A few months ago, USA Today asked me to pick a burger restaurant in Washington state for its “Great American Bites” series. This was a difficult challenge, but as I wasn’t necessarily charged with selecting the best burger, I opted for an iconic experience in choosing Pick-Quick Drive In (which will soon open a branch in Auburn, the first expansion beyond the Fife location).
Many places talk about the toppings they put on their burgers, so I was interested in trying BuiltBurger’s patties, which feature flavors on the inside. Previously available via shipping only (nationwide), owner David Makuen recently decided to open a storefront where the Financial District meets Pioneer Square.
Enter BuiltBurger and you simply walk up to the counter where you’ll find the menu on the wall. Plenty of patties for your choosing; with the variety available, I recommend doing a sampling of three LittleBuilt sliders as a way of finding your favorite(s). Mine turned out to be a beef burger mixed with long-braised short-rib (with horseradish aioli and greens), though the Sriracha special had nice bite to it, complemented by refreshing pickled vegetables.
You’ll find burgers made with pork, pastrami, chorizo, chicken, lamb, and even a vegetarian option. Based on my burger binging this year, I’ve come to realize that I ultimately prefer a slightly charred ground beef patty that falls apart in the mouth (as compared, let’s say, to pork-filled patties that have a slippery, more sausage-like texture), but BuiltBurger offers good quality and fun variety.
The fresh sides are a healthy bonus. Salads the day of my visit were either spinach with pear, cranberry, and almonds, or jicama with orange, cojita cheese, and almonds. More likely, though, you’ll choose some potato action on the side. While the fries are fine (they’re hand-cut), I urge you to try the sensual potato beignets with a dip or two. Curious to know what makes them sensual?