I was saddened when I heard of the closing of The Farmer’s Table, as their special BBQ pulled pork sandwich with bacon and pork belly topped with garlic jack cheese was truly something special, and their French onion soup was one of the best in town. I was equally skeptical of the announcement that another Elevation Burger location would be taking its place. The Old Port had already suffered the encroachment of other chain establishments in recent times such as Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts– did we really need another franchise?
However, my doubt was tempered by the fact that among some of my friends, Elevation Burger is their favorite source for local hot, beefy goodness. And by that, I mean burgers. Based on their recommendations, and in the spirit of always being open to new things, I decided to give EB the benefit of the doubt.
We strolled down to the new location, which had just opened the day before, and we were greeted with an absolute mob scene. Customers were herded down a narrow corridor bordered on one side by wall, one side by a glass partition that shielded the patrons who were already eating in their tiny, cramped booths. It was hard to believe that an entire restaurant used to fit in that same space… it felt small, even by Burger King standards.
$15 later (for a burger, fries, and a drink), I waited for my order along with half a dozen other people, huddled in front of the fountain soda machine, condiments, and hallway to the bathrooms. There was nowhere else to go. We were constantly having to shuffle around as other customers tried to access the drinks, napkins, and restrooms. I looked out across the room of small, crowded tables for what felt like aeons. The space was loud, combining the talk of diners, the shouts of employees handing out orders, and the chaos of the kitchen, exposed as it was like any other fast food chain and packed with figures in blue uniforms.
By the time we got back to the office, we were starving. When we opened our bags, we were greeted by misshapen, dripping sandwiches and stringy, oily fries. Some people are fans of the more anorexic “shoestring” style of potato, but it’s practically the one and only form of the starchy tuber that I do not enjoy, ever since my college days of frequenting Steak & Shake locations in the Midwest. I couldn’t even finish them, despite the fact that I was still hungry after my lackluster burger.
If you are feeling the primal, visceral need for a fast, greasy, oh-so-satisfying pile of meat, you would be much better served going to the excellent (and locally sourced) B.Good just down the street on Exchange St. or the much more spacious, less expensive, and always delicious Five Guys on Fore St. If you have a little more time and money, then I would wholeheartedly suggest checking out the offerings at Sonny’s (my brother’s fav burger in Portland when he came to visit) or LFK (a densely packed, almost meatloaf-esque take on the sandwich, but still very tasty… and the pretzel bun is amazing).
I must also now seriously call into question the judgment of my friends who claimed that Elevation Burger was their favorite burger, as well as re-evaluate our friendships. (Relax, I’m only kidding! Maybe.)
Most-Favorited Dish: Veggie Burger
About half of Page One employees would enthusiastically return to Elevation Burger
Words Used By Our Team to Describe the Experience:
Address: 205 Commercial Street, Portland, ME
Hours: Sunday – Saturday 11am-10pm