Burgers as health food? Seems doubtful until you start digging into the ingredient choices at Dick’s Primal Burger in the Woodstock neighborhood in Southeast Portland. Like the Dick’s Kitchen restaurants on SE Belmont and NW 21st , Dick’s Primal Burger focuses on sustainable ingredients that fit into the Paleo diet, which mimics the eating habits of our pre-agricultural forebearers by emphasizing grassfed meats, healthy oils, and fruits and veggies, and eliminating grains, dairy and processed foods.
The beef comes from Carman Ranch and is 100-percent grassfed, which means it contains omega-3 fatty acids — nutrients touted to help reduce the risks of heart disease, depression and asthma. Oh, and grassfed beef tastes meatier than conventionally raised beef, too. As a bonus, subscribers to the vegan and gluten-free lifestyles will find plenty of options.
On a recent visit to this casual, order-at- the-counter burger joint, we easily found a table and some large animal toys to keep the kiddos busy. (The wait wasn’t long and service was fast and friendly.) It was an early Friday evening, and many nearby tables were starting to fill up with neighborhood families. Dick’s knows their crowd, and plenty of high chairs and booster seats were stacked up at a nearby wall.
We ordered a slider for my 1-year- old son, the perfect size for tiny hands and stomachs. We cut up the patty, he devoured it and then gnawed at pieces of the potato-sourdough bun. My 4-year- old daughter wanted a hot dog. She tossed the bun aside, too, and went right for the Niman Ranch beef frank. And they also both liked the less guilt-inducing sweet potato fries we’d ordered to split.
The grown-ups tried the Primal burger and Cobb bowl. All the burgers come with the option of gluten-free buns or served sans bun on large leaves of curly lettuce. (There’s also an umami- rich housemade veggie burger made from hazelnuts and mushrooms.) The burger is big, juicy and satisfying. The Cobb bowl includes the usual Cobb salad ingredients — bacon, avocado, blue cheese, tomato — and adds a turkey patty to the mix. It’s a perfect solution to the problem of wanting a meaty burger and a salad. We also enjoyed a few of the local beers on tap. Other drinks include wine, sodas and kombucha, and milkshakes, both vegan and not. With its nutrition-conscious Paleo angle and kid-accommodating vibe, Dick’s Primal Burger has earned a spot as one of my family’s top places to hit when we want to go caveman on a beefy burger.
4905 SE Woodstock Blvd. Open daily 11 am-9 pm. 971-229-0786, dicksprimalburger.com.
This healthy Mexican food joint has lots of tasty selections, including enchiladas or rice bowls for the kids, and a paleo plate or tofu mole for you. Several Westside locations and a new spot opening on North Mississippi. Verdecocinamarket.com.
With three carts around town and one restaurant in Kenton with a dino-themed play area, it’s easy to get your crispy paleo chicken tenders on the go. Culturedcavemanpdx.com.
Laughing Planet Café
My 4-year-old calls Laughing Planet “the dinosaur place” because she loves to play with the dinosaur toys dotting the tables. I love the ease of dining there, the healthy kids menu and tasty bowls for grown-ups, including the Paleo bowl. Several locations around town. Laughingplanetcafe.com.