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Best Cheeseburger in Portland, Maine

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eric10dk Oct 8, 2011 07:20 AM

Just moved to Portland after 9 years in Boston.

I need to find the best cheeseburger in Portland. I know 5 Guys is here but I'd like to avoid that. So, I'm asking for your help. Who serves the best cheeseburger in Portland and why?

Thanks

  1. j
    jackattack Oct 8, 2011 02:45 PM

    A little spot called Harmon's Lunch in Falmouth is my favorite burger stop. They're just small burgers, not big steakhouse burgers, but so tasty and fresh and you can get them with caramelized onions. The french fries are fresh-cut and a big bonus.
    The Great Lost Bear does good cheeseburgers too, with their special cheese sauce that makes them a little out of the ordinary.
    Try 'em both and get back to us!

    -----
    The Great Lost Bear
    540 Forest Ave, Portland, ME 04101

    Harmon's Lunch
    144 Gray Rd, ME 04105

    2 Replies
    1. re: jackattack
      e
      eric10dk Oct 8, 2011 04:05 PM

      Thanks for suggestions. I'll have to get to both soon.

      If you have reccomendations for Old Port/Downtown I'm all ears.

      1. re: eric10dk
        s
        soxlover Oct 9, 2011 12:09 AM

        I've always gotten a great burger at Ruskis, which used to be owned by the same person as Rosie's on Fore St. I assume they have the same burger.

    2. b
      bobbert Oct 9, 2011 01:06 AM

      Although I'm not that much of a burger guy, I do get one now and then at The Great Lost Bear which is also a great bar with great beer choices (and really good fries). I hit Harmon's now and then, not necessarily because the burger is so good but more because the place is a piece of Americana. Never had the burger but someone was just raving about the Dogfish Cafe - there's one on Free St. not far from the Old Port. I've had burgers at Gritty's and 3 Dollar Deweys but don't remember them being memorable either good or bad. I did like the Nosh burger at Nosh - they have some interesting burgers and sandwiches.

      -----
      The Great Lost Bear
      540 Forest Ave, Portland, ME 04101

      3 Replies
      1. re: bobbert
        e
        eric10dk Oct 9, 2011 05:45 AM

        Thanks bobbert. The Great Lost Bear is on the agenda for next week. I'll report back on my thoughts.

        -----
        The Great Lost Bear
        540 Forest Ave, Portland, ME 04101

        1. re: eric10dk
          i
          irwin Oct 9, 2011 08:31 AM

          I think the Great Lost Bear is terrible for a whole lot of reasons..
          Rosie's, Grill Room or Silly's take the cake.........

          -----
          The Great Lost Bear
          540 Forest Ave, Portland, ME 04101

          Grill Room
          84 Exchange St, Portland, ME 04101

        2. re: bobbert
          n
          nyawira Oct 14, 2011 06:54 PM

          That was me raving about Dogfish Cafe. Someone in that thread suggested Sillys was better so I went last week. The place is cool, and the burger was good, but in my mind it doesn't compare to dogfish at all. The great lost bear has terrible burgers. I haven't tried any cheeseburgers atnthe more high end places suggested in this thread. When I crave a burger, it's generally around the same time I crave a casual place mostly bellying up to the bar. Next stop for me after reading this thread will likely be a burger at the bar at grace.

        3. s
          sultanaboudreau Oct 9, 2011 05:54 AM

          I'm a native Mainer, but I relocated to Portland after living in Boston for some of my 20s and a bit of my 30s a few years ago. I hope you're enjoying yourself--
          There's no burger in Portland as delicious or food coma-inducing as R.F.O'Sullivans in Somerville but there are many burgers prepared in different ways in town, so you have options depending on what you like.
          Here's a few of my favorites:
          For a bar burger, Rosies Tavern on Fore Street. Big and thick, and always properly cooked to order. I've never had my medium rare burger arrive overcooked, and I've been enjoying burgers at Rosies since the 1990s, which makes me very happy. Rosie's is usually my first choice when I'm craving a burger and a beer...
          If you're looking to get a bit more locavorish--we raise some tasty cows in Maine and many local restaurants make great use of them--
          The burger at the Grill Room on Exchange Street is my husband's favorite. It's beef from Pineland Farms in New Gloucester, I think. The burger is huge--served on a square of toasted focaccia rather than a bun so the kitchen isn't even limited by standard bun sizes-- with aioli and a homemade tomato confit. You can add bacon or one of many cheeses, as well--one of the nice things about the Grill Room is that the bar and kitchen stays open during that interstitial space between lunch and dinner (which in Maine is between 2ish and 4-5ish), so if you're in the Old Port craving a really good burger at, say, 3:30 in the afternoon, you can sit at the bar and enjoy one. I've heard locals complain about the price ($12-ish, I think) but it doesn't bother me as it's a meal-of-the-day sort of burger. The Front Room on Congress St. is the same owner--they also make a tasty burger.
          Other great local burgers of note: Caiola's in the West End (I've had this topped with a fried egg and called it brunch on many a Sunday--it's served with homemade tater tots), Petite Jacqueline on State Street/555 on Congress (same owner--555 is more fine dining but their bar burger is another $12ish burger that's worth it), Local 188 on Congress (local meat and really good homemade brioche buns!).
          A bit on Nosh--Nosh makes thin flattop-cooked patties cooked all the way through with a mix of beef and pork. Many Portlanders love them--it's just not to my taste. I do love their bacon dusted fries tho--
          I

          -----
          Fore Street
          288 Fore Street, Portland, ME 04101

          Grill Room
          84 Exchange St, Portland, ME 04101

          Caiola's
          58 Pine St, Portland, ME 04102

          Front Room Restaurant & Bar
          73 Congress St Ste A, Portland, ME 04101

          Local 188
          685 Congress St, Portland, ME 04102

          Old Port Cafe
          111 Main St, Winterport, ME 04496

          8 Replies
          1. re: sultanaboudreau
            b
            bobbert Oct 9, 2011 09:07 AM

            As I'm not a huge burger guy I wil defer to sulton on her choices. I haven't had their burgers but those are all good places that should do a good one. as for the lack of love for The Great Lost Bear, it is not a fine dining spot and I certainly do not go for the food. It's simply a really good local bar with great beer choices. Definitely bypass the dining rom and grab a seat at or near the bar. The best burger around? Probably not but the burger is one of the better things on the menu.

            -----
            The Great Lost Bear
            540 Forest Ave, Portland, ME 04101

            1. re: bobbert
              s
              sultanaboudreau Oct 9, 2011 09:21 AM

              hey bobbert...I wouldn't exactly call Rosie's fine dining! They have darts and free popcorn. And it's in the Old Port/Downtown area the original poster was looking for...

              I spent too much of the 1990s (when I was in my early 20s) sidled up to the bar at the Great Lost Bear as I used to work very near there to ever want to go back.

              -----
              The Great Lost Bear
              540 Forest Ave, Portland, ME 04101

              1. re: sultanaboudreau
                b
                bobbert Oct 9, 2011 10:20 AM

                Hey, I was deferring to you on the burger choices as you’re definitely more knowledgeable when it comes to burgers. I don’t usually eat them and, as I really like the food at the places you picked, I extrapolated and figured the burgers must be good as well so I’m with you. I didn’t mean to imply that Rosie’s was fine dining – it would probably need to step it up a notch or two to become a dive:) Not that I haven’t stopped in for the $4 shot and beer special. Yeah, I can slum with the best of them, fit in and enjoy myself. OP of the OP didn’t mention the Old Port – I was just piggybacking on someone else’s post. Like you, I spent a lot more time at the bar at The Great Lost Bear in the 90’s (maybe once or twice a year now when I’m not in the mood to go intown) although I was quite a bit out of my 20’s so for me, the Bear might be more of a nostalgic play that I will continue to defend. As I’ve said, it’s not for the food, but the bar itself. They were the first bar with 40 taps when 4 was a lot. It hasn’t changed a bit in 20 years and that might turn off those who want something more trendy. Same décor. Same music. Same bumper stickers. Same “electric globe” that you have to touch on the way out. Same bartenders for goodness sake. Yeah, I like the place. As for the OP’s original question, I’d go with sultans choices for a burger. If you do hit the Great Lost Bear, I’d be curious what someone without “history” there thinks.

                -----
                The Great Lost Bear
                540 Forest Ave, Portland, ME 04101

                Old Port Cafe
                111 Main St, Winterport, ME 04496

                1. re: bobbert
                  b
                  bobbert Oct 9, 2011 12:38 PM

                  The shot and a beer might be a Dock Fore. When I'm doing the shot and a beer thing (very rarely FWIW) I sometimes forget where I've been.

                  -----
                  Dock Fore
                  336 Fore St, Portland, ME 04101

                2. re: sultanaboudreau
                  s
                  sultanaboudreau Oct 9, 2011 01:07 PM

                  just teasing!

                  1. re: sultanaboudreau
                    b
                    bobbert Oct 11, 2011 02:37 AM

                    Yeah, I know. Actually I'm fairly impressed that a woman in her early 20's would have picked The Great Lost Bear for her bar of choice. Instead of never returning, I think you should embrace your past. There were a whole lot of worse Portland places you could have spent your formative years, many of which I would understand never wanting to return to. Even though I had already been drinking beer for many years before, I have to say I really learned about beer at the Bear. I think you can still get a great beer education there. It’s because of The Great Lost Bear that I can truly appreciate a place like Nuvare Res, which I consider grad school for beer drinking. As this is supposed to be about food, the Bear was always a place for a decent burger or cheese steak or something else on the fun menu. It was, and still is, first about the beer with the food a distant second. The food is still the same – the only difference is that so many great food places have sprung up around Portland in the last 10 years or so that it may not look as good by comparison.

                    -----
                    The Great Lost Bear
                    540 Forest Ave, Portland, ME 04101

                    1. re: bobbert
                      s
                      sultanaboudreau Oct 14, 2011 07:54 AM

                      I literally worked next door in a place that shared a parking lot with the Bear--I had little choice in the matter!

              2. re: sultanaboudreau
                b
                bobbert Oct 26, 2011 03:53 AM

                Stopped in at the Grill Room last night and, because of this thread, decided to try the burger since your husband likes it so much. I have to say, the guy has good taste. This was one of the best burgers I've ever had (caveat - I'm still not a big burger guy), perfectly cooked med - rare - actually ordered med - they tell you that they go down a notch, med rare is cooked rare, med is cooked med rare - I was confused but bottom line is it's a great burger. No bargain at $20 but you do get what will appear to be an endless supply of good fries as well. By the way, my favorite seat when it's just two of us is at the kitchen bar - I'd much rather watch guys cook than bartenders mix drinks and if you're nice, the cooks often throw you tastes.

                -----
                Grill Room
                84 Exchange St, Portland, ME 04101

              3. g
                grittys457 Oct 9, 2011 09:31 AM

                I wouldn't eat at the Great Lost Bear with my dead great grandfather's mouth.

                Nosh makes some pretty mean burgers.

                Honestly the best burger I've had in Portland is the bar menu burger at Grace. It's kinda small but oh my god is it good. It's reminds me of a smaller version of the burger at 555 which is also really good.

                We're getting Elevation Burger out by Buffalo Wild Wings in South Portland. Not sure when that's opening but I guess it's like an organic version of Five Guys with fries cooked in olive oil.

                I also hear Wild Willy's by the mall is pretty good with good fries as well. I know Bruce who started King Henry VIII's runs Wild Willy's so I'm sure he's keeping it tight and in order.

                But yeah, go to the bar at Grace sometime and get that burger.

                12 Replies
                1. re: grittys457
                  e
                  eric10dk Oct 10, 2011 05:31 AM

                  Ok, I'll go to Grace first, Grill Room 2nd and then will go to Great Lost Bear to really find out what's going on there from a food perspective.

                  $12 for a good burger with a side of fries is an OK price to pay...you get what you pay for.

                  -----
                  The Great Lost Bear
                  540 Forest Ave, Portland, ME 04101

                  Grill Room
                  84 Exchange St, Portland, ME 04101

                  1. re: eric10dk
                    i
                    irwin Oct 10, 2011 07:10 AM

                    Eric
                    don't forget to give us a report..............

                    1. re: irwin
                      e
                      eric10dk Oct 10, 2011 08:05 AM

                      Will Do!

                  2. re: grittys457
                    MidCoastMaineiac Oct 10, 2011 08:14 AM

                    Granted I haven't been to the Great Lost Bear since a few years before I moved out of Portland (late 90's), but I can't believe it's fallen to the level of disrepute that is reflected in this thread.

                    Are you honestly telling me you'd prefer a Crapplebee's burger over saddling up to the bar (with 70 beers on tap) at the GLB?

                    Are the readers of the Portland Phoenix that naive that they actually named the GLB burger best in Portland for 2011?

                    I dunno, maybe I'm playing devil's advocate or maybe I'm incredulous of the criticism being thrown their way....

                    -----
                    The Great Lost Bear
                    540 Forest Ave, Portland, ME 04101

                    1. re: MidCoastMaineiac
                      MidCoastMaineiac Oct 10, 2011 08:18 AM

                      I'll also add that you have to give credit to any establisment willing to serve the following:

                      THE ALMIGHTY CHEESUS BURGER -- No bun, served between two grilled cheese sandwiches with pickles, lettuce & tomatoes.

                      1. re: MidCoastMaineiac
                        e
                        eric10dk Oct 10, 2011 08:22 AM

                        Not sure anyone's comparing Applebee's Burger to GLB's, but I get where you're at. Regardless, I will be doing a deep dive on most of the establishments listed here and I'll be reporting back!

                        1. re: eric10dk
                          MidCoastMaineiac Oct 10, 2011 08:33 AM

                          I think my response was more to the "I wouldn't eat at the Great Lost Bear with my dead great grandfather's mouth" comment. Though, maybe I shouldn't presume that grittys 457 would eat a Crapplebee's burger with that same mouth....

                          BTW, there's another thread in the NNE boards praising the burger at Dogfish Cafe.

                          -----
                          The Great Lost Bear
                          540 Forest Ave, Portland, ME 04101

                          1. re: MidCoastMaineiac
                            g
                            grittys457 Oct 10, 2011 07:03 PM

                            Nothing to do with the burger but the kitchen. I wouldn't eat at Rosie's either. I'm far from a food snob, quite the opposite. I just gotta have a clean and non creepy looking kitchen in view. Of the 150 places we have to eat in this city I probably only have 5-10 I'll eat at due to trusting them not to be nasty. I've worked in the food biz since I was a little kid and I'm just disgusted by what I see by side doors of restaurants. I don't need to see gnarly cook with a disgusting apron smoking a cancer stick and looking like he's out on bail. I must be alone in this feeling cause I see a lot of people packing places intown that obviously haven't had their kitchen cleaned since Clinton was in office.

                            1. re: grittys457
                              MidCoastMaineiac Oct 11, 2011 06:00 AM

                              I have to say, that's a pretty draconian rule. Needing to have the kitchen "in view" is preventing you from going to some of the best restaurants in the state (including what I personally think to be the best...Primo in Rockland). But hey, to each their own....

                              1. re: MidCoastMaineiac
                                g
                                grittys457 Oct 11, 2011 09:24 AM

                                I don't have to have the kitchen in view. You know when a place has decent folks working the kitchen and how much they care about their place. Places like Paciarino or even the lunch place Crooked Mile, you know they care about what they are doing and they all look presentable. Obviously Primo is going to be doing everything right up there.

                                I've just talked with so many delivery guys and even health inspectors over the years, it's just a bad scene out there. I know this is off topic but you guys really don't get bothered walking up to a restaurant and seeing a couple filthy cooks chain smoking by the dumpster? You can tell when a cook wants to work at a place instead of just has to work.

                                And back on topic, I eat at almost no chain restaurants but for what it's worth, Five Guys is probably one of the better options in town for a burger.

                                I also remember reading a blog or some food article on how good Blue Spoon's burgers are on munjoy hill. I've been there for breakfast but never for dinner. Anybody had the burger there?

                                http://aht.seriouseats.com/archives/2...

                                -----
                                Crooked Mile
                                8 Milk St, Portland, ME 04101

                                Blue Spoon
                                89 Congress St, Portland, ME 04101

                                Paciarino
                                468 Fore St, Portland, ME 04101

                                1. re: grittys457
                                  MidCoastMaineiac Oct 11, 2011 10:29 AM

                                  My wife is a virologist so, believe me, I'm very aware of what kind of nasty things lurk out there. One of my biggest food pet peeves is when the person making your sandwich is also working the cash register. But, on the other hand, sometimes you just have to let certain things go, otherwise we'd all live in a bubble. A very boring bubble. Besides, you're just as likely to get exposed to something nasty opening the door into the place (unless of course you're wearing your handy rubber glove / face mask combo pack).

                                  Think of all the nasty things you exposed yourself to as a kid. We put classroom legos in our mouth for god's sake. We crawled around on bathroom floors. We all survived. In fact, some people call that "building your immunity".

                                  I can guarantee you that there are more than 5-10 places in Portland that you can trust to be "not nasty".

                      2. re: grittys457
                        b
                        bobbert Oct 11, 2011 03:38 AM

                        I’m having a little trouble trying not to retaliate for the hate directed at The Great Lost Bear but here goes anyway… I wouldn’t eat at Wild Willy’s with my… well actually I have had a few burgers there and they are quite good. I usually get the bison burger. If I was really trying to knock the place, first would be the fact that it’s by the mall, which is always a negative no matter how good the food turns out to be (that’s me being a mall hater). Second, it’s maybe a bit too child friendly (not a problem if you happen to have a child with you) with Muppet-like robotic characters playing music and singing while you eat – my burgers are almost always to go though the fries, which are also good, don't hold up too well in a bag - they get soggy. As for Grace, haven’t had the burger but I always recommend the bar if only because the place is just so impressive. I know, pretty poor job at retaliating - just not my nature :)

                        -----
                        The Great Lost Bear
                        540 Forest Ave, Portland, ME 04101

                      3. m
                        monopod Oct 10, 2011 07:56 AM

                        I'm not a local anymore, but in my recent visits I was pretty blown away by the Noshburger. They grind bacon into the patty and serve it with blue cheese, a fried egg and a carmelized onion spread. It's juicy and delicious (especially with the bacon-dusted fries). I've heard talk of their Apocalypse burger as well, which comes topped with foie gras and pork belly, but that seems kind of like overkill.

                        1. j
                          jackattack Oct 10, 2011 12:06 PM

                          I'm not exactly sure what would qualify a person to comment on the cheeseburger served at a place where they would never eat?

                          And I don't know why a decent cheeseburga would need bacon, bleu cheese and a fried egg added to it. I think that's getting into something entirely different than "best cheeseburger"...it's more of a sandwich creation.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: jackattack
                            m
                            monopod Oct 10, 2011 03:26 PM

                            Can't speak for others, but if I'm looking for "the best cheeseburger" I want to know where I can walk in, order a sandwich on a bun that includes one (or more) burger patties and cheese, and think "Holy s**t this is the greatest thing I've ever tasted" for a few minutes. Doesn't matter if it has or doesn't have bacon, blue cheese, fried egg, foie gras, unicorn meat, etc... I just want it to taste amazingly excellent, so much so that I talk about it for a week afterwards. The Noshburger had that effect on me.

                            If you're a purist and think a cheeseburger can only contain coarse-ground beef and can only have once slice of american cheese on a non-brioche bun, that's great - I certainly respect that view. But I don't think that's what most people think when they think of the "best cheeseburger" they've ever had; it's all about the total experience.

                            1. re: monopod
                              b
                              bobbert Oct 11, 2011 02:58 AM

                              It’s funny but I’ve ordered the Nosh burger because it wasn’t just another burger. The onion and pork and fried egg is what got my attention to begin with and I did thoroughly enjoy. It is not a big burger but it is sloppy and very tasty. I also tried the Apocalypse Now burger, which wasn’t too apocalyptic size wise (I’d advise adding a patty for $2.50 which would bring the total to around $22.50 – a price almost as heart stopping as the richness of the burger itself). Maybe another thread on - At what point do you put so much other stuff on a burger does it stop being a burger?

                              1. re: bobbert
                                n
                                Noreaster Oct 14, 2011 07:19 AM

                                IMHO, a burger stops being a "hamburger" when ingredients other than beef are added to the meat. Top it with whatever you wish but once you add pork, one can no longer order it medium rare, it becomes meatloaf, a sandwich "creation" or anything but a burger. The Nosh "burger" is ok but misnamed. Frankly I found it a bit dry, didn't care for the texture and it was too thin a patty.

                                1. re: Noreaster
                                  MidCoastMaineiac Oct 14, 2011 07:37 AM

                                  Pork is ok medium rare to medium, especially the high quality stuff. Basically, you can treat it the same as you do beef.

                                  1. re: MidCoastMaineiac
                                    n
                                    Noreaster Oct 14, 2011 07:56 AM

                                    Nosh doesn't agree as they dictated to me that "because there is ground pork in their burger, they do not take temps and cook it til done"....I agree with your comment when dealing with whole cuts but not ground. I am dubious of ground meat unless I know it is local and all the ground meat is coming from the same animal.

                                    1. re: Noreaster
                                      MidCoastMaineiac Oct 14, 2011 08:46 AM

                                      I'm not disagreeing with you necessarily, I'm just saying that the same rule applies to pork as it does to beef. Whatever litmus test you apply to beef should also apply to pork.

                                      I'm surprised Nosh takes that approach...he should be sourcing the same quality pork as he does beef...so treat it like you would any other burger when it comes to "degree of doneness".

                          2. n
                            nyawira Oct 28, 2011 06:33 PM

                            On your suggestion, my husband and I went to District in our burger quest. The burger was very good! It was thick, on a tasty bun, with a yummy sauce. But, the flavor of the meat just wasn't even close to the delicious burger I had at the dogfish cafe, which to me is still at the top of my list. I have eaten a burger at Sillys, District! Dogfish cafe, Great Lost Bear. Next up, the grill room and Nosh....but I have to lose a few pounds before I carry on with my search!

                            -----
                            The Great Lost Bear
                            540 Forest Ave, Portland, ME 04101

                            1. b
                              bobbert Jan 10, 2012 10:01 AM

                              Haven't heard from Eric for awhile so I thoght i'd revive this thread. Before I go into my burger eating these past couple of months, I wanted to give a shout out to chubbywerewolf's blog and reviews - where we overlapped, i'm right with you so I now trust your judgement - fun reading too.
                              Because of this thread, I've been paying attention to the burgers I've been eating. Here's a bit of a summary:
                              Grill Room: had a fantastic burger the first time followed by a not-so-fantastic overdone burger the next time. 2nd time we were seated near the pick-up area and you could tell there was something wrong by the discussion taking place that there might have been an over-done burger. To be fair, they have you cut into it to check (the waitress actualy orders you to do this) but dark room, old eyes, and theatre tickets in hand would not allow time for a re-do. Three other burgers at the table - per my suggestion were all very good. Endless supply of good fries.
                              White Cap Grill: Solid B. OK all around. No wow factor.
                              Caiola's: Smaller that the others. Cooked perfect med rare - once you pick up a half, you're committed to eating it all as it's impossible to put down without it falling apart. Great flavors and the best home made tater tots. Left me wanting more of both.
                              Five Guys: OK, it's a chain but they put out an excellent product (all well done but juicy) at a very good price. Great fries - double fried - a lot of food, too much food, for the money.
                              Great Lost Bear: Hadn't had a burger there for awhile and after reading some of the comments here, I was expecting the worse. 1st thing I noticed was "new" menus. Basically the same menu on newer paper. 2nd thing I noticed was that our server asked how I wanted my burger cooked. This was a change as I think everything used to be served med-well. So far, so good. The burger came out perfectly cooked med-rare and was actually a very nice surprise. Wasn't perfect - bun was, well, just a bun. A little too big for the patty - too much bread to meat ratio. Fries, usually a highlight, were soggy and not enough of them (I know "the food is terrible and such small portions"...) I think they changed something here - as I never paid too much attention before, I will rely on others for their opinions. Oh yeah, an Allegash Black and a Red something - the beer is why I come here but the burger was not bad either.

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: bobbert
                                j
                                jackattack Jan 10, 2012 02:21 PM

                                Thanks, but what the heck happened since Oct 26 when you were "not a big burger guy"?

                                1. re: jackattack
                                  b
                                  bobbert Jan 10, 2012 03:03 PM

                                  This thread happened.

                                  Seriously, it got me thinking about burgers as something more than just an accompaniment for my beer. A burger for me was always something to eat and not necessarily something I ever considered chow worthy. I have a new appreciation for burgers now that I've been paying attention to what I'm eating when I just "grab a burger". Thanks to you guys:-)

                                  1. re: bobbert
                                    e
                                    eric10dk Jan 11, 2012 10:12 AM

                                    Ok, Ok. I went radio silent for a while...basically due to Burger over load my first 2 months in the city.

                                    So...today I went to Harmon's Lunch. An interesting place. Overall, SOLID place with excellent burgers. The place reminded me of a cabin in the middle of the woods. It was very quiet in both the very small preparation/kitchen area and eating area. It's just so Maine, that's all. I like that. $7.75 for 2 cheeseburgers with the works and amazing hand cut fries. This is the place to get quick service with flawless burgers. Don't expect thick or made to cook burgers here...and I like that!

                                    So to recap my Portland burger'ing.

                                    Restaurant: Blue Spoon

                                    Quick and Easy: Harmon's Lunch.

                                    So what's next for me?

                                    1. re: eric10dk
                                      j
                                      jackattack Jan 12, 2012 06:48 PM

                                      David's, in Monument Square, is a great spot that I've found to be consistently solid for many years. The place has never gotten a lot of love around here, but we have always had terrific food and service there. They do a great burger at lunchtime.

                                      http://www.davidsrestaurant.com/lunch...

                                      1. re: jackattack
                                        b
                                        bobbert Jan 12, 2012 07:07 PM

                                        And I believe Chef/owner David Turin was just named Maine chef of the year. Though I'm not sure where I heard that or what organization bestows the honor.

                                        1. re: bobbert
                                          MidCoastMaineiac Jan 15, 2012 11:28 AM

                                          You're right, not alot of press on these boards...but I always thought it was consistently good. David's is one of those places that has stood the test of time (no small feat in the Portland market)....I remember when the were located in the current Sebago Brewing space in the Old Port.

                                          Another place that just keeps putting out consistently good food IMHO is Madd Apple Cafe on Forest...that used to be one of my go to spots when I lived in Portland in the late 90's / early 00's. Went there for Saturday brunch a few months ago and it was fantastic.

                                          Getting a little off topic now aren't we?

                                          1. re: MidCoastMaineiac
                                            b
                                            bobbert Jan 15, 2012 12:30 PM

                                            Not if Madd Apple serves burgers... Will have to check it out again - it's been a long time.
                                            That spot where David's originally was is now the Whitecap Grill - Sebago moved into a new spot on the other side of Franklin St in the new hotel - the name elludes me.

                                            1. re: bobbert
                                              c
                                              chubbywerewolf Jan 15, 2012 06:01 PM

                                              I haven't seen burgers on Madd Apple's menu, but I agree that the food there is exceptionally and consistently good. If any of you guys are on Facebook, it is worth subscribing to their Fan Page. They post daily specials pretty regularly, and I've placed to-go orders on more than one occasion based on what I saw they were serving that day. Most recently, I got an excellent polish sausage with hand-cut french fries and a small salad. The sausage was delicious, and large enough to easily feed two people.

                                              I also agree with the assessment on David's... solid food all around. A true, if underrated, gem here in Portland.

                              2. e
                                eric10dk Oct 19, 2011 10:17 AM

                                I just had the Cheddar Cheese Burger at Blue Spoon. I went here first due to it's proximity to my new place. Anyways.

                                Great burger. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it...better than most I could find in Boston. This is more of a gourmet burger, the antithesis of 5 Guys. Nice, medium sized, compact burger that's pretty manageable to eat. A great char on the outside and quite juicy in the middle. Perfectly cooked to the temperature I requested. Very fresh tomato on top as well as mixed greens and a very nice slab of cheddar cheese (you have the option of goat, feta or cheddar). I hate burgers that bog me down after eating, this doesn't do that. My only complaint, and it is slight, would be the brioche bun...not as fresh as I would have liked. Still decent with a nice butter caramalization.

                                On the side was some nice pan fried (baked first) potatoes. They're cut up in medium sized cubes, well seasoned...overall a nice deviation from fries/salad.

                                I will go back, absolutely.

                                -----
                                Blue Spoon
                                89 Congress St, Portland, ME 04101

                                8 Replies
                                1. re: eric10dk
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                                  eric10dk Oct 28, 2011 10:37 AM

                                  Just got done lunch at The Front Room and had their burger. Overall, Blue Spoon's is much better, but Front Room's burger is good.

                                  The good: Very juicy burger, cooked perfectly, great cheddar cheese on top along with very delicious sliced pickles and fresh greens. Tasty.

                                  The bad: The bread. It's served on focaccia , It was just weird eating it on focaccia. The bread was uneven. It did have a nice caramalization on it though. The Price. All said and done $17. No Side: They don't give you a side. No fries (no fries at all on the menu), no salad. You can order home fries/salad/potato salad on the side for an additional cost. The Burger was HUGE. Some people would love this but it makes it tough to eat. I had to take the top piece of focaccia off and even then had to use a fork and knife to eat it. I left 1/4 of the burger on the plate it was that big! For me, I just want to grab the thing and chow. You couldn't do that here.

                                  I wonder if the burger I had today is similar to the Grill Room's? Again, not bad but not blow my mind amazing. Blue Spoon has the definite edge for me so far. Need to hit up Great Lost Bear and perhaps Rosie's next.

                                  -----
                                  The Great Lost Bear
                                  540 Forest Ave, Portland, ME 04101

                                  Grill Room
                                  84 Exchange St, Portland, ME 04101

                                  Blue Spoon
                                  89 Congress St, Portland, ME 04101

                                  Front Room Restaurant & Bar
                                  73 Congress St Ste A, Portland, ME 04101

                                  1. re: eric10dk
                                    h
                                    HaroldandMaude Nov 12, 2011 12:20 PM

                                    So Eric, what are you waiting for?

                                    1. re: HaroldandMaude
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                                      eric10dk Nov 14, 2011 06:01 AM

                                      Haha! I need to step it up.

                                      Saturday night before the Portland Pirates game I went to Dogfish Cafe. A very good burger. I believe the meat comes from the same farm that Blue Spoon uses for their bruger meat. Could be wrong.

                                      Overall though, Blue Spoons is a notch above Dogfish Cafe but IMO Dogfish isn't too too far behind.

                                      My grips with Dogfish's burger was it came out a bit rarers than I ordered and I had minor isses with a lack of cheese and the bun. Also, would have loved to had a better assortment of side dishes with the Burger. Overall very good and I will go back. Decent size.

                                      But, as of today, the Blue Spoon's Burger is the best I've had. Their technique and the way they cook the meat is top notch. Need to take 2 weeks off and then hit Rosie's, Harmon's and Great Lost Bear.

                                      Anyone else?

                                      -----
                                      The Great Lost Bear
                                      540 Forest Ave, Portland, ME 04101

                                      Blue Spoon
                                      89 Congress St, Portland, ME 04101

                                      1. re: eric10dk
                                        MidCoastMaineiac Nov 14, 2011 07:59 AM

                                        Blue Spoon sources their beef from A Wee Bit Farm in Orland...Dogfish get's theirs from Caldwell Farms in Turner. Both are top quality.

                                        -----
                                        Blue Spoon
                                        89 Congress St, Portland, ME 04101

                                        1. re: MidCoastMaineiac
                                          Mike CP Nov 14, 2011 08:09 AM

                                          Could anybody clarify which Dogfish is being discussed here? The 'other' post on Chowhound is about The Dogfish Cafe on the corner of Congress and St. John. Just want to make sure we are all talking about the same location...

                                          1. re: Mike CP
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                                            chubbywerewolf Nov 14, 2011 10:10 AM

                                            Because Eric mentions that he went to the Pirates game, it makes me question whether he was at the Dogfish Cafe (over on St. John) or the Dogfish Grille, which is just a few yards away from the arena.

                                            Both establishments have the same ownership, and share some of the same menu items. And I would assume that they probably source their ingredients from the same place.

                                            That said, the burgers at the Cafe are slightly different from the Grille. I did a review of the burger at the Dogfish Cafe awhile back on my blog. I'm not permitted to give out the URL, but you can find it pretty easily by Googling my username. Long story short, I thought the burger had a lot of potential, but the meat itself was completely overwhelmed by the huge heap of toppings on it.

                                            I've had better burgers in this town, but I've also had far worse.

                                            Eric, be sure to add the Local 188 burger (available only during weekend brunch) to your list. Its a must-try, in my opinion!

                                            -----
                                            Local 188
                                            685 Congress St, Portland, ME 04102

                                            1. re: chubbywerewolf
                                              l
                                              LeRique Nov 14, 2011 11:44 AM

                                              A recent burger @ 555 was juicy and nicely flavored at brunch, excellent service as well!

                                        2. re: eric10dk
                                          n
                                          nyawira Nov 14, 2011 12:11 PM

                                          Thanks, eric10dk. When I first moved here back in June, I had a solitary meal at Blue Spoon and ordered what turned out to be the best steak I"ve had in a very long while!!! I will definitely return to try their burger!

                                          -----
                                          Blue Spoon
                                          89 Congress St, Portland, ME 04101

                                  2. s
                                    soxlover Oct 20, 2011 10:51 AM

                                    My family and I ate at Dry Dock Sunday. Had awesome burgers! Cooked to order (medium rare for me), with sauteed onions, full of flavor.

                                    1. d
                                      Dave B Jan 14, 2012 10:12 AM

                                      This may be near blasphemy to recommend a chain restaurant, but I have had two outstanding burgers at Longhorn Steakhouse recently. This was in New Hampshire, but if there is consistency in this chain with the meat they use and how they grind it in the restaurants in this region, and I will anticipate there is - I do recommend you try their burger and see what you think.

                                      It's about $10, and was cooked perfectly medium-rare per my request. Completely pink and juicy on the inside with sumptuous mouth feel and very rich beef taste. I was so enthralled by their burger on my first recent occasion that I went back a couple of weeks later for another.

                                      It looks like they have 5 Maine locations, including SoPo on Maine Mall Rd. I'd love to hear the impressions of other burger lovers. Maybe I'm crazy, but I'm in lust with Longhorn's burger.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Dave B
                                        d
                                        Dave B Mar 7, 2012 12:24 PM

                                        It seems like some posts disappeared from this thread? There were a couple of posts where Chubby Werewolf and I commented further on, and compared our experiences with the Longhorn Steakhouse burgers.

                                        So, an update for Chubby WW; I went back to the Nashua location for another burger. Ordered medium rare, and this time with some decent photos showing how it was cooked inside. I skipped the cheese this time. (You know... "dieting.") Scrumptious, pink, juicy, extremely flavorful beef was the result - just like the others I've had at this location.

                                        I did query the waitress about another Longhorn location not being willing to cook to rare or even medium rare and she said it is the chef's discretion. I cautioned her that the chef had best use PINK discretion for my burger, as it was the only reason I came there.

                                         
                                         
                                        1. re: Dave B
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                                          chubbywerewolf Apr 18, 2012 01:33 PM

                                          @Dave B, that's a great looking burger. I'm truly envious. I'll be in NH a couple of times in the next month or so... might have to check it out for myself.

                                      2. f
                                        foodquest Jan 18, 2012 06:04 AM

                                        With all the recent activity on this thread, I'm surprised no one has given Elevation Burger a try! I will admit to have been passing by, getting curious and giving it a try. It was really, really tasty! Same style as 5 Guys, for those who may not know, but 100% Organic, grass fed beef and all ground on site. Can't say which I prefer yet, although I like the quality/handling of beef aspect. I also like the potato buns they used, maybe made it sit less heavy in my belly? I don't know, but I look forward to hearing what others think.

                                        Also, someone recently mentioned liking the lunch burger at David's. I haven't had that, but the burger at David's 388 in SoPo can be quite awesome and very satisfying.

                                        1. FromAway Jan 18, 2012 03:05 PM

                                          Don's Lunch. Westbrook. Git.

                                          1. m
                                            mainehound May 7, 2012 07:52 PM

                                            Blue Spoon, for sure. My fave.

                                            Ruby Tuesday's for a chain resto, though I eat in a chain about once a year, if that.

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                                              bobbert May 8, 2012 06:21 AM

                                              I was pretty unimpressed with the burger at the Dogfish (St. John St.). It had potential but failed in execution. Ordered medium, got med well and then the bun or more specifically the slicing of the bun. The bottom was about 1/4 inch thick while the top was about 2 inches. Resulted in the bottom getting completely soaked and me basically having my fingers holding the burger on the bottom as the roll had disintegrated. What a mess. Fix those two issues and I think we have some potential.
                                              I really enjoyed the burger at the East Ender. Mix of beef cheeks and Chuck, perfectly cooked. Nice cheese. Maybe a bit on the smaller side but comes with good fries.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: bobbert
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                                                irwin May 13, 2012 06:22 PM

                                                next time if this appears the same way, tip the Dogfish burger upside down, and your problems are solved. Or, complain about the roll, because I have only had wonderful experiences at this restaurant.

                                                1. re: irwin
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                                                  bobbert May 14, 2012 08:17 AM

                                                  Dogfish is in my regular rotation so I do like the restaurant (good food and value) and because of this thread was very much looking forward to the burger. I'm not big on sending things back - that's just me. I was also careful to point out that, to me, it appeared to be an execution problem and not necessarily the burger itself - although one can certainly argue that if you screw up cooking or putting together what otherwise would have been a great burger, you are left with a crappy burger. I really think that if it were cooked as ordered and the bun sliced well, I end up with an excellent burger. I really liked the toppings and there was some good flavor in there but at least on this try, they failed. I'll probably give the burger another shot.

                                                  First burger I had at The Grill Room was one of the best I've ever had. 2nd was meh (way overcooked). With that experience, does one recommend it as a great burger or as something less?

                                                  1. re: bobbert
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                                                    nyawira May 14, 2012 10:16 AM

                                                    I went back for a second time to get a burger at Dogfish, and I have to say, that while it was still fantastic, I now feel like the best burger I've had is the one I ate at Petit Jacqueline. Irregardless of which burger is the best, the fact of the matter is that Portland Maine has some of the best burgers I've ever had.

                                              2. s
                                                seingold May 17, 2012 09:20 AM

                                                I'm surprised that Grace was only mentioned once on this thread. The place is known for great atmosphere/drinks with average/overpriced food, but the burger on the bar menu is fantastic, and it's only $6! It's probably half the size as some of these burgers (especially the Front or Grill Room's), but you can order two for the same price. They vacuum seal the beef to allow it to soak in its juices. I forget what toppings come on it, but it's honestly my favorite burger in Portland by far.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: seingold
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                                                  eric10dk Jan 10, 2014 05:04 AM

                                                  I think it may be a good time to revive the thread given some new food choices in Portland.

                                                  I tried Grace's burger last night at the bar. I ordered two as they are more of a slider than a burger. Very juicy burger with some insanely good cheese on top. The burger was more of a ball, than a flat patty and that led to its juiciness. The negatives are the bread, well, the amount of butter they put on the toasted brioche bun. It really killed the taste at times. The toppings weren't anything of note, they were there. A very good bar bite burger but I wouldn't go out of my way for it again.

                                                  I tried Mainely Burgers this past summer and that was absolutely top notch. Ready for their food truck fleet to hit the road next summer.

                                                  Has anyone tried Outliers burger? Almost went there last night instead of Grace.

                                                  1. re: eric10dk
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                                                    sultanaboudreau Jan 10, 2014 10:32 AM

                                                    I haven't tried the burger at Outliers yet but it looks really good--I usually end up there for Sunday brunch and really like their steak and eggs.

                                                    Lately, I've liked the burger at Infiniti--their food is much, much improved from when they first opened.

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