New Burger Joint
Next Level Burger was a new eating experience that surprised us with its concept and the taste of its burgers.
Last Saturday my husband, two sons and I, made a spontaneous trip to Portland to watch the State Championship lacrosse game. We knew that we would need to grab a quick dinner before the game. Therefore, before we left home I did a Google search for healthy restaurants close to the game venue (West Linn High School). In my last post, 4 STEPS ON HOW TO EAT HEALTHY WHILE TRAVELING, I explained how doing a little research ahead of time saves us a lot of angst and frustration when it comes time to find a healthy place to eat. Although there were several options, Next Level Burger best fit our time and location constraints. Additionally, it is a burger joint and my guys were all over that!
Next Level Burger
Next Level Burger has the philosophy that food should be sustainably sourced, organic, non-GMO and delicious and that spoke to me. Looking at a photo of their menu board online we saw traditional to unique burger choices. Descriptive words like “savory meaty patty” and “juicy sausage style patty” appealed to my guys. A place concerned with the quality of their ingredients surely could tell me what has or doesn’t have soy in its ingredients. So, we left Bend with our dinner destination agreed upon.
With stomachs growling we pulled into the parking lot. The guys were looking forward to the burgers ( I think they were starting to salivate) and I just wanted a soy, gluten, and dairy free meal.
Expectations Shot Down With a Single Word
The cheerful woman behind the counter greeted us with a lively “hello” and asked, “Are you familiar with Next Level Burger?” We must have looked like deer in headlights as we were scanning the menu board above the counter. We shook our heads, “No, this is our first time.” She jumped all over that and quickly said, “We are 100% vegan. Let me tell you about our burgers…” Wait, What? Vegan? This was not what my guys had their taste buds set on.
Describing their burgers with words like “meaty and “juicy” made it harder to comprehend the vegan part. Her enthusiasm was evident in how she deciphered the entire menu for us. Although, I think she lost Rikley and Keaton at “vegan”.
Try Something New
Without time to come up with a plan B, we were willing to try something new even if it wasn’t at all what we had envisioned. Besides, we have cut our meat consumption at home considerably and have been enjoying many vegan meals. Rob and the boys placed their orders for burgers with sweet potato fries.
I consulted with the woman helping us, explaining my dietary restrictions, and chose a quinoa-black chia seed patty on a bed of lettuce. No bun, no tempeh smokey bacon and no egg-free mayo. She asked if I wanted NL-cheese on my burger. I quickly said, “No dairy, thank you.” She immediately reminded me of the whole vegan thing. Was it the three plus hour drive we made to get there or my grumbling stomach that was making it so hard for me to understand that the ENTIRE menu, even the shakes, is vegan?
Long Story Short
Here is the quick synopsis:
- We were traveling (again).
- A Google search led us to a healthy, organic, burger joint called Next Level Burger.
- To our surprise it turned out to be a vegan restaurant.
- We ate our vegan burgers in the car before the lacrosse game.
- Filling and flavorful the burgers were completely devoured without a single complaint. Not a single crumb was left in the compostable take out boxes.
- I was much happier without a greasy burger. In retrospect, my only regret is that I was pressed for time and couldn’t savor it while I ate.
- The sweet potato fries were some of the best I’ve ever had.
- I am eager and the guys are willing to try again.
Next Level Burger wants to redefine the classic American burger experience. Therefore, if you are looking to increase your intake of plant-based foods then Next Level Burger is the place to go. This particular NLB is inside the 365 by Whole Foods concept store in Lake Oswego, Oregon. In addition, you can also find them on SE Hawthorne Street in Portland, and opening in August at Roosevelt Square in Seattle. Lucky for us, their flagship store opened almost three years ago in Bend. So, we may have another opportunity to try Next Level Burger in the near future.
My meal was very satisfying, and I will definitely go again. Maybe I’ll try one of their beautiful salads or a different kind of patty. Committed to “good food, good people and good for the planet” this place speaks to me. My guys liked their meals and would try it again knowing ahead of time that they won’t be eating a beef burger.
Don’t Judge A Burger By Its Vegetables
There is a moral to this story. Veering out of your food comfort zone can lead you to a new experience with a tasty outcome and a healthy alternative to a familiar food.