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Seattle Burger Review: Loretta’s Northwesterner underwhelms

Loretta's Northwesterner "Double Tavern." (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 measurements I use, taste is most important.

I’ve never been more bewildered by a Yelp score. Yelp has Georgetown’s Loretta’s Northwesterner at 4/5 stars and it confuses me. It’s important to note that I’m not calling the burger bad, but there are some important questions we all must address when it comes to how we analyze burgers.

Should the style of the burger depend on the kind of venue? And should there be different genres of burgers in general? This exploratory piece will seek to answer those questions.

I contend there are three “genres” of burgers: Restaurant burgers; fast-food burgers; and tavern burgers, or ‘bar’ burgers. If you remember my review two weeks ago of BRGR Bar, you’ll remember that it falls under the Tavern Burger description. Rain City Burgers, Katsu Burger, and Henry’s Tavern all fit in the Restaurant Burger category. Finally, places like Kidd Valley, Shake Shack, Great State Burger, and others fall under the fast-food category. Loretta’s Northwesterner is interesting.

There’s nothing wrong with a fast-food burger. But if you order a burger at a bar or tavern, you’re not going to be expecting a fast-food style burger. But that’s what you’re getting at Loretta’s. I ordered the “Double Tavern,” which is two charbroiled beef patties with (cheap) melted American cheese, pickles, onions and special sauce served on a toasted white bun.

Calling the bun ‘toasted’ is generous. Maybe the top bun was crisped a tad, but the bottom bun eventually softened. The patties were thin and bland and exactly what you would expect at a fast-food restaurant. The only thing separating them from a “traditional” fast-food joint is that the patties are grilled and charred on the surface. This aided a lot in the meal, but not enough to save it.

It felt lazy. Granted the bar was busy during lunch hour, it took a while for the food to be delivered, and the end result was underwhelming. Why did this kind of burger take so long? It’s on the smaller side, the vegetables and sauce are subtle and you don’t feel particularly satisfied afterward. Even with the second patty, I felt the average lunch I bring to work every day is much more substantial.

Color me absolutely, positively flabbergasted that this burger was ranked fourth best in the country by Thrillist (although, I’m not sure how seriously we should take that list considering Great State Burger is listed, but places like Red Mill, 8 OZ., and Zippy’s aren’t). The Yelp rating is even more baffling considering the few people I talked to who have also eaten this burger agree that it’s overrated.

It’ll cost you $9 for the “Double Tavern” and an extra $3 for fries, which were very mediocre. A single patty is just $5. I do wonder how Loretta’s other options are because they serve other food (it’s a bar … duh), but I would recommend avoiding the “Tavern” options if you’re not in the mood for a fast-food burger you could get literally anywhere else.

Burger rankings

Biggest strength(s): Charred, beef

Biggest weakness(s): Size, bland, simple (In this case a negative), soggy bun

I’ll give the “Double Tavern” from Loretta’s Northwesterner a 5/10.

What do you think of this burger? Is it overrated? Underrated? Where should I go next? Tweet me @TommAmato on Twitter.

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), Rain City Burgers (6/10), BRGR Bar (7/10), Kidd Valley (7/10).

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