Review: Burgerville Burgers, Fries, and Shakes

May 29, 2013 by     7 Comments    Posted under: Fast Food Reviews, Oregon, Restaurants, Reviews, Washington

I’m sure that many of my readers have never heard of Burgerville before, or if you have, you don’t get the chance to eat there much.  But any and all of my readers that find themselves in Oregon or Washington owe it to themselves to stop into any of Burgerville’s 39 locations and experience a new kind of fast food burger chain.

Burgerville History

Burgerville started in 1961 by George Propstra.  George’s dad, Jacob, was a Dutch immigrant that opened a small creamery in Vancouver, Washington in 1922, aptly named The Holland Creamery.  George’s burger stand sourced its ingredients from other local small businesses, including his dad’s creamery.  This commitment to the community has never left the culture of Burgerville, which has resulted in a fast food burger chain that surprisingly serves fresh, in-season food that tastes better and is better for you than what the “big” guys are able to provide.  In an interesting contrast, at the time of Burgeville’s inception, McDonalds had about 100 restaurants and was becoming a rapidly expanding cesspool of shit, forever changing beef processing and distribution in our country.

Burgerville’s Locally Sourced Seasonal Food

That focus on local sourcing and community support continues today.  A quick look at their food sourcing partners (solely from the Pacific Northwest) proves that Burgerville’s slogan of “Fresh, Local, Sustainable” is the real deal.  So what kind of food are they sourcing and serving?

  • Pastured vegetarian-fed and anitiotic-free beef from Country Natural Beef in Oregon.  Click the link and watch the video.  This is entirely different beef than the stuff other fast-food chains source.  Grass fed beef raised in the beautiful valleys of Oregon among deer and other wildlife.  County Natural Beef is the beef sold in…. get this…… Whole Foods Market.
  • Antibiotic and hormone-free chicken from Coleman Natural in Oregon.  Their chickens run about in barns rather than cages.  No nitrates/nitrites, chemical preservatives, or MSG get added to the meat during processing.  Nor does any injected flavoring fillers.  And guess where you can go and purchase the raw product yourself…… that’s right….. Whole Foods Market, as well as Natural Grocers.
  • Antibiotic and hormone-free pork from Niman Ranch in Oregon.  Burgerville’s pork products include: Peppered bacon, bacon, Canadian bacon, sausage, and pulled pork (for their seasonal pulled pork sandwich with cherry slaw).  Niman’s pigs are raised outdoors as well as deeply bedded pens, and are fed a 100% vegetarian diet.  Their pork is saught out by top chefs throughout the country for it’s high-quality and better flavor.
  • Fresh local Hazelnuts from the Hazelnut Growers of Oregon, used on salads and their ever so amazing Fall season Chocolate Hazelnut Ice Cream Shake!
  • Cheese from Tillamook Creamery, makers of the best cheddar in the West.
  • Cage-free eggs (used in their breakfast menu) from Stiebrs Farms.  The same eggs sold in Whole Foods Market and New Seasons Markets.
  • Smoked salmon (used in salads) from Lummi Island Wild Co-ops, a solar powered salmon fishery.
  • And strawberries and other seasonal produce sourced from Oregon farms (like fried asparagus spears with with garlic aioli).  These seasonal items are only offered when the farms have them.  What???  Strawberry shakes only when strawberries are ripe?  Is that a sin?  No, that’s the right way to do things.

When I eat a burger meal at Burgerville, I leave feeling satisfied and “clean” inside.  When I eat a burger meal at McDonald’s, I leave wanting to eat 5 more burgers, and I feel cramps and an odd sick-like feeling inside.  Do you think it has anything to do with the difference in ingredients quality?

Fast Food Recycling Services and Sustainability

Burgerville Sustainable Business Compost and Recycle

Burgerville Sustainable Business Compost and Recycle

As if the local food sourcing wasn’t enough, Burgerville also provides a recycling and composting program in all of their restaurants!  I’m sure a lot of you don’t care about something like this, but I think this is an amazing thing to find at a fast food restaurant (maybe just because I grew up in Washington and Oregon).  Recycling is unique enough, but composting as well?  What a trip.  They also convert their used cooking oil into biodiesel.  To go one step further, they only purchase Wind Power electricity from the power company for all of their locations.  I guess it’s the PNW hippie in me, but I find this entire situation very impressive.

Burgerville Tillamook Cheddar Pepper Bacon Burger Review

Burgerville Tillamook Cheddar Pepper Bacon Burger

Burgerville Tillamook Cheddar Pepper Bacon Burger

OK, now that you know all about Burgeville’s completely different model of fast food, let’s talk about their actual menu items.  As I mentioned, I grew up with Burgerville in my back yard, so needless to say, I’ve eaten most things on their menu over the years.  But if you only get one chance to eat at Burgerville, order the Tillamook Cheddar Pepper Bacon Burger.  It is unlike any fast food burger you will ever find.

The burger patty is caramelized to perfection, and is seasoned well.  It is topped with perfect real Tillamook cheddar cheese, and Niman’s amazing pepper bacon.  Crisp leaf lettuce, pickles, and fresh tomatoes finish it off.  Mayo and ketchup of course.  Even the bun is better than the sugar filled crap you get elsewhere.  This burger is excellent.  You can get a better burger off your home grill, but you’ll be hard-pressed to get a better burger at a fast food joint.

Burgerville’s Rosemary Shoestring Potatoes are Delicious!

Burgerville Rosemary Shoestring Potatoes

Burgerville Rosemary Shoestring Potatoes

Burgerville’s normal fries are good, but if you’re lucky to be at their restaurant when they have their seasonal Rosemary fries, go for the herb!  These fries are awesome!  Perfectly golden crunchy brown, with fresh chopped rosemary and salt on them.  Fresh rosemary at a fast food chain?  What is going on???  I think you’re starting to get it….. Burgerville is not really a fast food restaurant as the American public knows that term.

Fresh Strawberry Real Ice Cream Shakes at Burgerville

Burgerville Fresh Strawberry Milkshake

Burgerville Fresh Strawberry Milkshake

When I lived in Portland, I used to make shake runs to Burgerville, even though the closest one was 30 minutes from my house.  Sure, there were plenty of other places along the way that I could have gotten a shake, including Jack in the Box with their real ice cream shakes.  But Jack in the Box’s shake doesn’t even come close to the perfect creamy delight of Burgerville’s fresh seasonal shake.  I’m guessing their starting ice cream is better.  But then they add fresh, only in-season items like strawberries (amazing), hazelnuts (my favorite and completely mouthgasmic), pumpkin, eggnog, blackberry, and more.  They are incredibly thick, perfectly sweet (unlike so many other shakes that are too sweet), full of fresh goodness, and well worth every last calorie found in them!  Burgerville’s regular chocolate shake and their regular vanilla shakes are very good and worth having any day of the week, but I highly recommend one of the seasonal specialty shakes.  They cost more (around $3.50 for a regular), but worth every penny.  So damn delicious!

Is Burgerville the Best Fast Food Chain in America?

That is a question worth pondering.  There are some others that are in that race, but I don’t know of any that focus so heavily on serving healthy sustainable in-season ingredients like Burgerville does.  Those ingredients definitely make a better tasting burger and milkshake.  And also gives Burgerville the “best of show” award for unique menu offerings like fresh rosemary fries, fried asparagus spears, and cherry coleslaw.  Burgerville, I love you and I visit your wonderland every time I go home to the Pacific Northwest.  Thank you!

The Bald Gourmet recommends Burgerville for their fresh best ingredients, sustainable practices, and delicious dining.


7 Comments + Add Comment

  • Pre 90′s Burgerville was much better.

    They turned the corner when they switched from a normal grill to the burger presses which flattened the burners and buns. The shredded lettuce they used to use was also a better choice back in those days, it used to mix with the awesome burgerville sauce which they used to make by hand back then (Comes from a plant now).

  • Jothan, based on your glowing reviews of Burgerville,”Best fastfood in the US?”, I ate there today. You had best go back and re-evaluate this restaurant. It was easily one of the worst burgers I’ve ever eaten. It was inedible and I couldn’t finish after three bites. I’m not kidding it was awful. In addition, the fries were too salty and I could not finish them either. The only saving grace was the strawberry shake was great.

  • Just deciding what I want at Burgerville for dinner, right now. I was going to go somewhere else, but you talked me back into Burgerville.

    So, so good!

    Pepper bacon burger and fresh strawb shake, here I come!


    • Glad I could be of service, Jen.

  • Unfortunately I have not had a chance to eat at Burgerville for many a year now. Salt in my wounds… how I miss the chocolate hazelnut shake…

    • I know right? They really should offer a global overnight shipping service for them. Sometimes I feel like that shake is worth the $100 it would cost to ship……

  • Thanks for highlighting this fast food option…looking forward to trying on our next trip to OR.

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I'm Jothan Yeager and I am The Bald Gourmet. After years of experimenting in my kitchen, creating delicious food and eating at amazing places around the world, I wanted a place to share my experiences with everyone. Thus the Bald Gourmet was born. I hope to open the doors of great food and great cooking to you, to inspire you to reach beyond prepared boxed meals, and to teach you of a world of deliciousness that has brought joy to me and those around me. Please enjoy the adventure which is The Bald Gourmet and share it with those you love.