Portland’s foodie chains

Trade national brands for their locally owned counterparts with this handy guide.

Blue Star DonutsGourmet brioche doughnuts at Portland's Blue Star.
Wugging Gavagai via Flickr

Portlanders love local businesses, and restaurant chains are no exception. Many of our most popular eateries have three, five or even 10 locations within city limits, making it ridiculously easy to eat local. So the next time you’re craving french fries, why not try truffle fries from Little Big Burger, or Burgerville’s seasonal Walla Walla onion rings? They’re just as quick and convenient, and even more delicious!

Burgers

If you like: In-N-Out
You’ll love: Little Big Burger

Locations: 8

Like In-N-Out, Little Big Burger limits its menu to the essentials: truffle fries, root beer floats and quarter-pounders made with pasture-raised beef and a choice of five local cheeses. Burgers lovers can also pop open a good mix of canned beers. There’s even a secret menu: Sub a lettuce wrap for a bun, add bacon to your veggie burger or remove the “root” from that root beer float.

If you like: Five Guys
You’ll love: Burgerville

Locations: 42 (11 in Portland)

Burgerville flipped its first patty back in 1961 and now boasts more than 40 locations, all within two hours of Portland. The fast food chain is a favorite for its scrumptious seasonal menu, with regionally sourced specials like Oregon hazelnut milkshakes, Walla Walla onion rings, tempura-fried asparagus and fresh raspberry sundaes.

Mexican

If you like: Chipotle
You’ll love: Laughing Planet

Locations: 16 (10 in Portland)

Fresh veggies, bold flavors and wholesome ingredients fill each foil-wrapped burrito at Laughing Planet. The globetrotting offerings — think Indian, Cuban and Korean barbecue — accommodate diets from vegan to Paleo, with fresh smoothies and local beer to wash it all down.

If you like: Baja Fresh
You’ll love: Cha! Cha! Cha!

Locations: 8

Family-owned Cha! Cha! Cha! Taqueria infuses traditional Mexican cooking with locally harvested ingredients. Stick to classic nachos and cheesy quesadillas, or branch out with organic tempeh tacos and wild salmon burritos.

Beverages

If you like: Starbucks
You’ll love: Stumptown

Locations: 12 (6 in Portland)

Known for its top-quality beans and indie spirit, Stumptown Coffee Roasters gets credit for transforming our once sleepy city into one of the world’s hippest coffee havens — much like Starbucks did in Seattle. The company has expanded to caffeine-crazy cities like New York and, yes, Seattle, but they’re still proud locals — after all, “Stumptown” was an early Portland nickname.

If you like: Jamba Juice
You’ll love: Kure Juice Bar

Locations: 5

Health food devotees flock to trend-setting Kure, where nourishing, hunger-banishing smoothies come blended with coconut butter, blue-green algae, cashew gelato, veggie probiotics and other exotic ingredients.

Sweets

If you like: Dunkin Donuts
You’ll love: Blue Star Donuts

Locations: 15 (6 in Portland)

The bacon maple bar and ubiquitous pink boxes of Voodoo Doughnut certainly grab plenty of visitor attention, but you don’t want to miss the lip-smacking creations at Portland’s other donut chain. Blue Star Donuts tops high-grade French brioche dough with flavors like blueberry bourbon basil or fried chicken and honey butter. The shops sell out quickly, so arrive early for a heaven-sent breakfast.

If you like: Ben & Jerry’s
You’ll love: Salt & Straw

Locations: 8 (4 in Portland)

What do bacon, bone marrow and blue cheese have in common? All have been featured — with delicious results —in ice cream creations at Salt & Straw, a Portland scoop shop with a national reputation for boundary-pushing, small-batch flavors. (Don’t worry — they make vanilla, too.)

Pizza & more

If you like: Dominos
You’ll love: Hotlips

Locations: 6

Hotlips Pizza has been hand-tossing gourmet pizza for hungry Portlanders since 1984, piling pies with local ingredients like Portland Creamery chevre, spicy pestos and seasonal veggies. Pair your slice with Hotlips’ own organic soda, made with fresh fruit in flavors from black raspberry to Hawaiian ginger.

If you like: Yo! Sushi
You’ll love: Bamboo Sushi

Locations: 5

The fast-growing popularity of Bamboo Sushi is buoyed by its status as the world’s first certified sustainable sushi restaurant — certification comes from the Marine Stewardship Council, which requires fish to be traced back to a sustainable fishery — as well as its tasty offerings like seaweed salads, quail egg nigiri and gluten-free tuna rolls.

If you like: Whole Foods
You’ll love: New Seasons

Locations: 20 (10 in Portland)

The world’s only B-Corp-certified grocery store, community-focused New Seasons Market hosts daily local product demos and free public events and nourishes shoppers with made-from-scratch meal options, including a hot buffet, salad bar, wok station, sandwich counter — some locations even have a Latin American grill!


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