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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.

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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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