5339 SE Foster Rd
Portland, Oregon 97206
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily
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Lunch money: $$-$$$
Although I’ve known of the existence of Foster Burger since they opened in late 2009, I’d yet had the opportunity to make the trek into deep SE Portland until last week…and my visit was actually by accident.
You see, I was headed home from Happy Valley (a misnomer if there ever was one) and had planned to check out a popular noodle spot on 82nd, but then something came over me, a craving for a burger and fries. As I crossed over Foster Road, something from my subconscious said: “Make a u-turn and go to Foster Burger.”
So I did.
I easily found a parking spot (street parking only, but it doesn’t seem too tough to find spots) and my friend and I headed in with high expectations.
OK, I know this is a gritty part of town and I’m no stranger to the “weird” underbelly of this cray-cray city, but I was still a little surprised by the location of this widely praised “family-friendly” place. It’s two doors down from Devil’s Point strip club and across the street from a Fantasy Video and a place called Pussycats (which offers lingerie “modeling”).
That aside, Foster Burger is a pretty cool spot. The walls are covered with old concert handbills, the booths are comfy and the dim lighting sets a cozy tone.
We arrived right before the rush, snagged a booth and our server was promptly there to drop off the menus.
Foster Burger’s menu is simple: burgers, fries and some sides (this is a burger place, after all).
If you go the traditional burger route, you’ll pick your burger size and add-on any number of the topping options (from the basics like cheese to more eccentric items like pickled beets). The menu also offers a few preset specialty burgers. One thing to know when ordering is all burgers are cooked medium unless you request otherwise to the waiter.
I went with the standard Foster Burger (plus Cheddar, minus onion) and my lunch pal ordered the burger of the day, the Miss Piggy. The Miss Piggy is a belly-buster, with the beef patty topped with pork belly, bacon, pastrami, Swiss and American cheese. Whoa!
Because the burgers come sans sides, we decided to split an order of the Black and White Fries (topped with parmesan, truffle oil and served with a house made squid ink aioli dipping sauce).
Our Black and White Fries were deposited at out table before the burgers arrived, appetizer like. The fries were perfectly crunchy-yet-tender and the uber-black dipping sauce was initially daunting, but ultimately delicious. The one downside to having the fries arrive first is trying to resist the urge to over-snack before your burgers. Note: The burgers are BIG! So try to resist.
Our burgers arrived perfectly cooked, with just a little pink in the middle. My burger was cheesy, juicy and mouth-watering. This is NOT the place to worry about counting calories. On top of that, literally, the buttery brioche-style sesame bun is excellent (and made next door at An Xuyen Bakery). The side of special “Foster sauce” was great on the burger AND on the fries.
After my share of fries, I could only get through half of my burger (the other half was a decidedly satisfying late-night snack).
My pal’s Miss Piggy burger was massive and he thoroughly enjoyed every last bite. You’ll need to be hungry to tackle that one!
One thing that especially delights me about Foster Burger is that they offer poutine. Not familiar? Poutine is the French-Canadian delicacy of fries covered with cheese curds and then doused in gravy. Sound gooey good? It is! And you’ll be in poutine heaven at Foster Burger because they offer SIX different varieties. That might be a record number of options outside of the Maple Leaf country.
Sadly, I took a pass on the poutine that visit, but it’s on my ‘must-eat’ list for a future trip to Foster Burger.
Another thing I really like about Foster Burger is that you can control the portions you order. If even a “regular” sized burger is too much (and it is a lot), you can order the Mini Foster. If you’re extra famished, then there’s the Double Foster.
As for veggie options, well, there’s a veggie burger and an entrée-sized green salad—and that’s about it.
There are adult drinks aplenty at Foster Burger, from specialty cocktails to draft microbrews to their signature “cockshakes”—a milkshake with a shot of your choice. As for soda, you should know the colas are Royal Crown, which seem to have a love it or hate it relationship with Portland cola drinkers.
Overall, Foster Burger is a fun burger joint that caters to the neighborhood crowd, SE hipster and (it seems) parents. It might not be the burger place for everyone, but I’m certain I’ll be back!
– Portions are as small or as big as you want!
– The yummy buns practically melt in your mouth
– Sketchy neighborhood
– Can get crowded; avoid peak dining times if you don’t want to wait