doing it for me but If you can get one up to the roof of Revolution Hall for a sunset snack, that might change my mind.
Why: Mushroom gravy sounds really good (it’s making me hungry right now) but might be too heavy for this heat.
Why: This one also has mushroom gravy so it could be fun to try these last 2 back to back.
Why: Mexican and Japanese inspired, I’ll probably get it just because I like Noraneko.
White Owl Social Club
Impossible Green Chile Cheeseburger
Why: I want to try this impossible burger but White Owl is usually one of the most popular BW locations. Aside from not eating and animal, a portion of the proceeds go to the Oregon Food Bank.
Why: I loved The Vern when it used to be a dingy dive. Now that it’s under new ownership by the team who also owns Lay Low and Double Barrel, it’s high on my list of must haves.
Triple Nickel Pub
Smoky Bacon-Cotija Slaw Slammer
Interest: Idk, you tell me
Why: Triple Nick still holds the crown for worst of Burger Week but this sounds really good. Someone report back.
Nick’s Famous Coney Island
Why: It’s Nick’s so you already know it’s gonna be messy. Sweet with some heat in a classic location.
Next Level Burger
Why: It’s nice to mix in some non-meat options. Double up with White Owl’s Impossible Burger or take a break after a trip to Nick’s. Also available in SW Portland.
The Carl’s Senior
Why: I don’t know what a Before the Butcher patty is by I want to try this classic BBQ style vegan burger.
Double Barrel Tavern
Why: Double Barrel always comes through. They’re not re-inventing the wheel here but I’ll probably show up sweaty and leave sweatier (and smokier).
Night Light Lounge
Thai and Stop Me Burger!
Why: It’s right around the corner from Double Barrel and should have a taste that will be a nice contrast.
Lucky Devil Lounge
The Daddy Burger
Why: There’s no time to sit at the rack during burger week but there is time grab one of these. Last year they had the hottest burger
Fig & Labneh Burger
Why: Will probably hit this in tandem with Lucky Devil.
Hopworks Urban Brewery
Why: Sounds fine, go there if you have kids I guess.
Low Low Tavern
Why: Best Burger Week burger ever (2017).
Local 66 Bar & Grill
Why: Smoked kimchi, bacon, Korean BBQ sauce... and peanut butter. Let’s get weird.
Poached Pear Burger
Why: Somehow I miss their burger every year and this time will probably be no different with my schedule. It sounds fancy and tasty.
Red Pepper Harissa Burger
Why: Go there if you live or work in the area.
Why: Location and name would suggest this is a strip club… but it’s an Eastern European grocery store?! The Gobbler is a full concept that I appreciate but mostly I want to wander around and buy strangely labeled drinks.
Why: Always interested in a juicy lucy and have never made it out to Zoiglhaus. Maybe this will be the year.
Sunny’s Diablo Infernal BUMB
Why: A half pound burger might be too big but the commute back to the city center should let it settle.
Rocky’s Sports & Spirits
The Fiesty Mick
Why: This one sounds like it’ll leave me full for most of the day. I’d like to see someone tackle Rocky’s and Sunny’s back to back.
Bridge City Pizza
Ferris Buerger’s Day Off
Why: A bridge too far. It sounds so simple but I want to try it, limited hours will be prohibiting however.
Oaks Bottom Public House
The Bybee Burger
Why: It sounds really good, if I make it out to Sellwood I’ll try it.
Moreland Ale House
Brie and Caramelized Onion Burger
Why: I love brie.
SOUTHWEST and Elsewhere
Aji Tram Restaurant x Bar
Philly Cheesesteak Burger
Why: I’m always down for a cheesesteak but not a drive to LO.
IBU Public House
Mad Men’s Breakfast
Why: Fried egg and blue cheese and a rare Beaverton location for Burger Week. Not available for breakfast though.
New Seasons Market
Chef Krista’s Boomin’ Shroom Burger
Interest Level: 10
Why: For anyone working in the suburbs this may be one of the only reasonable lunch options all week. It’s not super exciting but I will be eating and enjoying it.