Every now and then your tastebuds start to water and the only thing that will satisfy their hunger pains is a juicy and delicious burger (and we’re not talking about the Golden Arches variety). Being a true food-centric city, Portland offers up some of the most delicious burgers we’ve ever sunk our teeth into. What makes them great? Not only are many of them perfect for families, but they all pride themselves on using the best, highest quality local ingredients. Plus, we love them because while the kids get their plain ol’ cheeseburger (or grilled cheese at many at these joints), mom and dad can order something amazing to satisfy a grown-up burger palate.
Helvetia Tavern (Hillsboro) is home to the jumbo burger. And, jumbo it is. Dig into this delicious hamburger with a side of fries or onion rings. There’s also milk and apple juice on the menu for the kiddos, a variety of mico brews for the grown-ups, as well as grilled cheese and ham and cheese sandwiches if you have finicky eaters on your hands.
10275 NW Helvetia Road
Hopworks Urban Brewery
Already a great spot to grab a pint with the littles, Hopworks also boasts a delicious burger selection that runs the gamut from vegan bean burgers to full on Bomber BBQ. Of course they offer a build-your-own option for either beef or chicken sandwiches, so you can always get creative. Their wedge cut fries have received rave reviews, and you simply can’t beat the beer selection.
2944 SE Powell Blvd
Sometimes getting a burger means going to a good old-fashioned drive-in style restaurant. Mike’s Drive-In (Southeast/Sellwood Neighborhood) is the type of place that you used to go to as a kid and now you’ll love taking your own kids. (And trust us, it’s the same red vinyl booths and carpet that was there over 20-years ago!). The burgers are tasty at Mike’s – somewhere between a fast-food and a gourmet burger – and the milkshakes are a must!
1707 Southeast Tenino Street
This place is not for the faint of heart (or stomach). And with a name like Killer Burger, we would expect nothing less than the overwhelming smell of beef cooking right when you enter this Northeast Portland establishment. Their burgers are easy on the wallet, but not so much on the waist. These juicy patties are definitely a treat, so you’ll want to savor every guilty bite of your Peanut-Butter-Pickle-Bacon burger…we’re not even kidding. Be sure to check out their other locations in Sellwood and Vancouver.
4644 NE Sandy Blvd
They wouldn’t put burger in the name if they weren’t good. Along with all of the traditional burger offerings, this burger joint serves up thick and delicious malted milkshakes that are enough to fill you up on their own. Their mini burgers are perfect for mini appetites, and everyone can dig into their basket of crispy fries. Feeling adventurous? Try their blank and white fries–served with white truffle and squid ink aioli.
5339 SE Foster Road
Little Big Burger
At first glance, Little Big Burger (there are locations in the Pearl District, North Portland, Eugene and SE Portland — check their site for details on each location) has a simple menu with only five items. But upon closer inspection, you’ll notice that these aren’t just any five menu items. Just look at the cheeseburger, which boasts your choice of Tillamook cheddar, Swiss, Rogue chevre or bleu cheese. You won’t want to miss one of their root beer floats as well, so save room!
Though most notably a popular breakfast spot with an affinity for awesome breakfast sandwiches, Toast also offers up a freshly ground hanger steak burger on their menu that is simple delicious. Your kids will get a kick of the absence of traditional buns at Toast. Their burgers come on two slices of, you guessed it, thick cut toast!
5222 SE 52nd Ave
Cornelius Pass Roadhouse
McMenamins is an Oregon institution, and CPR Imbrie Hall lives up the the McMenamins reputation and standard when it comes to their brews and their burgers. This place is often packed on the weekends, where the crowds spill out on to the outside patio (which double as a great place for kids to run around). Their burger and sandwich menu is extensive, and you can’t go wrong with an order of their ever-popular tater tots.
4045 N.W. Cornelius Pass Rd.
Brunchbox Food Cart
Our list wouldn’t be a complete Portland food roundup if we didn’t include a food cart option. For a burger on wheels, try Brunchbox Food Cart, in food cart alley on the corner of Southwest 5th Avenue and Stark Street. The kids will get a kick out of the “youcanhascheese!” burger, which is a hamburger in-between two grilled cheese sandwiches. Also available for the kids – grilled cheese or PB&J cut in the shape of a dinosaur ($2.50).
Food Cart Alley
Corner of SW 5th Avenue & Stark Street
Five Guys Burgers & Fries
It’s rumored that Five Guys Burgers & Fries is the hottest thing in burgers since In-N-Out–with a simple menu and lots of red and white check décor, the rumors may be true! If you have to go the “fast food” route then Five Guys is a great option because the food is simply delicious, the service is fast, and the wait staff is friendly. For kids, we really like that you can customize your burger toppings without Five Guys blinking an eye – they want a cheeseburger with BBQ sauce and relish? Why not? They also have unlimited peanuts available, which we love. There are three locations in the Portland area – visit their website to find the one closest to you.
Honorable Mention: While Violetta may have closed down, their website hints that they will be returning in the Fall.
What is your family’s #1 place to get a burger? Let us know in the comment section below.
— Katie Kavulla
photos courtesy of Foster Burger facebook page, Little Big Burger facebook page, Mike’s Drive-In facebook page, Killer Burger facebook page, Five Guys facebook page