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Seattle Burger Review: Rain City Burgers is unexceptional

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.

One of the strengths of Rain City Burgers is that there’s only one. It’s not a chain, nor does it have a sister location elsewhere, which is probably a reason people fill up the tiny shop. If you look at the Yelp rating — it has a solid four stars — you would find it shocking that only a single person ever told me to try it out. Why is that? I had to find out.

It’s located in the Roosevelt neighborhood, between Ravenna and Green Lake. You don’t have to pay for parking as long as you have a pair of working legs – there are plenty of parallel spots in the neighborhoods a couple of blocks away. It’s a hole-in-the-wall spot that features dozens of menu options, including burgers based on almost every Seattle sports team, including the Sonics. It’s a sports-themed burger joint that could be a good place to catch a ballgame if it only had another TV or two.

Their best-seller is the “Mariners Burger” which is a quarter-pound beef burger with avocado, bacon, and cheddar cheese on a “special bun,” which I think I pinned down to be a potato bun that had been intentionally crisped to look borderline-burnt. It wasn’t burnt, but they deliberately leave some dark brown-to-black ranging spots on it. Ultimately, it didn’t add to the taste much. The whole burger will be on the smaller side, but not tiny.

Mariners Burger from Rain City Burgers. (Tom Amato, KTTH)

All burgers come with green leaf lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles and Rain City Sauce. I think they left onions off my burger; I only learned there was supposed to be onions on it after visiting their website for this review. I thought the combination of the Rain City Sauce and avocado was truly extraordinary. If I was Rain City Burgers, I would market the “Mariners Burger” around that merger because that was the best part of the meal. The sauce has a base light-mayo flavor.

Overall, there’s not much to talk about with the beef patty. It resembles a fast-food patty: thin and marginal taste. It’s really aided by the vegetables and supported by the avocado and sauce. If those factors were sub-par, this burger would get a much lower rating. Besides the sauce and avocado combo, nothing really jumps out to you about this burger. It’s a fine lunch-time option, but don’t go there thinking you’ll get anything gourmet. The basic fries I ordered might have detracted from the overall experience.

The price tag of $8.99 is probably asking too much. Throw in fries and I found myself paying $13.74. That being said, Rain City Burgers has tons of options, including chicken and vegetarian options.

Burger ratings

Biggest strength(s): Avocado-sauce combination

Biggest weakness(s): Patty, size, onion presence

If you live an unexceptional life, expecting unexceptional things of yourself and others, you’ll enjoy this burger. I’ll give the “Mariners Burger” from Rain City Burgers a 6/10.

What do you think of their burger? Where should I go next? Tweet me, @TommAmato.

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), Great State Burger (6.5/10), Zippy’s Giant Burgers (8/10), Red Mill (7.5/10), Henry’s Tavern (Bellevue) (9/10), Impossible Burger (1/10), Katsu Burger (7.5/10).

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