Pioneer Square Gets an Old-School Burger Joint

An experienced restaurant duo aims to satisfy a need for great burgers in Pioneer Square
FRIES WITH THAT: Megan Coombes has perfected the sauce/burger/bun ratio on her smashed patty burgers; potatoes, fried in beef fat, are essential

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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