Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Pleasant Surprise: Terry's Diner

I never really know what to expect when I try a new burger.  Sometimes, I go in with lofty expectations based on some rave review I have heard or read, but most of the time, I go in with a fairly open mind.  The bottom line is that a burger is dependent on so many variables, and what may be a fantastic burger on Tuesday, might leave something to be desired on Saturday.  I try to keep these things in mind when I order a burger.

That said, I also tend to think that a burger might be judged most fairly on its worst day.  Typically the customer has no control over the variables that make or break a menu item, they don't schedule the staff, and have no control over food handling or storage.  So when I get a burger on, what I suspect, is its worst day I am disappointed as a customer, but as a reviewer I couldn't be happier.

It is with this in mind that I make no apologies for any of my past reviews, that were not totally positive.  A restaurant can be fairly expected to offer their best product 100% of the time, and when they don't, they expose themselves.  I would further submit that none of my reviews have treated any burger in Eugene overly negatively (apparently a few disagree).

Similarly, the same logic can be applied to any burger I review overwhelmingly positively; there is always a chance that I had the very best burger the place ever served, or that my opinion of the burger would not perfectly line up with you as a reader.

Remember this last point today when you read about the burger at Terry's Diner, which I am going to go on a limb and call the best burger that the EBB has reviewed to date.

There are actually two Terry's in Eugene, one on River Rd., and one on 18th and Chambers.  I stopped in at the Chambers store, and was pleased from the moment I walked in.  Terry's is set up as a 50s style diner (more or less), and has antiques hanging on the wall as well as a counter bar.  The atmosphere is pleasant, and there was plenty of places to sit comfortably (unlike a restaurant that I recently reviewed, which had the smallest tables ever).

The burger selections at Terry's are impressive if not just a bit overwhelming.  They have three kinds of patties to choose from (two of them vegetarian) and offer chicken breast or salmon filets as well on all their burgers.  The most intriguing patty choice was an in-house made spinach patty that sounded delicious, but, alas, I was there for the beef.

The beef patty is a half pound sirloin patty which is notable because sirloin is considered safely served to order.  I love a burger medium rare, so this was a rare and pleasant surprise.  I ordered the bacon cheeseburger that comes with "a couple pieces of thick cut bacon, choice of cheese, mayo, Terry's BBQ sauce, lettuce, onion, and tomato," all for $8.99.  I ordered it with Bleu Cheese, and a 22 oz. Ninkasi IPA, which is always a treat.

The food came out quick, and hot; the beer, as expected, was cold.  The fries were not made in-house, but they passed muster:  hot and crispy.  The burger itself was big, and a little daunting at first glance.  The sort of burger you look at and think, "how am I going to eat that?"

Never fear, after a quick slice up the middle the burger was much less intimidating.  Further, cutting the burger revealed that it had been cooked perfectly to order.  The sirloin was excellent; words probably won't do it justice, so I will leave it at just that.  The fixings were perfectly proportioned, and the burger was messy without being unmanageable.

The bleu cheese/bacon combo, while not new to me, was refreshing after the last few weeks burgers.  It's a really simple, but effective twist on the traditional bacon cheeseburger that isn't always an option, but probably should be... because I say so.

I'm gonna give the burger at Terry's two solid thumbs up.  This burger itself blew me away, and the service was awesome. They even tried their hardest to answer all my questions about the production methods of their beef (more on this to come later; stay tuned, because it might get interesting).  Go get one this week, and then come back and leave your opinion in the comments.

Terry's Diner #2
1810 Chambers St.
Eugene, OR

(541)343 0485


  1. so glad you've seen the light. i'm going there tonight!

  2. j, Nice. Enjoy. Sorry, I didn't holla at you; we went on a whim.

  3. ain't no thang - but FYI, the one on chambers is better than the one on river road...river rd. gave me mine well done when i asked for medium rare.

  4. You're famous

  5. Terry's is fantastic. The burgers are awesome. To top it off, breakfast is served all day and the portions are massive.

  6. For me, the "gristle factor" at Terry's knocks it off my list. I just hate finding those little chunks of unexplainable pencil-eraser-ish stuff in my burger meat.

    Actually, I have been there a few times but never got around to writing my own review. I should do one, but to be fair and up to date, I would probably have to go back there again and eat...

  7. @ Mr Eugenified
    I think that is the nature of ground sirloin, so you have to take the good with the bad, I suppose.
    Anyway, great site; I can't believe i haven't come across it before today.

  8. But some places don't have the gristle (Turtles, Cornucopia, Steelhead, The Cooler) while other places got it baaad (Terry's, Hult Plaza Restaurant, Brail's).

    By the way, Turtle's burger and The Cooler's burger are both very good. You should try them.

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