Man alive, nothing beats a good burger. Except maybe a good burger with equally sensational french fries.

So I had high hopes when I heard that an organic burger joint was opening in South Portland. One that grinds its grass-fed, free-range beef on site. One that cooks its hand-cut shoestring fries in olive oil. One that offers hand-scooped shakes made with hormone-free milk.

I’ll cut right to the chase, then, and tell you two things right out of the gate: I didn’t love Elevation Burger, but I liked it a lot, and you can bet I’ll be back for more.

Starting with aesthetics, I have no love of anything strip-mall related, which is exactly where Elevation Burger resides. That said, the place was comfortable, with lots of natural lighting and a good amount of seating. Although I didn’t use it during this visit, the high-tech a la “Star Trek” soda dispenser was also impressive.

You better believe I wanted a vanilla shake ($4.29), but the conventional wisdom of “are you really gonna have a burger AND fries AND a shake” got the best of me, so I grabbed a bottle of water before giving in to that temptation.

The fries, however, were all mine. My lunch date and I could have shared one order ($2.79), but we both indulged in our own, and truth be told, there wasn’t much left by the time we were done. The fries were my favorite part, as they were superbly fresh, crispy and absolutely delicious.

For the main event — the burger — I opted for the standard Elevation Burger, which is two patties with no cheese ($5.79). A very respectable array of complimentary toppings was available, with the only exception being blue cheese dressing that will set you back an additional 50 cents. There was one much-loved burger topping that was absent from Elevation’s offerings — bacon — but no one’s perfect.

The bun, however, came pretty close. Elevation Burger uses potato buns, and although any given bun is going to play a supporting role (literally and figuratively), this one gets high marks.

The moment of truth came with the first bite of my burger. And it was quite the bite, given that it was a two-patty affair.

Sure, it was flavorful, and sure, I enjoyed it. But here’s the problem with burger places that take the flat-patty route: Juiciness is nowhere to be found, and that is my favorite part of a burger.

Granted, thicker burgers take longer to cook and wouldn’t lend themselves to the at least semi-fast-food sensibility of Elevation Burger.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out some of Elevation’s healthier options. First off, should you want to save on calories and carbs, any of their burgers can be wrapped in lettuce rather than sandwiched inside a bun. Also, they serve a nice-looking veggie burger made with a blend of veggies and cheese.

In terms of sides, along with the fries and cookies, you can also order a cup of mandarin oranges for $1.79. Nice touch.

Given the perfect fries, the decent environment and the certainly respectable burger, I’m happy to welcome Elevation Burger into the carnivorous fold of southern Maine. 

The staff of GO anonymously samples meals for about $7.


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