1. NEXT LEVEL BURGER
1972 W Burnside St., 503-660-4800, nextlevelburger.com. 4121 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 503-486-4400.
While many food companies have been perpetrators of shrinkflation over the last two years, Next Level Burger is heading in the exact opposite direction. You’ll now find even larger patties on the plantbased chain’s menu (weighing in at 4 ounces instead of 3) along with a slew of new items. We’re most excited to try the chipotle burger—the black bean faux meat is slathered in chipotle mayo and topped with guac and pickled jalapeños. Go all in on the vegan junk food theme and wash that down with a coconut soft serve chocolate chip cookie dough shake, which was also recently added to the lineup.
2. BUMPER BURGER
17980 SW Baseline Road, Beaverton, 503-828-7340, bumperburger.com. 11 am-6 pm Thursday-Friday, noon-6 pm Saturday-Sunday.
Bumper Burger has declared war against price creep on America’s favorite sandwich. Founder-cook Mat Norton sells his quarter-pounders for truly jaw-dropping rates: $3.50 for the entry-level hamburger, $4 for one with a slice of gooey American cheese, and for the extra-hungry, there’s the $9.50 People’s Meal, which features the double-patty 50/50 Burger. No matter what sandwich you order, always get the made-fresh-daily pimento cheese. The pleasantly piquant spread adds velvetiness to every bite—and it costs only a dollar extra.
8268 SE 13th Ave., 503-327-8916, kaedepdx.com. 4:30-9 pm Wednesday-Sunday.
Seating by online reservations only. Kaede, a 16-seat “sushi bistro” in Sellwood, shifted recently from takeout service to dine-in and reservation only, making the bar the best place to be. It’s where you can sit with a cup of sake in hand and become entranced watching co-owner Shinji Uehara slice fish flown in from Tokyo and gently hand-mold the rice for nigiri. There’s no omakase meal here, but the nigiri premium will get you eight chef’s choice rice-and-fish delicacies. And keep an eye out for anything that’s rare in our neck of the woods, like the bright pink Japanese alfonsino fish we had during our visit.
4. PELICAN BREWING SILETZ BAY
5911 Highway 101, Lincoln City, 541-614- 4216, pelicanbrewing.com. Noon-10 pm daily.
Pelican Brewing’s new gleaming waterfront property in Lincoln City has opened the final portion of its pub that you won’t find at any of its other locations: a seafood market. In February, the Siletz Bay location launched Phil’s Nest Crab Boil Experience, an indoor-outdoor dining space that sells items for consumption on the premises and to go. We recommend ordering a crab cocktail before sinking into an Adirondack chair on the expansive patio overlooking the water. It’s the best place to wait for a table (and there will be waits during spring break).
5. FOOLS AND HORSES
226 NW 12th Ave., 503-894-8473, foolsandhorsespdx.com. 4-11 pm Sunday-Tuesday, 4 pm-midnight Wednesday-Saturday.
While Fools and Horses is a cocktail bar first and foremost, dinner really is something we’d encourage. Chef and Oahu native Alex Wong takes inspiration from paniolos—Hawaiian cowboys whose cuisine is influenced by immigrants from Mexico, Portugal and Japan. For a variety of flavors, order the Paniolo Range, a gussied-up charcuterie board with slices of baguette, passion-fruit butter, manchego, pickled peppers, and pipikaula (house-cured dried beef rib jerky).