I did a short critique of Little Big Burger in an article last year, Food Day in Portland. Although it was got at what I wanted to say, I felt as if a short article did not do it justice. So I traveled back to Little Big Burger multiple times to eat more and hopefully do a more comprehensive critique, because this little burger joint really does merit a full critique.
This little joint, tucked right near Powells, is my ideal escape from the land of study and dullness. It has more life and energy than a zebra on cocaine. Seriously, those cooks churn out so many orders in such a short amount of time! It’s fantastic too, because this place is tiny. Good luck finding seating; the place is perpetually packed. The customers flow in and out fairly quickly, and they’re always on the look out for a table. There will not be an empty seat for more than about ten seconds before some hungry diner swoops in and claims it. Little Big Burger is certainly a restaurant with a good tempo. I like that about it; a burger joint should have a pace to it. Everything about it oozes with energy and fun.
All of the food is quite high quality for a burger joint. When you order, you get a choice of goat cheese, cheddar, swiss, or bleu, and you can even add bacon (the bacon and bleu burger is always my go to). Even the beef is high quality, and it’s cooked to a perfect medium. The brioche buns are a plus too, functioning as a nice pillow for the sublime patties. They do veggie burgers too, which makes this a great place to drag your vegetarian friends to. Apparently the veggie burgers are quite good, according to my picky vegetarian friends. No, I didn’t eat a veggie burger, and no, I don’t ever intend to. But for those of you who are into that sort of thing, they have good veggie burgers. Keep in mind, its called Little Big Burger for a reason: the burgers are not a full sized burger. They’re not white castle sized either though. Its the perfect size to eat for a decent lunch with fries. Speaking of fries, I guess I should talk about how good they are. Double fried to get the perfect amount of crispiness, these fries are a perfect accompaniment for the burger, and they even use white truffle oil! While the truffle flavor is not overpowering, the salt tends to punch you in the face. This coming from a man who loves salt is a big deal. But its okay if they’re too salty, because Little Big Burger provides you with fry sauce! Ever since I first tasted fry sauce at a Sonic Burger in Utah at the age of nine, I’ve never stopped craving it. For those of you who don’t know what fry sauce is, it’s a combination of ketchup and mayonnaise on a 1:2 ratio, sometimes with added spices. Unfortunately, few people in the Pacific Northwest seems to know what fry sauce is. But fortunately for me, Little Big Burger is one of them. They do their fry sauce perfectly, just the way I remember it. If you’re not into fry sauce, they have Camden’s Catsup, a special mix that is a little less sweet, more salty, and with a slight spicy kick.
For a burger, fries, and a drink, you won’t spend more than $9. And trust me, it’s plenty of food. I still am tempted to come here and get my fix every time I’m downtown because its such a good deal for the quality of food they’re making. In my mind, a meal at Little Big Burger is $9 well spent.
If you’re in Portland and wanting a great burger, skip the food carts and go to Little Big Burger. Your stomach will thank you.