Earlier this year, Katherine Benvenuti — the pastry mind behind Fills Donuts, the soon-to-reopen Tasty’s pastry program, and the late-great Bakery at Bar King — started experimenting. Fills, a Berliner shop in downtown Portland, makes a brioche doughnut bun for a breakfast sandwich, but the shop wasn’t selling enough of the breakfast sandwiches to use up the buns. So, Benvenuti starting bringing the buns home for family burger night. They were a hit.
“I make them for my kids all the time,” Benvenuti says. “You’re just taking brioche and making it a little more elevated, for a down-and-dirty burger.”
Now, Portlanders can buy the brioche doughnut burgers at Fills for themselves. From 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Fills sells Oregon-raised beef burgers slathered with chili aioli on brioche burger buns. The burger pop-up, running until June 20, is a test-drive for the next phase of Fills: The downtown location will close temporarily while the Fills team opens its new location in Lake Oswego, but when it reopens, it’ll serve burgers, soft-serve sundaes, and crullers for the late-night crowd.
The Fills burger stays pretty simple: The brioche doughnut bun gets re-toasted “so they’re so crunchy-crispy,” in Benvenuti’s words, plus a slather of chili aioli, pickles, tomato, lettuce, a Country Natural beef patty, and American cheese, available as either a single or a double with a pile of fries. That burger is $3.49, with an additional $1.50 tacked on for a double. “I wanted to take it back to more of the nostalgic burger, growing up in California eating at In N Out all the time,” she says.
After the 20th, the downtown restaurant will go on hiatus, but the party will continue on at the Fills location in Lake Oswego, which opens July 1. Those familiar with Fills know all about its elaborate doughnuts, coming in flavors like maple bacon butterscotch or yuzu Sichuan peppercorn. The new location will introduce a new element to the mix: Soft-serve, with sundaes utilizing ingredients from the doughnuts. For example, the team will serve a salted caramel sundae with salted caramel pastry cream, chocolate sauce, and marcona almonds, using the same cream and almonds from the shop’s salted caramel Berliner. The shop will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., serving doughnuts until they sell out; by lunchtime, the shop will be flipping burgers and swirling soft serve. Then, once Fills settles in down south, the original location will reopen, serving doughnuts in the morning, followed by burgers, crullers, and soft-serve in the evening.
“Something that’s so fun about fills is waking up in the morning frying off doughnuts, but I also love the late-night crowd,” she says. “I’m so excited, I miss the soft-serve and burgers of my childhood.”
For now, Fills is selling burgers at its downtown location, 1237 SW Washington Street.
• Fills Donuts [Official]
• Fills PDX [Instagram]
• Fills Donuts, Others Heading to a New Development in Lake Oswego [EPDX]