Advocate Staff Burger Picks: They’re Not All Beef… But Some Are
If I had a nickel for every time I’ve been asked “Hey Johnny, what kind of burgers do you and yours get into?” I’d be a rich man. Our favorite compact fallback, the burger ranges from healthy to downright deadly—and Corvallis has more than a mouthful of great choices. Whether you’re looking for a new favorite or just a high five to back up what you already know, here are a few words of wisdom from Advocate hamburglars.
Ring of Fire – Flat Tail Brewing (202 SW 1st St, Corvallis)
Like many burgers in town those at Flat Tail Brewing are 1/3 pound of “hand-spanked” Painted Hills beef and will run you about $10.50. Flat Tail makes a Ring of Fire burger though, and I’m game for anything that comes with pepperjack, pickled jalapeños, onion rings and “pyro mayo” on it. Give me an order of Frickles and a pint of Gold Rush Dry Hop and roll me out of here.
Sun Burger – Block 15 (300 SW Jefferson Ave, Corvallis)
Kudos to Nearly Normal’s for the patty, this veggie burger is simply the best I’ve choked down in this great city of ours. The first time I faced off with one, all I could think the entire time was “Damn, this ‘real food’ stuff is good.” Whether cow giblets give you the sads or you’re looking to change up the typical burger pace, you really just cannot go wrong here.
Burger del Alma – del Alma (136 SW Washington Ave, Corvallis)
I’m a sucker for guac, and the “Burger del Alma” delivers. Half a pound of Lonely Lane grass-fed beef, extra-sharp cheddar, house-cured bacon, smoked tomato and poblano rajas, and guacamole are piled high between a house-made, grilled bun. This isn’t your average, greasy burger, but instead, a mouth-watering blend of vibrant Latin flavors and familiar American nostalgia. Pair it with the caipirinha, and your belly will thank you.
Wilbur’s Jumbo Deluxe – McMenamins (420 NW 3rd St and 2001 NW Monroe, Corvallis)
The Wilbur’s Jumbo Deluxe Burger from McMenamins is an entire barnyard of farm animal products set between buns. There is no conceivable way to turn down a burger comprised of a beef patty, Tillamook cheddar cheese, bacon, and a fried egg unless you have some sort of weird loyalty to the piggy protagonist from Charlotte’s Web.
Caves Burger – Les Caves (308 SW 3rd St, Corvallis)
Normally, I won’t pay $10.50 for a burger, but I will when it comes to Les Caves. A Caves burger is hearty, greasy and cooked to order. Order it medium rare and it will have the perfect grease to bun ratio. The crunchy sweet onions will ruin your breath but complement the savory elements, and you won’t have enough energy to make out after you stuff your face with the accompanying pomme frites anyway. And you know what? Just be a grown up and order a bourbon barrel stout and commit to going cardiac arrest on this thing: add the bacon, fried egg and Gouda.
A California boy stuck hundreds of miles from the nearest In-N-Out, my favorite local burger option is Trader Joe’s American Style Kobe Beef Burger, with a side of lonely tears. After tossing a too-big-for-a-bun patty of Wagyu deliciousness into a sizzling cast iron skillet, I top it with La Mariposa Five Corners Raw Cheese and a few tomato slices, served with a side of homefried potatoes and Bubbies Kosher Dill Relish. Sure, you can go to a restaurant and order the proverbial “$6 burger”, but for $5.99 I get a two pack of TJ’s Kobe Beef Burgers, and I know the chef’s hands are clean. Yes Obama, I built that.
Allow me to wax rhapsodic about Squirrel’s salmon burger with provolone and a side of curly fries. It’s so good I have to actively restrain myself from rubbing it all over my face in ecstasy, and, depending on who you talk to, I’m not always successful. There is a reason I no longer take first dates there. Also, Squirrels displays their beers on tap from lightest to darkest, which means no matter how much burger is stuffed in my mouth, I can still get myself a drink just by pointing. I’d actually like to see that amenity at all restaurants. In fact, I think I’ll lobby Mayor Manning to issue an order to that effect. Tell me if I’m being unreasonable.
Yukon and White Bean Basil Burger – Burgerville (2310 Santiam Hwy SE, Albany)
The Albany Burgerville’s Yukon and White Bean Basil Burger is a pretty sweet benefit to any northbound journey out of Corvallis (off exit 233). Top it with extra aioli and lettuce, add a side of greasy rosemary shoestring fries when in season, and finish with an artery-numbing cherry chocolate shake—local, vegetarian, fast food really doesn’t get any better.
Got a favorite local burger? Share it in the comments below!