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Three burgers sit in a line at Dick’s Primal Burger
Various burgers from Dick’s Primal Burger, which offers both boar and venison for its burgers
Dick’s Primal Burger [Official]

Where to Find Wildly Tasty Game Burgers in Portland

Patties made with venison, lamb, boar, and more

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Various burgers from Dick’s Primal Burger, which offers both boar and venison for its burgers
| Dick’s Primal Burger [Official]

Oregon, as a state, is very game-friendly — it even hosts a food festival dedicated to it. So, it’s no surprise that Portland home to several restaurants, bars, and food carts serving lamb, boar, elk, or venison, whether it’s in a chili, plated as a steak with sunchokes, or, in the case of this map, ground into a patty and flipped on a grill. Truly wild proteins, like venison, have a far smaller carbon footprint than beef, and that grassy, funky flavor of game is hard to replicate elsewhere. The map below includes everything from simply adorned house-ground lamb patties to venison burgers topped with shoyu-marinated pineapple. Per usual, this map isn’t ranked; it’s organized geographically.

Note: Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Swift and Union

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Ken “Zig” Naffziger opened up this Kenton neighborhood restaurant in 2015 and since then, the lamb burger has been a regular favorite. Swift and Union grinds its lamb in-house for a patty cooked medium-well, simply adorned with arugula, dijon, and pickled red onion. Swift & Union is open for indoor and outdoor service, as well as takeout.

The Old Gold

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Located in the Overlook neighborhood, the Old Gold is known for its casual vibe and whiskey selection. The bar’s elk burger arrives topped with smoked gouda and bacon-and-date jam, which gives it a great smoky sweetness; the garlic-herb mayo adds a nice creaminess, without weighing down the Durham Ranch patty. The Old Gold is open for outdoor and indoor dining, as well as takeout.

Southland Whiskey Kitchen

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Southland Whiskey Kitchen is mostly known for its whiskey selection; however, chef Shan Gray’s food menu should not be ignored, especially Southland’s venison burger. Southland’s local venison patty, sourced from Nicky Farms USA, is blended with garlic and rosemary, served on an herb-butter bun. The pickle mustard mayonnaise complements the pronounced flavor of the venison; it pairs well with pretty much any whiskey behind the bar. Southland is open for onsite dining, takeout, and delivery.

River Pig Saloon

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This Pearl District bar, with its pseudo-Western aesthetic and lively clientele, tops its organic bison patty with bacon, caramelized onion, and pepper jack, with a hearty swipe of garlic mayo on a pillowy brioche bun. It’s best paired with the bar’s Old Fashioned, stirred with a fig-maple balsamic. River Pig is open for onsite dining, indoors or out.

Deschutes Brewery & Public House

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Do not overlook the elk burger at Deschutes’ downtown Portland location. Durham Ranch provides the third-of-a-pound, juicy elk patty, highlighted by the nuttiness of Gruyere cheese and the salty-sour of beer-brined pickles. The crispy onions on top also give the burger a nice crunch. Deschutes is open for dine-in, curbside pickup, and delivery.

Tabor Tavern

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Neighbors greet each other warmly upon walking into Tabor neighborhood standby, eventually sitting down to casual comfort food — including a knockout lamb burger. Tabor Tavern’s juicy lamb patty is complemented by feta and arugula; however, the slightly smoky red pepper harissa sets it over the top. Tabor Tavern is open for indoor and outdoor dining, as well as takeout.

The Observatory

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The Observatory opened in 2008 and quickly became a Montavilla neighborhood favorite, with an eclectic menu that includes both a lamb burger and a chipotle elk burger. The chipotle elk burger is a particular standout: The six-ounce elk patty gets a little heat and smokiness from a well-balanced chipotle mayo, with a pile crispy onions for texture. The Observatory is open for onsite dining indoors or out, as well as takeout.

This Woodstock’s cafe, naturally, serves its Cattail Creek lamb burger open-faced on toast as a part of its happy hour menu, accompanied by roasted red pepper and caramelized onions. Happy hour runs from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., only available for onsite dining indoors or outdoors.

Dick's Primal Burger

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There is no shortage of game burger options at this Paleo-centric diner. Venison and boar appear among the laundry list of potential proteins available on its BYO Burger; diners can choose from assortment of cheeses — think: blue, cheddar, goat, Swiss — and add toppings like grilled onions, kimchi, or pineapple. Those who would prefer to leave the burger design to the professionals can opt for a venison burger with grilled mushrooms and goat cheese, or a wild boar burger with shoyu-marinated pineapple and pepper jack cheese. Dick’s is open for takeout and delivery.

Swift and Union

Ken “Zig” Naffziger opened up this Kenton neighborhood restaurant in 2015 and since then, the lamb burger has been a regular favorite. Swift and Union grinds its lamb in-house for a patty cooked medium-well, simply adorned with arugula, dijon, and pickled red onion. Swift & Union is open for indoor and outdoor service, as well as takeout.

The Old Gold

Located in the Overlook neighborhood, the Old Gold is known for its casual vibe and whiskey selection. The bar’s elk burger arrives topped with smoked gouda and bacon-and-date jam, which gives it a great smoky sweetness; the garlic-herb mayo adds a nice creaminess, without weighing down the Durham Ranch patty. The Old Gold is open for outdoor and indoor dining, as well as takeout.

Southland Whiskey Kitchen

Southland Whiskey Kitchen is mostly known for its whiskey selection; however, chef Shan Gray’s food menu should not be ignored, especially Southland’s venison burger. Southland’s local venison patty, sourced from Nicky Farms USA, is blended with garlic and rosemary, served on an herb-butter bun. The pickle mustard mayonnaise complements the pronounced flavor of the venison; it pairs well with pretty much any whiskey behind the bar. Southland is open for onsite dining, takeout, and delivery.

River Pig Saloon

This Pearl District bar, with its pseudo-Western aesthetic and lively clientele, tops its organic bison patty with bacon, caramelized onion, and pepper jack, with a hearty swipe of garlic mayo on a pillowy brioche bun. It’s best paired with the bar’s Old Fashioned, stirred with a fig-maple balsamic. River Pig is open for onsite dining, indoors or out.

Deschutes Brewery & Public House

Do not overlook the elk burger at Deschutes’ downtown Portland location. Durham Ranch provides the third-of-a-pound, juicy elk patty, highlighted by the nuttiness of Gruyere cheese and the salty-sour of beer-brined pickles. The crispy onions on top also give the burger a nice crunch. Deschutes is open for dine-in, curbside pickup, and delivery.

Tabor Tavern

Neighbors greet each other warmly upon walking into Tabor neighborhood standby, eventually sitting down to casual comfort food — including a knockout lamb burger. Tabor Tavern’s juicy lamb patty is complemented by feta and arugula; however, the slightly smoky red pepper harissa sets it over the top. Tabor Tavern is open for indoor and outdoor dining, as well as takeout.

The Observatory

The Observatory opened in 2008 and quickly became a Montavilla neighborhood favorite, with an eclectic menu that includes both a lamb burger and a chipotle elk burger. The chipotle elk burger is a particular standout: The six-ounce elk patty gets a little heat and smokiness from a well-balanced chipotle mayo, with a pile crispy onions for texture. The Observatory is open for onsite dining indoors or out, as well as takeout.

Toast

This Woodstock’s cafe, naturally, serves its Cattail Creek lamb burger open-faced on toast as a part of its happy hour menu, accompanied by roasted red pepper and caramelized onions. Happy hour runs from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., only available for onsite dining indoors or outdoors.

Dick's Primal Burger

There is no shortage of game burger options at this Paleo-centric diner. Venison and boar appear among the laundry list of potential proteins available on its BYO Burger; diners can choose from assortment of cheeses — think: blue, cheddar, goat, Swiss — and add toppings like grilled onions, kimchi, or pineapple. Those who would prefer to leave the burger design to the professionals can opt for a venison burger with grilled mushrooms and goat cheese, or a wild boar burger with shoyu-marinated pineapple and pepper jack cheese. Dick’s is open for takeout and delivery.

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