After having an underwhelming Island Burger at Ate-Oh-Ate, I still hadn't satisfied my craving for a really great burger. I've been to Hollywood Burger Bar on several occasions and while they may have not the number one best burger in Portland, they make a pretty damn good burger. The last time I had attempted to go to the Hollywood Burger Bar it was closed (although it was on a day which the sign said it was open). With no sign in the window to explain the odd closure, it took me a while to warm up to paying it another visit.
This old fashioned Burger Bar has a counter which seats about 10 people and tables for about 5 or 6 more. Orders are taken right at the counter and here's what I ordered:
Original Burger – 1/3 pound ground beef patty on a sesame seed bun with 1000 Island, mayo, lettuce, tomato, pickle & onion for $5.75. I added cheese for $0.50 and had an iced tea for $1.50. My order total was $7.75.
The burger took a good 10-15 minutes to come up, and the wait felt longer than it was given that the space between the chair and the counter was designed for much shorter people. My iced tea came up pretty quick and it was amazingly strong, so strong it needed a TON of sugar to make it palatable.
I liked the way my burger came up, presented on a platter with the fries – it felt like a Burger 101 diagram. I piled all the fixings on and took my first bite. WOW! There is a reason why this burger is presented like a Burger 101 diagram: it is a perfect example of how a classic hamburger works, with the mayo on the bottom and the thousand island on the top with the burger and toppings encased in creamy goodness. The crispness of the lettuce and richness of the tomato balance perfectly with the sharpness of the onion and the savory sour pickle. The sesame seed bun is cooked to absolute crispy perfection and encases it all in a sweet and crunchy pocket. And then there's the burger, cooked medium-well, a perfect union between the crispy char on the outside and the juicy meat on the inside. Every element of this burger comes together perfectly.
If Hollywood Burger Bar's burger is a rockstar then the fries are contestants on American Idol. While they tasted like fries, they weren't hot enough to really shine. But, honestly, the burger was so good I could have skipped the fries.
The title of "best burger in Portland" is something that can be debated ad infinitum, so it's enough to simply say that Hollywood Burger Bar's Original Burger is one superb, classic hamburger.
Hollywood Burger Bar is located at 4211 NE Sandy Blvd. and is open Monday thru Thursday 7:30AM – 4PM, Friday 7AM – 9PM, Saturday 8AM – 9PM and Sunday 8AM – 4PM.