In 2009, when Jeremy Sivers’s grandmother passed away, he found a box in her basement that held a relic he had almost forgotten: a business plan for a burger restaurant he wrote when he was 16, complete with menus. “I hadn’t even remembered,” he says. “When I was 17, I had my first burger cook job at Roake’s, and I knew I could do it better. So I ended up doing that.”
Hit the Spot started as a father-son project between Jeremy and his son, Elijah, who is now a student at the University of Oregon. The two of them would sell burgers at the Montavilla Farmers Market — simple burgers done well, made with Oregon beef. When they opened their cart in 2018, they sold out in about an hour. But opening a food cart was never the finish line; Sivers wanted to open a restaurant.
This year, he will. Hit the Spot will take over the former Brunch Box space on Southeast Morrison this spring, expanding his menu to include fried chicken sandwiches and milkshakes. After that, he’ll begin opening Hit the Spot drive-thrus in places like Gresham, Happy Valley, and Bethany Village.
Hit the Spot’s first restaurant will feel familiar to those who visit the cart: The restaurant will still serve the cart’s famous 2x2s, 3x3s, and 4x4 burgers, with toppings like honey-glazed bacon. The restaurant will also offer hot dogs with optional add-ons like Coney sauce and nacho cheese, and fried chicken sandwiches — a short-lived item at the cart in the past. “We tried to do chicken out of our current spot, and it’s just really hard,” Sivers says. “We have really limited space.”
When it comes to beverages, Hit the Spot will offer milkshakes in classic flavors like chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry, as well as local beers on tap. “Everyone in Portland loves IPAs, so I think we’d be a fool not to have them,” he says.
The space will seat 50 indoors with covered picnic tables outside, but Hit the Spot will also offer takeout and delivery at the main restaurant. Sivers will install flat-screen tvs for sports, and intends for the restaurant to maintain a family-friendly vibe.
Once it’s up and running for about six months, Hit the Spot will focus on opening restaurants focused on takeout — namely, drive-thrus. He’s eyeing locations in Oregon City, Gresham, and Happy Valley, but Bethany Village would likely be the first; he’s specifically looking for suburbs that are over-populated with chains, to provide some local charm in greater Portland. “There’s a real demand for drive-thrus, so that’s where our focus will be,” he says. “Same exact menu, I want every single hit the spot to be the same. You can get a chicken burger, cheeseburger, two beers, and as long as the straw hole isn’t punctured, we can serve it just like that.”’
Once Sivers opens his restaurant, Hit the Spot’s cart will retire, but no one should expect a lapse in Hit the Spot this year. “We’ve had a dozen people make offers on the cart already, but we won’t give away the keys until the restaurant is open,” Sivers says.
Hit the Spot will open at 676 SE Morrison St between mid-May and June.