Best Restaurants 2018: Burger Time

Portland's Best New Restaurants 2018: Super Deluxe Is Our Answer to In-N-Out

Micah Camden's drive-through brings together all walks for burgers, fries, and fizzy waters.

By Benjamin Tepler October 10, 2018 Published in the November 2018 issue of Portland Monthly

Super Deluxe standbys—the Double Deluxe, Chicken Deluxe, and fizzy waters

8 a.m. Boisterous kids clamber over the gray booths; their well-heeled parents thumb phones and suck down giant Stumptown cold brews. Neither can keep their hands off Super Deluxes red trays loaded with yolk-oozing English muffin sandwiches and hot paper pockets crammed with crunchy tater tot medallions.

NOON Construction workers, freshly spackled, queue behind oil-stained auto mechanics, chattering about this new “Super Duper Burger” place while waiting their turn to order juicy, dark-crusted fried chicken sandwiches layered with tart pickles and mayo.

7 p.m. Lines jam the front door, with the drive-through parade nearly blocking traffic on SE Powell Boulevard. Seemingly everyone, from Beaverton to Gresham, has arrived for the evening burger pilgrimage.

11 p.m. Glassy-eyed skater punks, pungent drifters, and, yes, the staff from Taco Bell across the street all hunch over the Double Deluxe: two griddled, crispy-edged patties in a potato bun, slathered in proprietary special sauce, and embalmed in American cheese—the whole thing turned on its side to face the customer like a grinning heart attack.

This is a typical day at Super Deluxe, Portland’s new answer to In-N-Out from Blue Star Donuts firebrand Micah Camden and partner Matt Lynch. It’s also the great fast-food equalizer, drawing one of the city’s most varied crowds. The secret formula? Super Deluxe taps into the cultishness of beloved regional burger chains (In-N-Out, Shake Shack, and Dick’s, to name a few), the allure of responsibly raised Northwest meat and eggs, and the bottom line ($5.75 for a double) that wins over Foster-Powell’s fast-food culture.

Are there problems? You don’t open a drive-through on Powell after a decade of millennial-geared fast-casual thinking without a few rough patches—consistency, long wait times, and general cleanliness. But this burger joint is evolving every day, like the supercomputer from War Games. Will there be more Super Deluxes? Almost certainly. Should Burgerville be worried? Absolutely. 

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