What’s to Love: Portland has some great burgers, and we’ve sampled many of them. Is “Little Big Burger” Portland’s best? I don’t know, but it’s currently my favorite spot to indulge in a burger and fries. My kids love it too, and even though very cramped, it’s a kid-friendly spot (two locations).
Actually,I think I like the fries better than the burgers. They are spritzed with a bit of truffle oil and finished with some sea salt. They are light, crispy, and can be dunked in house-made “catsup” so good you could practically drink it. “Camden’s Catsup” is spiked with Siracha, which gives it a nice little kick in the aftertaste. I can’t believe how good the fries are…seriously, I could go on and on.
Although the Burgers look small-ish, they are made with 1/4 pound of Cascade Natural Beef (Oregon raised), local Brioche buns, organic veggies, local cheeses, and of course Camden’s Catsup. They also have house-made mustard, and fry sauce (love that stuff too!), if you so desire. It’s a gourmet burger for under $4.00!
Whenever I eat at Little Big Burger, I can’t believe I’m getting such a high-quality burger for such a nominal price. It’s one of the few places you can take the whole family and not break the bank. The fries are $2.75 and drinks are $1.75 – it’s all reasonably priced. Plus, they do a good job of getting your food to you quickly and always in a paper bag. Everything is compost-ready, which is a nice touch.
Caveats: Wish they would grill or warm the buns. Although the buns are tasty, it always disappoints me a bit biting into a cold bun. If you’re visiting during lunch or dinner, you may not get a seat, which is very inconvenient for a family with little kids. Parking at either location is a challenge due to the popular locations (Pearl District & Mississippi Ave.).
Website: Little Big Burger
Recommended Ages: They do not have a “kid-area.” This is not a good spot for kids who just want to run around and/or play. It’s too crowded most of the time.
Parental Stress Factor: Moderately stressful if you’re there at a busy time. I recommend Little Big Burger because it’s just such a good value for a family and your kids will also like the food!
Physical Difficulty: Handicap accessible. However, I’ve watched people using wheel chairs inside the business, and it’s definitely a challenge for them maneuvering in, out, and around the inside.
Family Fun Factor: I grew up in a small town in Michigan. We didn’t have a McDonald’s in our town until I was in middle school. As a young child, I vividly remember traveling an hour+ to “the big town” of Grand Rapids or Muskegon to do some back-to-school-shopping with my parents and siblings. When my dad would pull into McDonald’s we’d all be freaking out with excitement. It seemed like such an incredible place to eat, and we could hardly contain our enthusiasm. Although we don’t eat at McDonald’s, I still want my kids to have that burger joint experience that I used to love as a kid.
While I haven’t observed the same kid-freak-out coming into Little Big Burger, I have observed many families enjoying a modern-take on the classic, old-school burger joint! This place is so much better than any commercial fast food restaurant.
Insider Info: All burgers are cooked medium, which surprisingly does little to change the juiciness of the meat. Still, I always ask for medium-rare and adding bacon never hurts either! You’ll need to ask for mustard. They used to have it out on the tables, but now, they keep it behind the counter.
Family Tips: Be prepared to NOT have a seat for your family. There is no organized way people get tables. Twice, I’ve had people take a table who ordered after me. I guess I could have said something, but I don’t even think they realized it due to the fact the place is so busy. If this happens to you, it’s a good idea to have a back-up plan (i.e., somewhere to go to eat like a local park).
Best to leave your stroller in the car. Both locations optimize a relatively-small space. Although people are friendly, it certainly won’t endear you to fellow customers wielding a Bob Stoller pimped-out with all the accessories.
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