For months, Thrillist food critic Kevin Alexander has been criss-crossing the country in search of the best burger in America—slipping through30 different American cities including Seattle, New York, Chicago, Nashville and New Orleans.
But all of you can sit right down: Portland has the best burger in America, he says.
And hell, he didn't even try our favorite.
According to Alexander, the best burger in America is at the burger spot long hailed as Portland's most classic and idyllic—the Nick's Cheeseburger at Stanich's on Northeast Fremont, the nearly 60-year-old burger bar that's still in the family.
“What I had at 11 am amongst those construction workers and old-school pennants was otherworldly. The sesame bun was griddled perfectly, preventing the somewhat messy burger from leaking through and getting soggy. The ground chuck had a good crisp edge, and the grilled onions, which must sit marinating in something, melded with the American cheese for that perfect diner burger mix. Normally, we’d stop there, but Stanich’s does not yield. On the top bun, they use a combination of mayo and mustard while on the bottom, it’s mayo and red relish. The end result is a mixture of sweet and salty flavors I haven’t experienced anywhere else. In fact, I didn’t even see the hamburger dill pickles sitting on the side until after I ate the whole damn thing, but it didn’t matter. This burger is a national treasure. This burger at an old mom-and-pop sports bar that’s been sitting in a random Oregon neighborhood since 1949 is the best burger in America.”
We like the Stanich's burger, too, but it should also be noted as a critic, Alexander was chasing a very specific dragon—a sort of midcentury idyll lost to time in which all burgers have griddled onions and American cheese. It left him confused and tiny-handsed before the magestic Slowburger, and angry at the Bar Bar Burger.
Portland's Little Bird also ranked on his top 100 list, at number 43. Alexander aggressively snubbed all other Portland burgers.
He would have maybe still loved the Grain and Gristle burger. He should come back for it.