We found ourselves downtown this weekend, starving and ready to cross off another item from our restaurants to try wish list (what, doesn’t everyone have one of those?) So we headed to Next Level Burger on Hawthorne.
It feels a bit like a chain fast food establishment, but there are currently only two locations – one in Bend, OR and the one we visited in Portland. I’d already spent some time drooling over the online menu, which is all plant-based, and was pleased to see that their ingredients were organic and non-GMO. It also doesn’t hurt that they have a real focus on sustainable practices and that their employees are paid above average hourly wages. Go NLB!
Unfortunately all that time spent looking over their menu, still hadn’t helped me make up my mind. We seriously wanted to order one of everything – it all looked so yummy! The very helpful gentlemen behind the counter helped us narrow things down a bit by suggesting two of their signature patties which are the most popular items on the menu. So it was the SoCal Burger for me and Adam went for the Special Sauce Burger. We shared an order of Chili Cheese Tater Tots and considered sharing a milkshake as well before deciding that we would each need our own. So we tried the Fair Trade Chocolate with soy milk and a Dark Choc’PB Cup with coconut milk.
The burgers were great – very messy to eat, but aren’t the good ones always messy? The patties were firm and held together really well, the cheese was very cheese-like (we both chose the cheddar/swiss style), the veggies were fresh tasting and the special sauce had a great tangy flavor.
Instead of the chili cheese fries we opted to go with the tots to try and avoid that soggy fry thing from happening and were pleased with the results.
Beyond the food here are a few things we liked about this place:
- While Adam and I stood at the counter debating what to get, they offered us a sample of the special sauce to help make up our minds.
- The food was served on reusable plates, with real silverware and cups.
- They had three different varieties of hot sauce!
- They serve breakfast!