Top Ten Burger Crawl


Jeff eating a Mike’s Double Cheeseburger Basket.

Sometime back (January?) Jeff and I were discussing an article listing the Top Ten Classic Burgers in Portland. Well, actually, it was more like an argument, if you must know. 

Jeff’s argument was based on the premise that how could anyone truly know what the Top Ten was? After a while I became exasperated and suggested that to be qualified to discuss it at all, one must surely eat at all of these places and Then discuss it.

Jeff agreed and the Top Ten Burger Crawl began. Every week or so we visited one of the places on the Top Ten Burger List. It was really fun to plan and discuss where to go each week, it gave us something to look forward to, that’s for sure.

We went to every place on the list except for one, which I swapped out, because I had then found a second Top Ten list and felt it was important to drop one that received many bad/mixed reviews and add one that had many rave reviews.

I dropped Stanich’s for Foster Burger and I have no regrets about this. Foster Burger remains my pick for the Number One Burger in Portland. While Jeff argues that it didn’t truly qualify, because it was a Pub and therefore, not a classic drive-in sort of place.

I don’t care: Foster Burger had handmade buns from the bakery next door, your choice of toppings–Five Guys style and Poutine, they are the best!  This is the only place I have returned to, with Chris and I had to remind him to taste his food because he was wolfing it down so fast!  When Chris and I went, we shared a Coffee Shake and it was everything a shake should be, cold, rich, creamy and served in one of those over-sized metal cups.

After talking with Jeff at length, he finally admitted that his Number One Burger would have to be the Double Double Bacon Bacon Burger at Humdinger’s. He says it wins based on sheer height and bacon-ness. I have to admit, their burger was a classic and their shakes were awesome.

I had their soft serve chocolate marshmallow shake, and they don’t skimp on their flavoring, lots of chocolate topped off with a dollop of marshmallow cream.  Three other people saw my milkshake and decided to order one themselves, including the guy who was waiting for his to-go order.

Humdinger’s Double Double Bacon Bacon Burger and the Chocolate Marshmallow Shake

When we visited Humdinger’s in March, it decided to snow that day, so it was not the best day for milkshakes, and I plan to make a return trip this summer, when they are holding one of their outdoor checker games.  Jeff says we’ll go in his old Buick Convertible Skylark, as soon as its running reliably again.

Our other favorite burger, running at Number Two would have to be the Burger Barn on Glisan.  It was a sub for Canyon Burgers which is owned by the same people, only why drive to Beaverton if you don’t have to?  This place didn’t look like much, was run by a single guy who seemed unsure of what to do,  but boy-howdy!  We had to ask for forks to finish eating these enormous, sloppy,  burgers with juices that started running down our arms with the first bite.

We also shared a Caramel Milkshake and it too is done by hand and served in the over-sized metal cups.  It was really good and I had to ask what caramel flavor they used and he said it was Ghiradelli’s.

The biggest burger surprise has to go to Roake’s, which is an institution as far as Coney Island Long Hot Dogs go.  Jeff has been going there his whole life and he took me there as our first real date many moons ago.  Both of us have Never Ever eaten a burger there, so it was with some trepidation that we had one.

We were pleasantly surprised, Roake’s does make a very good burger.  I had the Rich Roake that is served on a French Bun and Jeff had the Roaker which is served with their famous coney sauce.  Of course their fries are the usual hand-cut greasy fries that we love.

Mike’s Double Cheeseburger Basket

Jeff and I wound up our Burger Crawl at a local place, Mike’s Restaurant, we went to the Sellwood location so that we could hit up East Moreland Park for a picture shoot if the weather was good.  It wasn’t, as you can see from the pix I did take. Gray, cloudy, splats of rain, bleh!

Mike’s has three locations around where we live, and I now have officially been once to all three.  They make a decent sized, good, classic burger, its just not a great burger.  But many people love Mike’s, and that’s O.K.

All the remaining places on the Top Ten list were each good in their own way, but neither of us are sure we would go out of our way to eat their again.  They are:  Giant Drive In, George’s Giant Hamburgers, Dea’s In & Out, Helvetia Tavern and Skyline Restaurant.   Well, Jeff said he would go to Giant Drive In again, he liked the old curmudgeon owner and the old-fashioned style of the place as well as the huge everything burger he had there.

Now that we’re done, we’re discussing a round-up of the Top Ten Diners…of the American style comfort food sort.

I’m making a list.

One response to “Top Ten Burger Crawl

  1. You guys should try some burgers at Hamburger Mary’s, so far they top anything else that I’ve had here in Chicago.

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