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Burger review: Seattle’s Great State Burger is pricey fast food

(Tom Amato, KTTH)

I’m on a mission to find the best burger in the city of Seattle. I travel to various burger joints within city limits and rate the establishment’s most popular burger on a scale of 1-10. Of all the measures I use, taste is most important.

Great State Burger has six locations in Seattle, so if you want to give it a try, you won’t have to go far. There used to be a location inside T-Mobile Park (at the time, Safeco Field), but it was replaced by a Li’l Woody’s. I went to the South Lake Union spot and ordered the single combo meal. I would recommend trying out other locations mainly because of construction and parking struggles in the surrounding area.

The big sign on wall to the left of the register immediately acknowledges a basic fact: It’s fast-food. But they want you to know that despite being fast- food, it’s real food. The single-combo meal consists of a burger made up of organically raised, grass-fed, grass-finished Angus beef, with American cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, pickle, State Sauce, your choice of grilled or raw onions with a side of crinkle-cut fries. I chose my onions grilled. The meat came medium-rare.

Great State Burger

A big part of the burger experience is the first bite. First impressions are very important in the burger-review industry. Are you getting a good chunk of beef when you initially sink your teeth in? Or are you getting mostly vegetables? Does the flavor of the beef jump out to you? Is it juicy? Is it burnt? What stands out? These are all the questions you need to ask yourself.

With that being said, it was an OK first bite. The tomatoes stood out and the pickles added a nice crunch. The onions didn’t add anything.

The bun was interesting: It was toasted on the inside and soft on the outside. I believe this was one of the core reasons it was sturdy and didn’t fall apart. But I did find the taste odd; it may have been a little too toasted. Not burnt, but it reminded me too much of breakfast toast. A little part of the bun was left over after the beef was gone and I left it. Most of the time, I’ll clear my plate.

It’s a messy meal as the meat is fairly juicy, which should be the case with the inside temperature. It’s an average-sized fast-food burger and I found the taste a bit fatiguing. I mixed in some fries along the way, which were OK.

The whole thing is pricey for a fast-food joint. It will cost you $12.50 for the full serving, which is probably paying too much for what you’re getting. On top of that, it’s an extra $2.50 for bacon. But the real wild-card of Great State Burger might not be the burger at all — they serve beer! I’m not sure how many similar places in Seattle do that, but this was my first run-in with an alcoholic beverage at a fast-food restaurant. For the price of a burger, I was shocked to see a Rainier tallboy was just $3.50.

Compare that to what you get elsewhere (a Mariners’ game, perhaps?), and it’s a pretty great deal.

Great State Burger ratings

Biggest strength(s): Juicy, tomatoes
Biggest weakness(s): Bun, price

I’m not going to say you need to try this burger, but it won’t hurt you. 6.5/10.

Past reviews: 8 OZ. Burger (7.5/10), Little Big Burger (8/10), Uneeda Burger (5/10), Li’l Woody’s (7/10), CaliBurger (6/10), ShakeShack (8/10), Red Robin (7/10), BurgerMaster (4/10), Sam’s Tavern (7.5/10)

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