Food & Drink

Pioneer Square Gets an Old-School Burger Joint

An experienced restaurant duo aims to satisfy a need for great burgers in Pioneer Square

By Chelsea Lin May 6, 2019


This article originally appeared in the May 2019 issue of Seattle magazine.

This article appears in print in the May 2019 issue. Click here to subscribe.

“I never thought I’d open a burger place,” says chef Megan Coombes, who has—you guessed it—opened a burger place. Meg’s Hamburgers, an old-school charmer on a corner lot in Pioneer Square, launched in December.

Although she humbly says she never had a recipe for the kind of backyard burger worth building a restaurant around, Coombes is no stranger to making meat that diners adore: Sausages and schnitzel star on the menu of Altstadt, the other Pioneer Square restaurant she runs with business partner Lex Petras.

The simple, smashed-patty burger served at Meg’s pays homage to all the burgers Coombes has loved, from when she was a child eating at Burgerville in the Portland area to her college years devouring In-N-Out burgers in Los Angeles and a love affair with those served at Shake Shack during her stint in New York City. She admits to loving the higher-end burgers at Lecosho and Palace Kitchen, but ultimately “wanted something craveable and easily accessible for people,” meaning a price point that is easier to swallow. Diner-style, fast-food burgers are “such a simple thing that can be so good,” she says.

The Meg’s deluxe ($5) is on point: a thin, crispy-edged beef patty—add the American cheese for $1 extra—with Coombes’ signature mustard-based sauce, ketchup, lettuce, red onions and pickles on a toasted bun. Though the decor is retro diner and the food similarly nostalgic, you’ll find a few touches that give a nod to Coombes’ experience as a chef. Fries ($3) are fried in beef fat (though there is a vegan option upon request) for optimal flavor and texture, and heavily salted. The ratio of sauce to meat to bun to cheese is no accident; Coombes says she stressed over getting this right for each of the burgers, which is why there are no substitutions allowed.

Pioneer Square, 200 S Jackson St.; 206.682.7785

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