Guess who’s back, back again? Bob is back, tell a friend… and I’m hunting for the best burger in Portland!
I did a LOT of eating over the holidays to prepare for this post, but they’re finally over and it’s time to talk best BURGERS in Portland!!! I’m back with my latest Portland area burger review, covering local and historic “classic Americana” restaurants. By staying true to themselves and sticking to the basics, these three burger joints will remind you that good food can be done fast, fresh and also cheap.
I’ve been looking forward to getting to back blogging, and eating burgers, so let’s do the damn thing!
Who has the best burger in Portland, Oregon?
The Skyline Restaurant is one of Portland’s oldest burger spots. Originally known as “The Speck,” they began flipping burgers back in 1935 and I hope they never stop! It’s perfect for lunch or dinner when you’re on the run, riding solo or with your crew. Every burger is made to order and includes dill pickles, sliced tomatoes, lettuce, mayo and onions on a killer sesame seed bun that’s brushed with butter. The menu has offers more than just burgers, but that’s not why I was there. Check out the Skyline’s full menu and monthly specials.
I focused on the Skyline’s quarter and half-pound signature burger menu. Naturally I thought about ordering a few burgers (I’m a “husky” fella!), but Nicole reminded me that we had dinner plans in a few hours (she’s always clipping my wings!). I devoured the #11 Giant-Sized Bar-B-Que Burger, a half-pounder topped with Skyline’s smoky BBQ sauce, and an order of fries that we shared. Nicole went with the half-pound #16 Aloha Burger because she’s a fucking CHAMP. This isn’t your basic bitch type burger— it’s slathered in Teriyaki sauce and piled high with ham, pineapple and gooey Swiss cheese. YUM.
The burgers were definitely filling, and both were the BOMB!!!! I’m not sure the pictures do these burgers any real justice, but what I do know is that we ate the f*&# out of those burgers—and we were already planning which ones to order on our next visit.
As for best burger in Portland… definitely on the list.
Hey, if it’s good enough for James Beard (yeah, that guy!) then it’s definitely worth checking out.
The next stop on the burger journey brings us to a restaurant with origins dating back to 1937. It is consistently rated as one of the best burgers in Portland, so I had to come see for myself.
A gentleman named Roy Dowell had the genius idea to build and operate food trailers around Oregon and Washington. Somewhere between 1937-1939, the McLoughlin Boulevard trailer was purchased by a gentleman named Charles Dowd, and that’s where the long and interesting history of Roake’s begins. Read the complete history of this food trailer.
Roake’s keeps it simple when it comes to their menu, offering varying versions of burgers, dogs, fries and shakes—exactly what you’d expect from a classic American burger joint. Nicole and I both ordered the Roaker Burger (hold my cheese) and split an order of sloppy Coney Fries. The Roaker comes with the standard toppings of tomatoes, pickles, and chopped onions, but it’s also smothered in coney sauce and served on a grilled bun. Both the fries and the burgers were tasty, but boy were they messy! At one point my beard was wearing more coney sauce than my food! This is perfect for a quick lunchtime bite, and when you’re short on cash; tip included, we spent less than $20 and did not leave Roake’s hungry.
Bonus Tip: Don’t go overboard! We recommend limiting the coney sauce to one item and not everything you order, like we did…unless you really LOVE coney sauce! On our next visit we decided we’re going to try just the hot dogs with coney instead.
Opened in 1971 by Mike Martin (not my boy Mike Martin, fellow ALCS and FSU alum), Mike’s Drive-In is a true throwback burger drive-in.
With minimal changes taking place over the years it’s easy to see why Mike’s thrives on repeat business. I’ve eaten at Mike’s Drive-In many times since moving to Portland—there used to be a Mike’s right down the street from my place in Sellwood (neighborhood in Southeast Portland), located in an old A&W Root Beer drive-In.
Unfortunately that location has since closed, torn down to make way for more over-priced, high-rise apartments…gotta love gentrification! Luckily two locations still remain just a short drive outside of Portland.
Mike’s menu offers more items than just burgers and fries, but I honestly couldn’t speak to them; you know me, I’m here for the beef! Nicole is a big fan of the ice cream and shakes. If you’re curious, check out Mike’s full menu.
I was really hungry during my recent trip to Mike’s (surprise, surprise), so I ordered the quarter-pound Buffalo Burger AND the All-American half-pound Steak Burger. The All-American is a blend of chuck, short rib and brisket, topped with A-1 mayo and served on a brioche bun. Nicole opted for the Guacamole, Swiss and Bacon Burger, which is self-explanatory. All of Mike’s burgers are topped with fresh lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and fresh or grilled onions on request.
Our three burgers were grilled to perfection! Using fresh ingredients and cooking food to order really goes a long way—you can just taste the quality in every bite. I see why people continue to come back to Mike’s time and time again.
Bonus Tip: Visit Mike’s Drive-In Tuesday from 5:00 p.m. to close for Family Night specials, including $2 off burger baskets and FREE fried-food upgrades and soft serve cones!
That’s a wrap! Just like that, another addition of finding the best burger in Portland with Bob’s Burger Chronicles has come to an end. But have no fear, I’ll be back soon to talk burgers and fill you in on my quest to find the best burger in Portland.
Bob and Nicole in the house! Currently living the dream in Portland, Oregon, with our cat sons, Purrito, ten, and Luigi, three, but originally both from Upstate New York (Go Bills!).
We have a passion for adventure, seizing all opportunities to see or experience something new! In our downtime we especially love road-trips around the Pacific Northwest, often exploring the great outdoors, but also intrigued with the quirky and lesser-known oddities we find along the way.
Fun facts about Bob: Diehard Buffalo Bills fan who hates melted cheese and wearing shoes. A literal viking with a stellar red beard, but is not actually a ginger. If he could eat only one thing for the rest of his life it would be hamburgers.
Fun facts about Nicole: Self-proclaimed crazy cat lady with a wicked sweet tooth, particularly for cookies. Creative and crafty DIY project-er, with lots of ideas and mostly unfinished projects. Amateur runner who loves the outdoors, including camping and hiking, especially to waterfalls (Pisces!).