Here are all the Burger Madness Round of 64 Results, the Round of 32 Results, and the Sweet Sixteen.
Here's the winner among all the bar burgers in Portland, which will go on to the Final Four.
Slow Burger (1) vs. Grain and Gristle (14)
533 SE Grand Ave., 503-230-7767, slowbar.net. 11:30 am-2:30 am daily.
Since Slow Bar opened in 2004, it has been known to every bartender in town for stiff drinks, deep booths, a jukebox stacked with metal and that towering Slowburger ($12 with fries), cooked on a flat-top seasoned over time into something that might even be subtlety. Have you had the Slowburger only at Slowburger, at the Ocean food mall on Northeast Glisan Street? Then you haven't had the Slowburger. And yes, its towering onion-ring construction makes it tenuous. Thrillist's national burger critic, Kevin Alexander, declared it too unwieldy for his presumably tiny hands. But Portland is not a welcome place for short-fingered vulgarians.
Grain & Gristle
1473 NE Prescott St., 503-288-4740, grainandgristle.com. Noon-midnight Monday-Friday, 9 am-3 pm and 5 pm-midnight Saturday-Sunday.
The ingredients are as simple as a scratch-made pie: The thick half-pound patty of medium-rare beef comes from a line of Herefords cultivated since 1856 at Oregon's Hawley Ranch, butchered by sister restaurant Old Salt in Cully and fresh-ground each day. The pickles are housemade, as is the garlic-lemon aioli. The bun is baked by Grain & Gristle's former in-house baker, the green lettuce shocked in frigid water for crispness. And that's the end of the ingredient list. It is simplicity as virtue, with all things made only for their purpose in this burger.
WINNER: Grain and Gristle. The Slow Burger is the burger I've had as much as any in town, the burger that made me fall in love with bar burgers. But in an upset that almost makes the bar burger bracket upside-down, the Grain and Gristle wins in part for its simplicity, all the parts made for the burger they're in and nothing else. That, and, holy shit: That Old Salt Hawley Ranch beef is some of the best beef you can get in a hamburger, period. Grain and Gristle wins among the bars.
Here's the path to the Final Four: