In preparation for a burger crawl among the PortlandFood.org people (see link, you're all welcome to come), I hit three burger places in the last 3 days: Humdinger, Mike's Drive-In, and Char-Burger (in Cascade Locks).
We had the fish and chips and the deluxe with American cheese at Humdinger. Fish and chips weren't very good. Dense, heavy breading, blah fish, and we got the country fries (jo jos), which were terrible. They do have vinegar on the tables. The burger was better, but still not good. The beef was fast food quality, with that bit of chewiness. It was cooked correctly for a griddled burger classic burger (nicely browned, not dry, but not pink). Their normal fries weren't very good either. Only slightly crispy with a dry, starchy flavor inside. They were the Ore-Ida ribbed for no one's pleasure variety. The bun, though griddled, was soggy. The tomatoes tasted like they spent too long in the fridge from the first day off the vine.
Mike's Drive-In was much better. Very good classic burger. We got a deluxe cheeseburger, 4 piece fish and chips, and a raspberry shake. I think the burger could be browned a little more, and imo a double would be a better ratio of meat to stuff (though my wife disagreed), but otherwise it was pretty good. It didn't have that chewiness to the meat that suggests more meat than un-named parts. The fish and chips were pretty decent as well. I think they were panko crusted halibut. The halibut was moist and had a nice flavor. I didn't notice them being overly greasy. The fries were classic McDonald's style and were done pretty well. Were they any better than McDonald's? No, probably not. But I don't think they were worse. The shake was pretty good. They used real fruit (as evidenced by the seeds in my teeth) and have a variety of flavors, some seasonal, and some local. (btw, they had a buffalo burger on their menu temporarily which might be worth trying since buffalo has a more intense beefiness.)
Char-burger was actually my wife's favorite burger of the three. It was probably the most expensive, but I didn't keep track of the prices. (I know Humdinger and Mike's seem fairly cheap, as in, under $5 for 1/4 lb burger and fries.) I don't know if I'd get anything else at Char-Burger though. We got the burger, fries, pecan pie, and salad bar. The salad was pretty weak and many of the items didn't taste right. The pecan pie was sweet and not flavorful enough. The fries were okay, but not good. The burger, though, came on a very nicely toasted bun and had a slight char to it. I don't know that it tasted anymore grilled than a whopper, but I think any grilling helps. The meat wasn't noticably unpleasant like at Humdinger.
I might try to hit one or two bar/tavern places around. I'll post the list of places we've talked about. Any comments would be greatly appreciated.