I’m in search of the best burger in Portland.
I love burgers. Burgers have always held a special place in my heart. I mean, how can you not love meat grilled to perfection, stuffed inside some bread and covered with all sorts of fixings? If burgers aren’t your thing maybe you should stop reading now, because this post is all about burgers baby! Don’t get it twisted, I eat all sorts of food and love trying new things, but burgers are just that perfect go-to, especially when I can’t make up my mind (which is often).
This post is the first of many where I am going to highlight places I regularly frequent for burgers, along with places people have recommended to me along the way; basically the best of both worlds! I’m looking forward to revisiting my top spots, and hopefully finding a few new favorites. In each post I’ll highlight three different burger joints in Portland, starting with Portland’s Killer Burger, Foster Burger and John’s Marketplace.
All the burgers I cover (for the most part) come with cheese, but you’ll notice I only eat hamburgers. Secret time! When I was a kid I ate way too much lasagna and got sick; to this day, I still cannot eat melted cheese. My family found this hilarious, since we’re Italian, and most people LOVE foods that are made with melted (and oftentimes extra) cheese. Ironic, right?
Anyway, let’s talk best burger in Portland!
We LOVE that all Killer burgers come with BACON & fries! The fries used to be bottomless, but apparently not anymore. Meat lovers will really enjoy this place, and although there’s a meatless patty option, vegetarians likely won’t be quite as impressed. The restaurant has a relaxed atmosphere, and offers a few craft beers and ciders on tap. Mmm, there’s something about cold beer and grilled meat that just work together, am I right?
I’ve been eating at Killer Burger since I moved to Portland and it consistently serves up a good burger. The menu features nine different options, but nothing too crazy. I would say that the Peanut Butter Pickle Bacon Burger is probably the most random item on the menu, but it’s ingredients really do work together!
On this particular visit I went with Jose Mendoza (minus cheese, add an egg) and Nicole went with the Fun Guy. For the most part the burgers were on point and the beer was ice cold. Nicole found her burger to be a bit messy and sloppy with all the sauces, but that didn’t stop her from crushing the whole thing.
In Portland, I usually frequent the Killer Burger in Sellwood, but there are also locations in downtown PDX, the Hollywood district, and at Moda Center. I rate this one of the best burger in Portland options.
Foster Burger is one of the first burger joints I tried after moving to Portland. Nicole and I were just driving by one afternoon, and remembered hearing good things, so we decided to give it a try. We certainly were not disappointed, and we’re pretty sure you won’t be either.
Although we remember liking Foster Burger on our first try, we aren’t quite sure why it took us so long to come back. The restaurant offers a good happy hour, refreshing specialty drinks and killer staff (shoutout to Aaron!). There was chill music playing and the walls were covered with cool “old” posters, featuring musical acts that have come through Portland over the years. Original posters or not, (we’re not totally convinced they’d all be in such great condition) we totally dig the vibe.
There were tons of tasty burger options to compete for the “best burger in Portland” award, but ultimately I decided on the Smoke Stack (add fried jalapeños) and Nicole pulled a wildcard, ordering the Tuscan Turkey Burger after our waiter said it was one of his favorites.
All the burgers on the menu sound delicious, and each probably is a tasty burger in its own right. Foster Burger offers you a great base and jumping off point to add or remove toppings, as you’ll find the staff really encourages you to make it your own.
My burger was cooked perfectly, and rightfully got completely dominated! Nicole really enjoyed her turkey burger too, but I could tell in her eyes she was jealous of my Smoke Stack. She’ll have her opportunity to try other burgers, because we will definitely be back! If you’re visiting Portland and find yourself craving a burger, Foster Burger, located on SE Foster Rd., is a safe bet.
Ok, let me start off by saying this is not your typical burger joint. Most people probably only know John’s as a place to buy kegs, craft beer, cider and wine. If you’re a beer lover you might just get lost in there. The beverage selection is organized by region, and you have the option to buy in singles or packs. If it’s your first time visiting John’s Marketplace, plan to spend a little time exploring all they have to offer; I’m sure you’ll find something new to try.
I learned about this place from some former co-workers, prior to that being clueless to the fact they served up food. Everyone kept telling me how good and cheap the burgers were, so one day I decided to tag along and check it out myself. The outside is nothing special, honestly looking a bit rundown, but as they say never judge a book by its cover!
John’s offers a nice selection of craft brews on tap and a simple, straightforward food menu. The burgers are cheap and basic; the Single Deluxe is a 1/3 lb burger dressed with mayo, mustard, ketchup, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions and Tillamook cheese for $3.29! Add bacon and your bill is only $3.99!
My go-to order has become the Double Deluxe, add bacon, which costs me a measly $5.99. They also offer the Triple Deluxe, add bacon, for only $7.49, but that’s more burger than I can commit to on a lunch break.
In summary, John’s is the perfect spot to grab a quick, cheap burger for lunch. Should you feel inclined to blow off work one afternoon, it’s a great place to cruise the beer aisles for a new brew and start your happy hour a bit early.
What’s your best burger in Portland recommendation?
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!).
I’m reading this at 10 PM and I’m getting hungry! Haha. Your photos look so good. I need a burger right now. What’s the size of that burger from John’s?
Hello Ben! Glad you enjoyed the article. Those late night cravings are the worst and I hope you were able to make something happen. The double burger from John’s isn’t huge but that’s coming from a big guy who LOVES to eat. I would compare it (size wise) to a Double-Double from In-N-Out Burger with bacon.
Corrrr they look tasty! I have to stay this post has made my stomach rumble. I travel to Portland next on business, with GSE Solutions and I will be sure to wrap my chops around one of John’s burgers that’s for sure! Safe Travels! Luke
Luke thanks for the feedback and trust me, all the burgers were BOMB!!! When are you traveling to Portland and what area of the city you staying in? I can recommend some other “Must Do’s” while visiting Portland.
Mouthwatering post! Reading this makes me hungry. Just like you, I am also “burger is life” human being. LOL! I love Killer Burger. All in one with fries and B A C O N.
Thanks Kathy! Always happy to meet another Burger Lover like myself. I live less than a mile from a Killer Burger and it’s hard NOT to stop in every time I drive by. What’s your favorite burger on their menu?