Jonesing for burgers

Sometimes after a long coffee binge, studying and ramen noodles, you just need a real meal. What could be more satisfying when you’re hungry and wired than a delicious burger and fries?

Sometimes after a long coffee binge, studying and ramen noodles, you just need a real meal. What could be more satisfying when you’re hungry and wired than a delicious burger and fries?

The origin of the American hamburger is widely disputed. There are folks in Connecticut, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin who all claim it was their ancestors who first put ground beef patties between bread. Most hamburger historians agree that they were popularized at the World’s Fair in 1904. America’s love affair with ground beef sandwiches has been going strong ever since.

People who love hamburgers take them very seriously. No doubt Portland has a great many pubs and diners offering a variety of takes on the classic combination of burgers and fries. Here are just a few that make the grade.

The Original: A Dinerant

300 SW Sixth Ave.
They call themselves a “dinerant,” or a cross between a restaurant and a diner. They serve creative comfort food in a sleek atmosphere. Their deluxe burger with fried onions and two kinds of flavorful cheeses is impressive. The fries are standard diner fare, and executed almost perfectly—delicious and crispy. One of the burgers has a glazed doughnut from the notorious Voodoo Doughnut as the bun.

Knob Hill Bar and Grill
937 NW 23rd Ave.
Imagine a little bar and grill that time forgot and smells welcomingly like your grandparents house. Prices seem to be too great for a student budget. The burgers here are nothing more or less than good bar food. The presentation is even old school. The best part is the secret sauce—it’s delectable and arguably makes the burger. Just like grandma, they also serve Tater Tots, which are stellar if you are into Tots.

Byways Café

1212 NW Glisan St.
This breakfast favorite in the Pearl—though you forget where you are once inside—serves up lunch too. This burger is classic comfort food with a homemade taste and yummy special sauce. The buns are the best part, made at Upper Crust Bakery. They are buttery, squishy in the middle and a little crispy on the outside—oh, and supposedly whole wheat. The fries were perfect: real potatoes with potato skin still evident, nicely crispy and hot.

Bridgeport Brewery
1313 NW Marshall St.
Everyone seems to have an opinion about the space of Bridgeport itself. Many locals liked it before the remodel and think it too snobby or cold now. Others love the change. Atmosphere aside, the burgers are absolutely delectable. What is not to love about a half pound of fresh-ground Cascade Natural Beef served with Tillamook white cheddar? It’s kind of pricey, so try to catch a happy hour. Definitely one of the tastiest burgers around.

Skyline Restaurant
1313 NW Skyline Blvd.
This diner and drive-in is almost as old school as it can get. Skyline has been serving diner favorites for almost 75 years. If you ever wondered what nostalgia tastes like, give it a try. The burgers are fair. They come with plenty of veggie toppings and sauce, but the patties are thin, so if you are hungry get the double. The fries are enjoyable—thin, fast-food style, but without the hollow center. If you are into gourmet burgers with high-quality beef, this is not for you. The atmosphere is the most fun part of the experience.

214 SW Broadway
They only have burgers for happy hour, but they are Cascade Natural Beef fabulousness and $4. They are gourmet and interesting with toppings like avocado and wasabi mayonnaise and are served on a delicious brioche bun. The fries are equally savory and clearly made from real skin on potatoes. If you like old-fashioned burgers or restaurants, this is not the place for you. It’s polished and hip, but if you like that or can get over it, give it a try. You won’t be disappointed with the flavor.