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Feb 27, 2008 12:19 AM

What's so special about Burgerville?

Hello burger aficionados,

I've noticed a lot of fairly rave reviews/recommendations for Burgerville USA, and having gone there twice and sampled a bit of their product, I don't get it. I do not care much for their shakes; the seasonal Blackberry was OK, but was full of seeds, and the seasonal hazelnut was downright nasty -- for the record, I like hazelnuts and many hazelnut products. The fries are so-so. The burger patties are OK (Yeah, I've heard about how they supposedly use high-grade, local beef, so save it), but the buns are soggy and limp (why can't they toast or grill them, for cryin' out loud?). Their onion rings aren't bad, but you don't get a lot in an order. Overall fairly mediocre; other family members concur with my appraisal. It may beat Micky D's (what doesn't?), but I think I prefer even Burger King over B-ville, although I haven't eaten at one in years. From what I remember of Dick's in SEA -- albeit a score years ago -- their burgers are better/tastier.

As back story, I grew up in PDX and never ate at B-ville; their commercials and outside decor gave me the impression, even as a high schooler, of being a hack chain. And for those aforementioned score years, I lived in Pasadena, CA -- a chow haven. Give me an In-n-Out or Tommy's burger any day -- not to mention those from a myriad of very tasty independent or small-chain burger/fast-food joints down there. They know how to make burgers down there, I'll tell you what. So perhaps I'm spoiled.

Alas, now that I've moved back to the PNW and visit PDX, most of the old-school independent fast-food/burger joints I remember from my youth there are no more. Can anybody give some recommendations on old-school burger drive-ins in the greater PDX area?

As an aside on SoCal burger joints, they are just plain legion down there. While in grad school, I met a fella studying air pollution in the LA basin. He told me that the primary source of very fine, i.e. small, air particulates there are the kitchen exhausts from these places.

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  1. No argument here. I wish it weren't so, and I'm sure Steak and Sheak and In and Out and even Whataburger down in Texas all taste better 'cause their food is junkier, but Burgerville does not excite me like I want it too. Sweet potato fries are probably the best thing on the menu.

    Can't agree about Burger King though.

    There's a burger drive in place in Vancouver, WA that looked in intriguing. I have never been though.

    1. I don't get Burgerville, I really, really don't get Dick's, and I'm very sorry but In-n-Out isn't all that either. Do I hate burgers? Hell no! Do I hate the above mentioned places? No.

      And I wish people would get over it. It's just freakin' fast food.

      4 Replies
      1. re: sebetti

        Its all about expectations. All of the places mentioned above are fast food burgers. Are the gourmet? no, but they are damn sure tasty. I, personally, cannot eat gourmet every meal. I often have cravings for a thin, greasy burger topped with nasty processed American cheese. I guess its nostalgic but none the less still delicious.

        1. re: sebetti

          Where are some of your favorite burgers, Sebetti?

          1. re: GreenYoshi

            I would first like to admit that I was in a pretty rank mood when I posted above.
            I was just annoyed at how nit-picky obessessive people get over a simple fast-food burger. You like it or you don't and there's a pretty good chance that you'll favor what you are used to or grew up with, that's just the way it is.

            I eat at Burgerville here in Portland and I do eat at In-n-Out when I'm in CA. I like both...and every once in awhile I do go to Micky-D's because (smirk) their fries are the best damn fast-food fries out there and no one can convince me otherwise.

          2. re: sebetti

            Haven't had Burgerville.

            But to lump In-N-Out and Dick's in the same sentence is blasphemy.

          3. I love Dick's, In and out, and Burgerville.

            I like that Burgerville is trying to be green. They make and effort to buy from sustainable, local farmers. Their products are in season only, or they take them off the menu (I've had burgers without tomatoes when tomatoes were not looking good... I'll take that over a green tomato just because it's on the menu!).

            Their eggs are cage-free. Beef is hormone free. Their vegetarian entrees are cooked on a seperate grill from their meat. They pay competative wages. They give back to their community.

            That being said, their fruit drinks are not that great (I agree they have a LOT of seeds). They are expensive, but not too bad if you are used to buying organic or free-range products.

            The best burger I've found is in Aberdeen, Washington (up on the mid-coast of Washington). They make their own marinade. Tillamook Cheddar. Thick pickle slice. Friendly service.

            Tell me when you find a decent local (Portland/Vancouver) burger.

            3 Replies
            1. re: sulbin

              It is the halibut Fish & Chips. No, they are not the best anyone has ever had, but, for the price, they are not bad. Other than the shakes (and yes, the Marionberry ones have seeds, but they are might tasty) that is about all we order there and we do it regularly. Order the 6 piece and it feeds two. Not gourmet, but not bad for a cheap halibut hit.

              1. re: sulbin

                What's the name of the place in Aberdeen?

                1. re: GreenYoshi

                  The Hotdog Stand.

                  It's behind the main Aberdeen Fire Station. It's worth the drive.

              2. I've yet to be thrilled with any of their big burgers but I love their small cheeseburgers. Their small bbq bacon cheeseburgers used to rock. I knew many who found them addictive but they did away with those long ago.

                1. I've only eaten at Burgerville once. I reported on that visit last summer. I really liked the onion rings, because they used large pieces of a good mild onion. They were really about the onion, not the breading. I purposely chose the smallest order (3), so the quantity didn't bother me.

                  I had a bacon burger. If I recall correctly, it was a little under salted. In a sense that was good (don't need a lot of salt), but I can see where some would not be impressed. A few months later I had a similar burger at a Sooke BC diner that I liked just as well, if not more.

                  Yes the blackberry drinks have seeds, but so do freshly picked berries.