Burgerville’s burgers are superb, especially the Colossal Tillamook Cheddar Bacon Cheeseburgers. But there’s much more to this fast-food eatery with thirty-nine outlets in and around Portland, Oregon, and Vancouver, Washington. Every Spring, it gets North Pacific halibut for fish and chips. Deep fried until brittle-crisp, each piece feels featherlight and flakes into pearl white hunks that drip flavor. Recently, a totally local-produce salad was added to the menu: Oregon smoked salmon with Tillamook cheese (from a coastal creamery) and a great spill of crushed roasted hazelnuts from a farmers’ co-op called Oregon Orchard.
Hazelnuts are huge in Oregon (where old-timers still call them filberts), and prior to the salad’s introduction, the best-known hazelnut item on the menu was the chocolate hazelnut milkshake, available every year from January through April as part of the seasonal milk shake menu: strawberry shakes starting in April, then raspberry, blackberry, and peach shakes, and huckleberry and pumpkin shakes in the fall.
George Brown, executive chef of Burgerville, is a fanatic about local foods. When we visited with him several months ago, he was wild about a new burger he is introducing to the menu. Of course, it’s made with Oregon beef; and that’s topped with smokehouse pepper bacon and creamy spread made from Rogue River Valley blue cheese. With a chocolate hazelnut milk shake, that five-dollar bacon cheeseburger was one of the best we’ve ever had, anywhere at any price.
"Burgerville's shakes are legendary. This one is chocolate-hazelnut flavored."
"A close view of the bacon cheeseburger indicates how crisp the bacon is ... but it cannot convey the delicious creamy nature of the Rogue River cheese."
"Hazelnuts and nuggets of salmon make this one extraordinary fast-food salad."
"Not your typical Roadfood, Burgerville is a chain of fast-food joints. But there is no denying the goodness of its meals, and the honor of its mission -- to celebrate the food of the Northwest."