Cheeseburger at Little Big Burger – Portland, Oregon
Burger Photo Gallery (click pictures to enlarge)
Find this Burger
Address: Little Big Burger @littlebigburger
3747 N Mississippi Ave
Portland, OR 97227
On the Web: http://www.littlebigburger.com
Little Big Burgers is a newer Portland only burger institution with 6 locations spread across the City of Roses. The first location opened on September 17, 2010 and they seem to be adding new locations each year. I was in Portland for the International Food Blogging Conference (IFBC), and Catherine from Munchies Musings and I snuck out of session for a quick foodie excursion to pick up some finishing salt at The Meadow.
Catherine’s goal for the trip was to pick up a salt block, my goal for the excursion was to find a decent burger place to review. I already had my eye on a few of Portland’s food carts, but when we walked up to The Meadow, Catherine pointed out the red and white Little Big Burger sign next door.
Tucked in a neighborhood of eclectic shops inhabited by a Planter’s-esque Mix of local hipsters and fellow swivel neck tourists was an extra slick, uber branded, yet unassuming burger joint with a 5 item menu.
After we finished salt shopping, I almost walked past Little Big Burger in favor of hunting down some burger food carts, but something called me back. Maybe it was that minimalist 5 item menu posted on the window that reminded me of In N Out back home: cheeseburger, veggie burger, (truffle) fries, soda, floats.
The wall inside was a welcome sight for a burger lover. Proudly showcasing their natural beef and organic vegetables used and a
warning declaration that all burgers would be cooked medium unless otherwise requested. For a second, I was thinking that a place with the name “little burger” wouldn’t be able to cook burgers to a proper temperature, but that sign gave me hope that I could get mine medium rare if I requested.
At the register, I was greeted with a secondary menu with the various cheese options and two available upgrades.
The super polite voice behind the knitted cap and nerd glasses took my order for a little big cheeseburger topped with goat cheese and bacon, cooked medium rare with a side of truffle fries. As I waited for the two guys behind the grill to cook my order, I quickly Googled for reviews and felt validated in my decision to turn around and give this joint a try.
With a name like Little Big Burger, I honestly wasn’t sure what to exact patty size to expect. I had assumed that they’d be serving “little” sliders, but what came out was sort a beautiful hybrid of slider and full sized burger. They took a quarter pound of Cascade Natural beef and formed it into a patty of slider sized circumference with “regular burger” sized thickness. The result was an amazingly juicy hamburger patty that was cooked to a perfect medium rare with just the right amount of flattop-grill char on the top and bottom.
The burger sat atop a small bed of shredded organic lettuce, pickles and a nice dose of their Camden Catsup. The slightly tangy, rich creaminess of the goat cheese nestled next to crisp slices of bacon made a perfect topper for this terrific tiny sandwich. The locally made brioche buns were not only cute, but they held everything together nicely and were just the right size to make for a near perfect burger to bun ratio.
Little Big Burger is like one of those awesome video games that is simple enough for the first time gamer (foodie) to jump in right away and start playing (eating) but with enough advanced options to keep the experts entertained and coming back for more. Like
Hannah Montana Van Halen, they are the best of both worlds: they’ve got the slick branding and concept of a much bigger chain, but the attention to detail and high caliber of ingredients and attention to detail that any epicurean would envy.
Just how good was Little Big Burger? Before I even finished my cheeseburger I had to stop, get up, and order another one to take “to go”, so I’d have something to satisfy my craving when I got back to the food blogging conference. Even though they call it “Little”, a quarter pound of beef is a respectable sized burger. I just had to have another one for later..it was *that* good.
Next time you’re in Portland, get thee to a LBB and customize your own little burger. At a $3.75 price point for the standard cheeseburger, it has to be one of the best burger values in the city. If you’re a fellow food blogger or interested in getting started, you should check out the International Food Bloggers Conferences. The next one is in Seattle, Washington September 20-22, 2013.
- Burger Juiciness (because a dry burger is just wrong) 9
- Bun Goodness (a quality meat holder is essential) 8
- Burger Flavor (is the meat itself extra tastilicious) 7
- Burger Value (you can pay too much for a .99 cent burger and an amazing burger can seem like a steal at $20…and vice versa) 10
- B Factor (this is that super subjective thing that makes each review unique. That gene se qua, that something special about the experience. Could be the special sauce, could be the atmosphere of the joint, could be the ridiculous shakes that you paired the burger with, or it could be some french fries that make you wanna cry) 9
Total Score: 43pts