A Whole Herd of Grass-Fed Burgers

From tzatziki-topped gyro burgers to gluten-free masterpieces, Portland-area restaurants are beefing up their pasture-raised offerings.

By Allison Jones November 4, 2014

Thanks to the growing awareness of the health and sustainability benefits of pasture-raised meats, it's getting easier and easier for savvy diners to get their burger fix complete with a grass-fed patty. Here are nine spots to find grass-fed, grass-finished beef between a bun in Portland. 

Bar Maven
6219 SE Foster Rd; 503-384-2079

This new bar and craft beer hub in Foster/Powell is decked in locally reclaimed wood, and offers burgers and Middle Easter nosh like falafel, "Lebanese Empanadas," tzatziki-topped gyros. The Maven's 1/2 burgers are made with grass-fed, grass-finished beef from Eugene's Bartels Farms. Diners can top those pastured patties with gyro meat, bacon chipotle tzatziki sauce, veggies, cheese, or caramelized onion and mushrooms. 

Grass-fed burger at Southeast Portland's Harvester Brewing.

Ground Breaker Brewing
2030 SE 7th Ave; 503-928-4195

With Ground Breaker Brewing (formerly known as Harvester), James Neumeister raised the bar for American gluten-free beers. Now, with a new pub menu, he’s trying to do the same for beer-friendly food. In the kitchen, chef Neil Davidson—a former line cook at Thomas Keller’s lauded Ad Hoc—makes use of just a few hot plates, a sandwich press, and a convection oven to bring a white-tablecloth pedigree to Portland’s first gluten-free gastropub. His well-seasoned grass-fed-beef burger, loaded with Beecher’s cheddar, caramelized onions, whole-grain beer mustard, and tomato marmalade, sits on a made-in-Portland gluten-free bun.

Timbers Doghouse PDX

It's said that you can't please all the people all the time, but Timber Adamson's food cart is certainly trying. Offering 1/3 pound grass-fed beef burgers, housemade vegan and soy-free patties, gluten-free buns (a sign says they're celiac friendly), hand ground chicken patties, and Paleo-friendly burger salads in addition to hangover-friendly loaded tater tots, there really is something at this big red truck for everyone. 

The French Onion 'Zisou' Burger at Dick's Kitchen

Dick's Kitchen
704 NW 21st Ave; 503-206-5916
3312 SE Belmont St; 503-235-0146

Plastered with portraits of Richard Nixon, Richard Burton, Dick Van Dyke, and other noteworthy namesakes, Dick’s Kitchen—owned by New York native and Yankees fan Richard Satnick, founder of the Laughing Planet empire—focuses on classic diner fare like burgers, sausages, and sandwiches, but with a twist: beef is local and grass-fed; buns, ketchup, mustard, and special sauces are made in-house; and vegan options abound. Each burger boasts a five-ounce, lightly seasoned patty from Carman Ranch in Oregon’s Wallowa Valley. A quick sear in a super-hot cast-iron skillet seals in a wealth of flavors and juices while simultaneously caramelizing onions smooshed into the patty.

Sasquatch Brewing
6440 SW Capitol Hwy; 503-402-1999

If your weird uncle polished up his floors to a high sheen, bought a bunch of brewing equipment and a whole warehouse full of classy wooden furniture, and started cranking out deep-fried kimchi pickles, beer can chicken, and 100% grass-fed burgers made with beef raised on pastures fifty miles south of Seattle, his place would probably look a lot like Sasquatch Brewing Company, the gastropub located out on Capitol Highway. It’s family-friendly vibe, far from detracting, adds to the allure of this refurbished Portland rambler.

Besaw's burger loaded with bacon and eggs

2301 NW Savier St; 503-228-2619

A Northwest 23rd brunch institution, this cozy eatery is also ground-zero for a great burger made with grass-fed ground. The 100% grass-fed, grass-finished patties are layered with white cheddar, oven-roasted tomato, lettuce, red onion, and pickles—and extra-hungry burger lovers can add on bacon, avocado, fried eggs, or Rogue Oregon Bleu.

Industrial Cafe and Saloon
2572 NW Vaughn St; 503-227-7002

Not to be outdone by other grass-fed-sourcing eateries, this Northwest Portland standby raises the bar by raising the beef—their own beef, that is, on a ranch in St. Helens, with 40 head of pasture-fed cattle. These happy cows are 100% grass-fed all year long, before landing on a plate topped with bacon, fried eggs, guacamole, or deep-fried jalapeños.

Zeus Cafe at McMenamins Crystal Hote/Ringler's Annex
303 SW 12th Ave; 503-384-2500

The burgers at these neighboring West Burnside outposts of the McMenimins empire are made with NW Grass Fed cattle raised outside of Seattle and topped with tomato bacon jam, wood-fired onion, butter lettuce, and Beecher’s cheddar on a poppy seed brioche bunBest of all? You can nab a grass-fed burger for just $8 at happy hour, 2 pm ’til 5:30 pm daily. 

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