These days it seems the coolest place for Portland eateries to expand to is downtown Eugene. Joining Voodoo Doughnut, Townshend's Tea and Sizzle Pie is Portland’s Killer Burger — the kind of joint that puts bacon on everything. And that tells you what kind of place you’re dealing with: This is food-challenge territory; not for the faint of heart, the timid eater, or Morrissey fans; the kind of place that calls its doubles “fatty,” small portions “girlie,” veggie options “metro” and their happy hour “crazy hour.” This is hangover food for a growing boy or anyone who’s hungry (and carnivorous enough) to eat like one.
Killer Burger’s signature is arguably the Peanut-Butter-Pickle-Bacon Burger (sweet and savory bacon, smoky house sauce, mayo, grilled onion and pickle). The peanut butter is house made. Also on the menu are exotic flavors like the Black Molly (smoky house sauce, grilled onion, Philly steak, provolone, brined green chilies, mayo and bacon). All burgers are served with fries.
But Ryan Reyna, manager of Killer Burger’s Eugene location, says what truly sets Killer Burger apart is the focus on employees. “If you’re happy eating a burger it’s going to taste better than when you’re sad,” Reyna jokes, continuing: “Our whole philosophy is if the employees are happy then the customers are happy. If you come in on any given day and look back into the kitchen — we’re going to be laughing.”
This ethos spills over into Killer Burger’s fun, rock ‘n’ roll interior — an appropriate neighbor to Sizzle Pie’s gritty and urban aesthetic. To go along with your burgers, you can get soft drinks, local beers — including the delicious, Killer Burger-brewed Bloodshed Red — and mixed drinks. There’s even a Kid’s Killer Basket for the little ones in your life.
So how’re the burgers? I admit I was skeptical about the Peanut-Butter-Pickle-Bacon Burger. I love all those things alone, but together — on a burger — it just doesn’t seem right. But when in Rome, order what the locals are eating, and soon, placed before me was a compact burger on a soft bun that dissolved into a delicious mix of grease, creamy peanut butter and bacon.
While I don’t think anyone lacking the metabolism of a hummingbird should eat that burger very often (without consulting a medical professional), I’m a convert. The juicy beef and interplay of creamy, salty peanut butter and crunchy bacon and pickle alongside grilled onion was like an erotic hot-tub mouth party — but less creepy.
In the little over two months since opening, Reyna says Killer Burger’s business has been brisk in Eugene’s revitalized downtown, especially for the weekend after-hours crowd spilling from nearby bars and clubs.
Killer Burger is located at 50 W. Broadway and its hours are Monday through Thursday 11 am to 10 pm and Friday and Saturday 11 am to 2 am. Killer Burger is closed on Sundays for us all to recover. For more info and to check out the full menu, go to killerburger.biz.