NORTH BEND — Sports editor John Gunther and I are making a habit of finding burgers in places that I usually don't associate with burgers.
I was looking for a restaurant to do our penultimate burger stop, and came across The Pancake Mill.
I know, like most of us, I only associate The Pancake Mill with breakfast, but I also know they are open until 3 p.m. every day. So I went rummaging through their online menu and found the sandwich and burger sections. To my amazement they have six burgers, seven if you count the Garden Veggie Burger they have on their expansive Meat-free Selections portion of the menu.
The Tower Burger is their basic hamburger with an Angus beef patty and the usual trimmings, leaf lettuce, onions and tomato (pickles come on the side as part of a plate garnish).
The Windwheel is the Tower Burger with your choice of cheddar or Swiss.
The Geneartor gives you choice of cheeses and also a choice of ham or bacon.
Then they have a Pepperjack Avocado Burger, a Patty Melt and a Chiliburger.
The Pancake Mill's Chiliburger is described as: An Angus Beef Patty served open-faced and topped with our 3 Bean Chili, Cheddar Cheese and Onion.
I think this one caught both of our interest. Recently we had a chili contest here at the paper (also a good reason to have a holiday potluck), and we were two of the five entries. (Editor's note: Ron is too humble to mention that he won the trophy for The World's best chili, voted on by World employees at our holiday chili contest.)
Just as a side note, John makes a pretty mean chili. The last two years he's made a venison chili and an elk chili.
John has asked about chili burgers at other establishments, but if the chili isn't made in-house, then he won't order it.
The Pancake Mill makes their own chili, so that was John's order. If he had ordered anything else, this is probably what I would have ordered.
My second pick was the Pepperjack Avocado Burger, which is what its name suggests.
The pepperjack avocado burger at The Pancake Mill. From the bottom up, this one is bun, leaf lettuce, tomato, onion, avocado, Angus patty, pep…
I was very pleased with my burger. The bun was among the best I've had and true to its name, there was plenty of avocado in there. I've had burgers before when you only get a little avocado, but Pancake Mill had enough so I got some avocado in each bite.
John said his chili burger was very good (he still likes his chili better) and said the meat was done very nicely.
Don't bother asking for fries, they don't have a deep fryer at the Pancake Mill.
If you want a side dish to go with your burger, it will cost you $3.50 and your choices include: soup, green salad, spinach salad, cottage cheese, potato salad, hashed browns or fresh fruit. The price of the burgers ranges from $9.40 (Tower) to $11.80 (Generator).
Our meal, with the two burgers, a Diet Coke and an iced tea ran $28.30.