The burger: a food so glorious, mania for it caused a neverending crime spree amongst the citizens of McDonaldland. Everybody and their mother (and grandmother) does 'em 'round these parts, but these are the ones who do it best… forgoing crazy embellishments to keep the focus squarely on the wonders of ground meat on a bun. Be on the lookout for a suspicious fellow in striped pajamas.
5. Classic Burger
3939 N Mississippi Ave; 503.288.3895
Stuck on the side of Mississippi Studios, Bar Bar's menu consists of burgers, fries, burgers, and sliders that are also burgers. These meat slabs are perfectly thin, no-nonsense affairs w/ secret sauce serving as the only embellishment and making them the closest thing to In-N-Out you're gonna get without expatriating to Cali Cali.
4. Yakuza Burger
5411 NE 30th; Concordia; 503.450.0893
Though best known for its sushi, Yakuza's possibly PDX's best happy-hour burger, a beautifully bloody stack of beef, chevre, shoestring potatoes, house-made ketchup & spicy mayo. Sometimes, they also offer it w/ tempura pork belly, which's basically committing seppuku w/ your left ventricle.
3. Biwa Hamburger
215 SE 9th; Buckman; 503.239.8830
The high-end ramen joint only offers its amazing $8 burger on its late-night menu, but it's worth staying up as late to get a taste. The monstrous beauty is a perfectly seasoned hunk of beef topped w/ kimchi mayo & a gigantic slab of BBQ pork that'll linger in your dreams (and teeth) all night.
2. The Special
4915 NE Fremont; Beaumont; 503.281.2322
In a city where every other burger's a gourmet monster topped w/ stuff like foie gras and freshly foraged whatever, Stanich's sports bar has become famous for not messing around with any of that crap. Order the epitome of old-school -- "The Special" -- and get a gigantic slab of America w/ chuck, ham, bacon & egg. Then forage for some Tums.
1. The Double Foster
5339 SE Foster; Foster/Powell; 503.775.2077
Foster Burger does pretty much everything right, including knowing its limits. The gloriously simple Double Foster comes slathered in Foster Sauce and stacked w/ two patties cooked medium despite their thinness, allowing the pillowy/buttery roll from neighboring An Xuyen bakery to soak up the juice like a sponge. You can add everything from bacon to jalapenos, but really, you don't need to mess with perfection.
Foster Burger's menu is a la carte, starting with poutines that begin with the basic (gravy and Beecher's cheesecurds), then moving onto specials like the Arleta with roasted chicken and peas, the mushrooms/onions/garlic Woodstock, and the belly/bacon/pastrami Clinton, plus awesome happy house drink specials.
The little sister bar and patio to the musically inclined restaurant/concert venue Mississippi Studios (located in the same building), Bar Bar's specialties are the life's simple pleasures: a high quality burger, a cheap can of beer, and good music. The burger at this Boise joint's, with its grass-fed beef, house-made ketchup, and a secret-recipe sauce between a thick and soft potato bun, is one of the best in Portland, and while the beer list is short and craft-free, the inventive list of specialty cocktails will more than make up for it.
Boasting an overlooked back patio/garden and a secret rock-lined soaking tub, Yakuza’s Asian-inspired paradise has got sushi in addition to an awesome menu of izakaya and American eats.
Biwa is a Japanese restaurant serving up yakitori, ramen, and the occasional burger in SE Portland.
The unembellished exterior of this Roseway houses on of the city's most beloved sports bars, open since the 1940s. Despite the small space and the eerie graveyard in their backyard, veteran customers have been returning here on a regular basis to admire their wall-to-wall team pennants and sink their teeth into The Special, a portion-defying beef and ham cheeseburger with bacon, egg, and all the fixings your (very hungry) heart desires.