The Maine Dish
Top 8 cheeseburgers in Portland
I love a good cheeseburger like the next girl. But those of you who know my family know that my 12 year-old son has a love affair with cheeseburgers that doesn’t border on an obsession: it’s the very definition of it. But he likes it a certain way–big and plain–and from the time he was four years-old, he’s recited the same verbatim line anytime anyone’s asked him, “And what would you like to order?” Without hesitation, it’s always the same, sure, robotically-delivered response; in fact, it’s considered one word in my mind.
No condiments. No salad. Nothing. And for a while I marveled at his rigidity until one day I began to appreciate his genius. The guy just wants to enjoy the flavor of his meat, and sure enough, over time, he’s become able to discern differences between preparations such as fat content and cooking technique.
So with my son in mind, I’m sharing with you my picks for the eight best cheeseburgers in Portland based on my son’s sole criterion: Is it good plain? So you won’t find heirloom vegetables or foie gras on this list, although I assure you that a number of these places do jaw-dropping things with the fancier iterations as well.
1. Harmon’s Lunch: It’s technically (barely) in Falmouth, but it’s been at the top of my list for 15 years, so it gets a pass.
2. Rosie’s: It amazes me how consistently juicy and perfectly-cooked their burgers are. You can almost always get a seat and the service is great.
3. Nosh Kitchen Bar: Jason’s probably best known for the Apocalypse Now burger featured on Man vs. Food, but any of the burgers on the menu rock.
4. Blue Spoon: Top quality Maine beef makes a big difference here. Great place if you’re early at lunch time.
5. The Great Lost Bear: A million and one unique varieties to choose from, but just the basic version is worth the trip.
6. Local 188: The brioche bun is a nice touch that doesn’t challenge my bias toward the basic white bread bun.
7. East Ender: These guys use a blend of ground beef cheek and chuck, so you get a big beefy flavor you don’t find everywhere.
8. Five Guys: Yeah, I know it’s a chain and I’m supposed to skip over it, but I can’t. Five Guys is delicious, fast, and cheap.
So what did I miss? Send along your recommendations!