Monday, April 24, 2017

Café 440 Cheeseburger Review

If you look closely, you can see people dining al fresco on a gloomy Spring night.
I can assure you in the eight months between posts, Jerome and I have been packing away the cheeseburgers. We’ve just been too lethargic afterward to write about it…until now. For our first review after our hiatus, we decided to see what Café 440 was packing. I’d been there once before to have their BBQ Pork Nachos, and they were darn good. I knew they were the kind of place that took pride in everything they made. So, I had to drag Jerome there. Here is what happened:

Jerome’s Review
Cafe 440 was an exceptional dining experience with mindful staff and a pleasant, homey feeling. The décor appeared to be somewhat music themed. I enjoyed the food immensely and frankly was surprised with the burst of flavor when I first took a bite of my burger. I eyed my burger cautiously but was pleasantly surprised when I tasted the local beef and bacon. The burger was perfectly cooked and left me begging for more. I highly recommend this restaurant to anyone who hasn’t previously attended. Even if you are just in town for a visit, it is well worth the detour.
Just look at those juices!

James’s Review
Cheeseburger 23/25
Café 440 offers a boilerplate Knee Deep Burger that is six ounces of hand-pressed, local, grass-fed ground beef from Knee Deep Cattle Company. Instead of asking how I wanted it cooked, they just asked if medium was okay. Usually, with fresh local beef, I prefer medium rare, but I figured when in Rome, eat a medium burger. Well, it ended up coming out medium well. Judging from the juices that collected on Jerome’s plate, his was closer to medium.

You essentially build your own burger and are given a number of specialty topping options for an additional charge. I chose a fat slice of Tillamook cheddar. The cheeseburger was served on a sweet brioche bun. The flavors were great. They even seasoned the patty well.
The meal has arrived.

Fries 24/25
One of the popular appetizers at Café 440 is their Poutine. I really wanted to try it, but the $11 price tag was a bit much for me, and I didn’t want to be too full to eat my burger. So, I asked the server if I could get my side of fries “poutinized.” He said it was not possible and that the chef refused to do this. I was heartbroken, to say the least.

Fortunately, the fries they serve are breaded to perfection. They clearly make their own with great care. And, they brought me plenty of mayonnaise and ketchup to dip them in. Bucky was also a fan. He ate most of Jerome’s fries.
Bucky reviewing the fries.

Cost 19/25
Café 440 is a bit pricey for Eugene. My cheeseburger and fries cost $12, but it was more than enough food for me. Nonetheless, I ate it all anyway. For a family of four (including two alcohol drinkers), you’re looking at $60 or more with tip. This makes Café 440 more of a “nice night out” kind of place.

Ambiance 10/15
We went at a little after 7 on a Friday evening, and the place was packed with upper-

middle-class schmoes smelling like cologne and perfume. We had to raise our voices to hear each other. There was a 25-minute wait (which was accurately predicted by the hostess), so I had plenty of time to sit in the waiting area and judge people. There were the upper management-type guys trying out their manly posturing. There was the lady who was several sheets to the wind trying to walk to the bathroom in stilettos. It didn’t go well.

At one point, there was a dude yelling quite loudly. I noticed everyone turned to look in his direction. My back was to him, so I didn’t know what was going on, but I’d assume Erin would tell me if he was a danger to anyone.

Service 6/10
First of all, the entire six goes to our waiter who did a great job, but the service is not all about the waiter. I’m just pissed and going to hold a grudge about the chef not letting me get a side of poutine with my burger. I’m sure I’ll be back to Café 440 specifically for the poutine, and maybe then, I’ll have a change of heart. But, until then, I am full of spite.

Café 440’s Overall Score: 82/100

Their burgers and fries were on point. They just lost points in the other areas. For the best experience, I would recommend not going on a Friday night unless you like waiting and rowdiness. Also, go when you have some change to spend and a huge appetite. Maybe share a full order of poutine with some friends…if the chef even lets you share.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Tilt Cheeseburger Review

Because we had a lot going on this week and the last, the only chance Jerome and I had to get a cheeseburger was while we were up in Portland on Sunday. Tilt has two locations in Portland and is about to open a third. And, I imagine it’s only a matter of time before they have a spot in Eugene’s downtown Portland district. Anyway, Tilt was on just about all of the “Best of” lists I could Google, so we gave their Pearl District location a shot.

Jerome’s Review
For our special Portland blog, we decided to check out Tilt, a burger place with industrial machines on display inside and large open walls that lead outside. To tell the truth, I wasn't particularly excited to go, but when we finally got there, I immediately changed my mind. The place was packed, so I knew it must have great food. And, I was right. The burgers there are absolutely insane! Don’t get me started on the bacon! It’s like Jeebus and a unicorn had an ultra-super cyborg baby! The burgers hold all of their juices. I didn’t even know burgers had juices. My point is if you’re ever in Portland and need a place to eat, I super double MEGA recommend Tilt.

Overall, I give Tilt 100000000000000000000/10.
Jerome making his cheeseburger face.
James’s Review
Cheeseburger 22/25
I got their Koolakofsky burger, which was a quarter-pound burger with a generous helping of pastrami, sauerkraut, Swiss, and tilt sauce, which was like a fry sauce with a hint of Sriracha. As a general rule, if a restaurant has anything close to a Reuben burger on their menu, I order it because I want to encourage that kind of behavior. The Koolakofsky came close to a Reuben burger, so I obliged. I usually like it on a rye bun, but I won’t knock them for trying.

Regardless, the burger was delicious. The patty was nice and juicy and lightly seasoned. All of the flavors worked well together. Jerome got the Bacon Cheeseburger after backing down from the Dbl Bacon Cheeseburger. If you ask me, I don’t think he could have handled the double.
Exhibit A: Why I'm not a food photographer.
Fries 15/25
Fries don’t come with the burgers, so we ordered a large serving of their “Original Beer Battered House Fries.” It was more than enough for Jerome, Erin, Bucky, my buddy Matt, and me. The big problem I had with the fries was that they were not beer battered in any meaningful way. I love beer battered fries, but these seemed like basic seasoned fries. They tasted fine and didn’t require additional salt, but they were cut too thin and a letdown overall. The Tilt sauce they served with it was pretty good, though.
Our top fry critic at work.
Cost 22/25
Just factoring in burgers and fries for Jerome and me, our tab came to $22.50 with a minimal (unnecessary) tip. Apparently, we got six dollars off because it was their “Swing Shift,” Tilt-speak for happy hour. The prices would have been a bit steep compared to Eugene during their normal hours, but for when we were there, they were surprisingly cheap for Portland.

Ambiance 8/15
Tilt’s motto is “Handcrafted Food and Drink Built for the American Workforce.” So, as part of their branding, the place is set up kind of like a factory cafeteria…with a full bar and flat-screen televisions. The place was packed and loud…and stressful. As you ordered, there was nowhere to stand without feeling like you were in the way. Maybe I’m a small-town bumpkin, but I had trouble relaxing there.

I’m not sure what category to put this in, but I really liked that they used orange rags for napkins, which they reuse. That is why I’m not rating them lower for ambiance.

Oh yeah, our table had special lighting that made it appear as if it was a factory light that was about to go dead. It made us see tracers. For a good time, ravers may want to bring their glowsticks.

Oh yeah, and this guy showed up.
Service 2/10
You line up to get your food, you grab your own food, you collect your own condiments (they were out of ketchup and the small containers you put your ketchup in most of the time), you have to go back when they forget to give you your friend’s side salad (stupid healthy Matt), and you have to bus your own table. The only reason they got 2 is because I’m cutting them some slack for being busy.

Tilt’s Overall Score: 69/100

The cheeseburgers at Tilt are excellent, and the prices are affordable during Swing Shift. However, do not expect amazing beer-battered fries, and you may want to take your food to go and head to a park. 

Sunday, July 31, 2016

NorthWest Burgers Cheeseburger Review

Erin, Bucky, and I had all been to NorthWest Burgers before and were fans. This was Jerome’s first experience. I chose NorthWest Burgers for this installment of Cheeseburgers in Eugene because a Google search for “Cheeseburgers in Eugene” brought me to this Yelp page that told me they had the best burgers in Eugene. I told that World Wide Web page that I’d be the judge of that. Here is Jerome and me getting all judgy:

Jerome’s Review
NorthWest Burgers is part of a collection of restaurants in one big building, but personally, I think it stands out from all the others. If you’re not there for the scenery (it would be weird if you were), you must be there for the food! There are a variety of soft drinks and beers on the menu as well as a good amount of food options. The burgers there are exceptional. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be on this blog! If I had to recommend a burger place, it would definitely be NorthWest Burgers with 3 thumbs up (if I had that many)!
The burgerman at work.
James’s Review
Cheeseburger 20/25
I got their Northwest Burger with smoked Gouda. It came with Thousand Island dressing, lettuce, onions, and tomato. Jerome got the Large Jack, which had bacon, ham, fried egg, cheddar cheese, lettuce, onion, and tomato on it. My burger was well done but incredibly juicy. It had a one-third-pound patty made of local, fresh beef. I love large patties for the most part. My only qualm is that they should be seasoned well. Otherwise, you have this big, bland animal lying there between your buns (that’s what she said.) There was very little if any seasoning in this patty.

When you eat my burgers, you need to prepare for your breath to smell like garlic for the next few days. I am not suggesting restaurants that want to stay in business do that. But, at least, throw some salt and pepper on big patties. This is the main reason I gave the burger 20 out of 25.
Please stop licking your screen.
Fries 25/25
The fries were perfect. They may be the best fries I’ve had in Eugene (besides Erin’s beer-battered fries). They appear to add a batter to their fries, and the seasoning was on point. They have ketchup, ranch, salt, and pepper readily available, but you don’t need any of that. The fries stand on their own. The best part was that Erin was eating with us, so I didn’t have to share my fries with Bucky. He loved the fries but demanded ketchup.

Cost 21/25
NorthWest Burgers is not cheap, but you won’t go bankrupt eating there. For Jerome and my burgers, which came with fries, and a $3 tip, which you could probably get away with not leaving, our tab came to $27.40. That’s a bit much for two people eating lunch in Eugene, but you get a lot of food for that. We were both stuffed silly.
Pretty fry for a white guy.
Ambiance 12/15
NorthWest Burgers is located in the 5th Street Market, and there were a bunch of restaurants there that share seating. The place basically looks like a refurbished old-timey building. There was a whole section of middle-aged guys sitting alone looking at their smartphones. If you listened closely, you could hear the finest generic jazz playing. They also offer outdoor seating, where you can observe college-aged kids waiting for the Bolt Bus.

Service 7/10
This is one of those places where you have to walk all the way up to the counter, place your order, sit down, wait for them to shout your name so you can walk back up to the counter to get your food, then you have to bus your table when you’re done. I’m kind of embarrassed that I left a tip. I don’t tip McDonald’s, and they probably have it worse. That said, I have nothing but nice things to say about the people who were working there. They were very attentive to my many needs.

NorthWest Burgers’ Overall Score: 85/100

NorthWest Burgers deserves a spot in your regular cheeseburger rotation. Their burger patties are a bit bland, but their fries and toppings make up for it. I recommend them!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Burgers on the Run Cheeseburger Review

Burgers on the Run is a bit of a unicorn as far as burger places go. It does not appear to have set hours. Essentially, you catch them when you catch them. This is a permanent food truck located outside of the Oakshire Brewing Public House on Madison across the street from The Wandering Goat. I think we have been most successful catching them open at lunchtime on weekdays. For instance, this time, we went at noon on a Thursday.

I would recommend coming with a Plan B for where to eat. Our Plan B is usually The Sandwich League, which is not to say The Sandwich League is inferior in any way. It’s just nearby and really good. Without further qualifications:
Green sauce is the green sauce to the right.
Cheeseburger 21/25
Jerome and I both ordered their Double Burger with cheddar cheese added. They use quarter-pound patties at Burgers on the Run. They also toss on lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion, and their own special mayo-based sauce. They were pretty tight-lipped about the secret recipe, but I’m pretty sure it consists of mayo, pepper, garlic, and either green food coloring or basil. Dealer’s choice. The burger was nice and juicy. It could have been seasoned more, and they went a little crazy with the onions, and I could have used more cheese, but overall, it was good.

Fries 19/25
Burgers on the Run serves your standard French fries: straight cut, fried to golden goodness. They clearly added some salt to the fries, but I like more seasoning. Unfortunately, I didn’t see any salt shakers in the vicinity and was hesitant to ask because people kept coming up to order, and I had already asked for a side of green sauce to dip my fries into. Bucky clearly enjoyed the fries, though I did have to stop him from just dipping his hands in the ketchup and putting them in his mouth.
Before he resorted to mainlining the ketchup.
Cost 22/25
The burgers at Burgers on the Run do not come with fries. I was unsure about how much we’d need because of Bucky’s special needs, so I got two large sides of fries. It turns out one would have sufficed. Our total for two Double Burgers with cheese and two large sides of fries was $21.10. There wasn’t really a need to tip since there was little service (such is the nature of food carts).

Ambiance 13/15
There is essentially only outdoor seating at Burgers on the Run. However, they will deliver your burgers to you in the Oakshire Public House. For about the first fifteen minutes we were there, there was a radio blaring commercials. Eventually, the station started playing classic rock. I think a juke box or even a smartphone playing Spotify would have been preferable. Oh well. The saving grace was that some older lady came up to me and told me I was doing a great job raising my boys. I told her, “Buzz off! I don’t need your validation!”

Service 7/10
The food was ready quickly, and they were attentive to my needs, but as is the nature of the food carts, I had to go to the window to order, I had to pick up my food, and I had to bus my table. This is easy for most, but I had to contend with a screaming toddler who just wanted to throw rocks. Also, I don’t like having to wait in line for follow-up items (like salt or green sauce). Such is the life of a whiny guy.
Serious men eating serious burgers.
Jerome’s Review
Burgers on the run… where do I start? The great food? Sure, why not? The food at Burgers on the Run is absolutely exceptional! It's like a slice of heaven in patty form with oozing juices and condiments galore. The burgers are definitely some of the best I've ever had.
The atmosphere there is wonderful with music always playing and the various signs and souvenirs scattered around the place. The whole restaurant is a grounded food truck, and the dining area out front is nice. If you're looking for a nice place with good food, I recommend Burgers on the Run, and I personally give it 4 thumbs up (if I had that many)!

Burgers on the Run’s Overall Score: 82/100
Burgers on the Run is worth checking out if you catch them open, but have a Plan B in place. I recommend the food carts over by Ninkasi and The Board. Enjoy!

Do you want James and Jerome to review your cheeseburgers? We happily accept free food in exchange for an unbiased review. Email us at if interested.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Chingu Cheeseburger Review

Welcome to our new blog. This is a joint production of James and Jerome, a father-son duo that loves cheeseburgers and fries. We are going to slowly review all of the cheeseburgers Eugene has to offer, and Bucky the Toddler and Erin the Wife may occasionally tag along. Today, we review Chingu.

Chingu is a restaurant that is dear to our hearts. Oddly enough, though, that is not why we chose it as our first place to review. We actually did a Yelp search for the highest-rated burger place in Eugene, and Chingu came up. We used to live nearby and would stop in every week or two. The owner, Mike, loved to come to our table and make Bucky the Toddler crack up by making silly faces. In fact, when we came in for this review, he immediately asked, “Where’s your wife?”

Unfortunately, Chingu is closing its doors on July 31, 2016. Mike did not seem too interested in talking about it. He just handed me one of his patented newsletters (see below.) Here is how Chingu’s cheeseburger stacks up:

Cheeseburger 23/25
Jerome and I both ordered the Mega Size Cheese Burger, which consists of two one-third-pound patties, two slices of cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, and a Thousand Island-like special sauce. They don’t ask you how you want your burger done, but that was fine. It turned out to be medium well and incredibly juicy. The burger melts on your tongue.
Just add ketchup.
Fries 22/25
They serve waffle fries (or criss-cut fries) that come unseasoned. I generally like my fries seasoned with at least a little salt, but I can totally understand why they would leave the level of sodium intake to the customer. There was a salt shaker on the table to remedy the situation. Anyway, Bucky ate most of our fries, so they were clearly good.
The fry thief at work.
Cost 23/25
Mega Size Cheese Burgers cost $8 with fries included. As a fat man, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it filled me up even with Bucky eating most of my fries. With the tip (well worth having someone bring your food to you and bus your table), it was quite affordable in today’s economy.

Ambiance 15/15
Chingu’s décor and branding have always confused me. For one, they serve amazing Korean food (I strongly recommend the Stonebowl Bibimbap) and soul food alongside their delicious burgers. In fact, they are also commonly known as “Burger Lovers” and still have signs with that branding. With this menu, what kind of décor would you expect? If you guessed framed paintings of cartoonish Italian chefs, you would be spot on! At first, we thought the place was a front for some sort of mob operation because there are several cameras throughout the restaurant.

Another reason we thought it had to be a front was that there was rarely anyone there. In fact, when we went at around 11:30 on a Friday morning, we were the only people in the restaurant. I kind of like the weirdness of it.

Service 10/10
The servers are very attentive to the customers’ needs and are willing to bend over backwards to accommodate. We have never had anything but the best service at Chingu.

Jerome’s Review
Korean food and burgers, an interesting combination if you ask me. And Chingu is an interesting place, so the array of food they serve is fitting. I’ve eaten there many times before, and I feel that every time the food tastes a little better and is a little more filling than the last time I ate there. Mike the owner and head chef at Chingu, will always have a special place in my heart because of his kindness and knack for making the best burgers and Korean food in the whole Eugene area. Mike would also write newsletters to his customers telling of the events taking place in his life at the time as well as asking for advice on how he could make his food better. In conclusion, Chingu, the best burger and Korean food joint in all of Eugene may be closing on the 31st, but it will always live on in our hearts and our stomachs.
Cheeseburger bliss.
Chingu’s Overall Score: 93/100
We strongly encourage you to check out Chingu before they close. Just don’t go on Saturdays: that is the only day they are closed. Enjoy!
This is Chingu's final newsletter.
Do you want James and Jerome to review your cheeseburgers? We happily accept free food in exchange for an unbiased review. Email us at if interested.