Though Willamette Burger Company recently relocated to a more spacious spot a mile away from its original digs, the burger makers still take the same gourmet approach to classic American fare that won the Statesman Journal's Best Burger award in 2011. Each patty contains more than 6 ounces of locally raised, hormone-free beef, delivered on stallion by a handsome cowboy and ground on-site. Made-from-scratch buns, house-made sauces, and Oregonian cheeses top each specialty burger, sandwich, or Hill’s Meats hot dog. The eatery strives to further improve on classic American flavors by hand-forming each one of their tater tots and cooking their french fries twice for a crisp crunch. Visitors can slurp root-beer floats and ice-cream shakes or savor wine and beer from local imbiberies such as Ninkasi and Gilgamesh. Each tabletop in Willamette Burger Company’s new location comes topped with a paper tablecloth and stocked with crayons for scribbled drawings or colorful personal manifestos. The resulting works could earn a spot on the eatery’s hallowed walls next to priceless pieces like Still Life with Cheeseburger and Les Hamburgers d'Avignon.
What started as a refreshment stand during a 1924 Pioneer Day celebration has since grown into Arctic Circle, an eatery that transcends typical fast-food standards by building its menu items from high-quality ingredients. Black Angus patties support burgers stacked with mushrooms or bacon, and 100% Alaskan halibut keeps the fish sandwiches filler-free. Over more than 60 years of business, Arctic Circle has handcrafted original eats, such as a fry sauce blended from tomato and lemon, and the Brown Topper, an ice-cream cone dunked in chocolate and placed atop the heads of nearby gentlepersons. The dessert menu also includes milkshakes, whose creamy contents harvest flavor from real fruit or hunks of candy.
In an effort to find a healthy alternative to fast food without sacrificing speediness, the creators of The Pita Pit began assembling their signature sandwiches for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late-night snacks. At each location, thin, Lebanese-style pitas encircle lean, grilled meats and fresh veggies. Sandwich selections span the spectrum from gyro meat and falafel to turkey and prime rib. The staff empowers customers to make healthy choices by displaying nutrition information for each bread, meat, and post-meal toothpick and corralling a selection of healthy sandwiches, which dining companions can wash down with fruit smoothies.
Garlic Jim's menu was handcrafted with nothing more than a dream and an incredible reserve of pizza-making expertise. Open an order with some gourmet chicken wings, available in barbecue, garlic, and hot, before moving on to pizza territory. Put an end to eating Legos by piecing together a custom pie. Choose from the hand-thrown thick, garlic thin, or gluten-free crusts, slathered in one of seven sauces (from classic red to zesty chipotle pesto), and then slap on any of 15 standard and 11 gourmet toppings (14-inch large pizzas start at $11.99, extra-large $14.99; each additional topping for a large is $1.50). To achieve customization without the stress of having to choose, turn to one of the pre-determined specialties. Meat-maul hunger with the Hercules (salami, pepperoni, Canadian bacon, beef, spicy Italian sausage, and bacon; $18.99 for large, $21.99 for extra-large), or discover the secret of pizza-temperature fusion in your head with Jim's bacon-cheeseburger pizza (beef, bacon, red onions, tomatoes, mozzarella, and cheddar; $18.99 for large, $21.99 for extra-large).
Friendly servers at J's Teriyaki and Pub, reinvigorated by new management, top tables with a roster of stir-fried, simmered, and hand-rolled entrees. Steamed rice and a side of salad accompany the spicy beef teriyaki ($8.45), and a serving of soba noodles ensnares a choice of meat or veggies in its starchy tendrils ($6.55–$7.95). Chopsticks clamp onto cross sections of the chicken-teriyaki roll, filled with its namesake poultry and asparagus ($5.95), or the tiger roll with crabmeat, avocado, and a crown of shrimp to grant it sovereignty over all neighboring dishware ($7.95). The menu's color photographs and a blackboard hawking specials help diners decide on which dish to invite to dinner.