Downtown Eugene: Search for the Great Burger

I’ve driven by it a number of times now. The neon signs and interesting color patterns called to me. The theme is the 50’s and the 50’s food scene was apparently all about good old fashioned burgers, fries, hot dogs, and milkshakes. The 50’s sounds delicious. It has been around since the summer and I decided now is the time to feed my curiosity. I headed in to Dickie Jo’s near the corner of Pearl and 13th sreet to appease my stomach’s  never ending search for a great burger.

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The inside is as retro as the outside. I half expected the workers to get around on roller skates. I glanced over the counter at the employees feet, sadly no roller skates.

A burger and fries at DJ’s costs $5.95 base price. Each additional topping apart from the normal lettuce, onion, tomato and special sauce is another 50 cents. I added sauteed mushrooms, onions, and  pepper jack cheese for a tab that came out to $7.45 before tip. It’s definitely not a cheap burger by any means, but it’s not so absurdly priced either. My food came out with about a 5 minute weight and I dived in to see how I felt about this new burger joint. The verdict, their burgers are good but smaller than I’d hoped. It’s definitely a fresher and more enjoyable taste than you’re going to get at any normal fast food place. The fries were ok, not crisp enough for my taste, but I’m not saying I didn’t eat all of them.

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I searched online to see what other people  felt about Dickie Jo’s. There were a number of reviews of the place at , Eugenified , Urban Spoon, as well as a number of individual bloggers sites. A learned a couple of things. One is that many people who reviewed it felt the same way I did. Many didn’t like the soggy fries. Many felt the burgers where to small, and many felt that the menu is overpriced. I also learned where all those people who always felt the need to voice their opinion but ran out of people to listen to them. They all started blogs. Granted Dickie Jo’s is not the best resteraunt I’ve ever been to. But many who wrote reviews about it wrote like its lack of amazingness was a personal insult to their character, and that DJ’s should be ashamed to have wasted their time. Interesting to read. If people like this spend all their time blogging and less time in the real world I’d say that’s a service blogs are providing for us.

Also after reading all the negative blogs about DJ’sI started to feel bad for the place for continuing the negative vibe, but I have to be truthful. On the upside for DJ’s, there were a number of positive reviews as well. I think that if you have a bad experience somewhere you’re more inclined to talk about that than the good experience, because it’s human nature to focus on the bad, so dont get disheartened DJ’s.

Another thing I learned while reading reviews was a lot of people said the food wasn’t great, but the place had amazing milkshakes. Well darn, now I’m going to have to feed my curiousity again. As far as burgers though, I only eat out around once a week and I wouldn’t say I’m going to be saving my dining out experience for DJ’s any time soon. If I’m going to have a burger I’ll stick to Burger and Brew at 6th Street Bar and Grill, where for $7 before tip you get a burger with the works, a larger portion of fries, and a pint of your microbrew of choice on tap.

Tune in next week for the 6th Street Burger and Brew $6 to $7 controversy and how Eugene and I feel about it.


About davidmehr

I'm a Journalism student at the University of Oregon. I'm also a rock climbing instructor and a soccer referee.
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6 Responses to Downtown Eugene: Search for the Great Burger

  1. I am embarrassed to say, but I am starting to think that Eugene’s best burger is Marie Calendar’s. Had one today for lunch and it was really nice. Better than overrated Cornucopia’s by quite a bit (too much extender in Cornucopia’s for my taste).

    Steelhead’s burger is ranked second on my list, but it is a tight race with The Cooler’s burger (if only you did not have to smell stale beer while enjoying your burger at the Cooler). 6th Street Grill is just “meh” on my list. Not bad, but nothing to blog about. Ditto for Johnny Ocean’s.

  2. davidmehr says:

    Interesting, sounds like you’re speaking from some experience. I’ll definitely have to check Marie’s. I agree 6th street burger isn’t the most amazing I’ve had either but the 7 dollar price with a pint of beer like a Rogue Hazelnut Brown appeals to my stomach and my wallet. Have you asked for a side of the homemade bbq sauce with the burger? It’s no extra cost and I think it really adds a nice flavor. Any specific burger recommendation from Marie’s?

  3. I just order the regular burger at Marie Calendars.

    By the way, I also wrote full reviews for Burger Lovers and The Cooler. Weirdly, the Burger Lovers review is almost always number 1 or 2 most viewed on my website. I guess it may be because they get massive traffic driving by on 7th Street everyday, so lots of people look it up on the internet.

  4. jenniferpetty says:

    Mr. Eugenified, you’ve got a great site. I like reading reviews, and comments, from people who’ve frequented the restaurants I enjoy!

    I can’t claim to be a burger expert nor do I want to, but I do have strong opinions about restaurateur-ing.

    You are right, Cornucopia is overrated; I’ve lived here for 2.5 years and I’m not surprised I haven’t tried Cornucopia before last night. We ordered wrong to get the full effect of the burger – we should have ordered a real burger instead of sliders, but they were good nonetheless. According to The Eugene Burger Blog, Cornucopia uses Knee Deep Cattle Company beef, which is all local and free range. I don’t know if you’re into that but I know a lot of Eugene folks are. I understand that the search for the best burger in Eugene doesn’t seem to care about alternative diets, but I know I was pleased to see Cornucopia offer vegetarian burgers. That’s probably why Cornucopia won best burger in the Eugene Weekly a few weeks ago.

    And David, I agree with you, and many other Eugene bloggers who think Dickie Joe’s burgers are small and overpriced. But I’m a huge fan of the additions, like the sauteed onions! Holy yum! The Eugene Burger Blog says Dickie Joe’s bakes it’s own bread fresh everyday, which I can get behind. That’s so much better than frozen bread anyways. Apparently the owners of Dickie Joe’s have a few other restaurants in Eugene, which is pretty amazing. Having one restaurant succeed is a huge accomplishment in itself.

    I was a little scared when I went to Burger Lovers at 6:30 pm on a Thursday night and the place was empty. They make a strong claim – that they have the best burger in Oregon. I don’t know that I agree with that, but the burger I ate was pretty tasty. The burger itself was huge (probably the size of my hand) and stacked full with all sorts of toppings. Burger Lovers’ menu has all sorts of creative burgers, like cream cheese, avocado and bacon, or fried eggs and ham! I read your review, Mr. Eugenified, and perhaps you would have enjoyed a burger with more extras on it.

    The great thing about this discussion is that we (Mr. Eugenified, David, me, the rest of the Eugene bloggers) have all experienced something different. We’d be naive to think a restaurant could hit it right every time, for every customer. The gamble is fun, at least for me.

    The beauty of a local restaurant is that it reflects the community, as diverse as it is. Cornucopia serves local beef because Eugene wants to know where their food came from. Dickie Joe’s bakes it’s bread fresh everyday because they know it tastes better. I don’t know anything about Burger Lovers, but you get my point!

    I don’t want to offend you, Mr. Eugenified, but perhaps that’s why your favorite burger comes from a chain restaurant. It’s going to taste exactly the same every time because they use the same frozen food in all their restaurants.

  5. I’d prefer local beef over frozen beef, if everything else is equal. But if the frozen beef burger tastes better AND the service at Marie Calendars is ten times better than Cornucopia’s, then Marie wins.

    Actually, I think the service issue at Corn is mainly due to problems with their physical structure at the original location. Or perhaps the site management team is different? Anyways, the service over at the new Corn location is fine.

    By the way, I tried a burger at Turtle’s yesterday for the first time and it was very good. Better than Marie’s! When I have some time, I will write a full review on my website (plus I need to come up with some sort of bombastic dorky theme for the review).

  6. jenniferpetty says:

    Yay! I’m so happy you found a new favorite burger. I’m excited to read your post.

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