It seems like everywhere you turn, people are talking about smash burgers. It wasn’t long ago that someone might look at you sideways at the mention of this flattened burger. Now, they’re a regular craving awaiting satisfaction. Whether you like your smashy with grilled onions or prefer a loaded triple patty, you’re sure to find smash burgers in Bend, Oregon, that fit your taste.
What is a Smash Burger?
Simply put, a smash burger is a beef patty firmly smashed into a hot grill. According to Chef Kenji Lopez-Alt, smashing a beef patty into a piping hot grill increases the “Maillard reaction,” creating the rich brown crust that makes burgers taste so satisfying. The burgers are smashed, seasoned, flipped, and topped with a slice of cheese. Then, patties are stacked and served over a buttered bun, dolloped in special sauce.
Still, there are a few styles of smash burgers. It’s likely that the smash burger was first invented in the Midwest. Known as the “Oklahoma onion burger” these burgers are prepared with a generous amount of thinly-sliced onions, then cooked on a mega-hot griddle and thinly smashed with a grill press or metal spatula. Oklahoma style is the most common style found at food carts.
Moreover, this thin and crispy burger has a few other variations. Southern California style typically includes crunchy iceberg lettuce, sliced tomato, pickles, and special sauce. Meanwhile, Texas style adds fried or grilled jalapeños to each smash patty. Now, let’s explore some incredible smash burgers in Bend, Oregon!
1. Willie Burger
What started out as an events-only pop-up has quickly become one of the most popular smash burgers in Bend, Oregon. Chris and Kahla started their burger cart in the summer of 2022, serving up single, double, and triple patties at Munch & Music and the Saturday Farmers Market in Northwest Crossing. It only took a few pop-ups at Boss Rambler Beer Club, and they sold out before every event’s end. Visit WillieBurger
The idea behind their smash burger is straightforward yet brilliant. First, seasoned beef is grilled and topped with thinly-sliced onions, then firmly pressed into the grill. Then, they add a slice of American cheese and special sauce before serving the burger on a grilled, buttered bun. Now, we think it’s best to “make it spicy” with grilled jalapeños, but you can decide for yourself.
Since then, Willie Burger has gotten an upgrade—a new truck and a permanent location. You can find them at Deschutes Brewing Tasting Room every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from noon until sold out. And, they’re still serving your favorite events, including the Bend Moonlight Market, and Munch & Music during the summer.
Sure, you can get a standard smash burger from Americana with all of your favorite fixings. Or, you can opt for one of their specials, like The Sloppy Goat. First, they make their classic two-patty smash and top it with white cheddar cheese. Then, they add whipped goat cheese, bacon-onion-date jam, grilled onions, thick bacon, and a balsamic drizzle.
And, hey, if you’re not into the fancier specialty smash burgers, you can’t go wrong with their OG Americana burger. This burger comes with two smash patties, American cheese, caramelized onions, secret sauce, lettuce, and tomato, served on a brioche bun. Visit The Americana at The Podski and enjoy your smash burger of choice with a pint of Rainier or Clear Mind kombucha. Visit Americana.
When the burger cravings start to hit before lunch, there’s a solution: CHOW. While Chow Burger is no longer operating, you can still get a smashy from its namesake brunch hub. CHOW’s smash burger is made with Cascade Farms beef and topped with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, and house-made aioli, all on a brioche bun.
Should you dare, you can add carnitas (or bacon) to your smash burger. And, because it’s brunch, you can still pair it with one of CHOW’s famous sides, including roasted sweet potatoes and bacon-cheddar grits. Why not make it a whole brunch experience and add a Bloody Mary for the perfect Sunday (or Tuesday)? CHOW is open every day from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m.
4. Blue Eyes Burgers and Fries
This midtown burger joint combines Oklahoma and Southern California styles on their smash burgers. They start with local beef sourced from Central Oregon’s Pitchfork T (sister ranch to Rainshadow Organics). Then, they finish it off with American cheese, “supreme sauce,” crunchy iceberg lettuce, and pickles, all laid out on a Jackson’s Corner griddled sweet bun.
Blue Eyes Burgers and Fries keeps it simple with side offerings of fries and onion rings, Root Beer floats, and soft-serve ice cream. It’s also worth mentioning that they offer a vegetarian option made with Oregon chickpeas and mushrooms. You can find craft cocktails and mocktails on their drinks menu to pair with your single, double, or triple smashy. Visit Blue Eyes Burgers & Fries.
5. MidCity SmashedBurger
Economically priced, packed with flavor. That’s what you’ll find at Midcity Smashburger in Bend. Originating in Portland, the smashed burger cart opened its third location at Boneyard Beer’s Lake Place brewery. Here, you can get their signature “Smashy Boi” for just $6. This simple smash burger comes with one smashed patty, Smash sauce, and cheese over a Franz Bakery bun. Or, upgrade to the Deluxe Boi with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, and bacon. Yes, they have fries, and they’re just four bucks. Visit MidCity SmashedBurger.
6. Alley Dogz
Don’t let the name fool you—Alley Dogz now serves smash burgers alongside their extensive hot dog and corn dog offerings. This smashy comes with a heaping of grilled onions, pickles, and gooey American cheese.
Of course, you can pair this smash burger with almost any beer, cider, or wine you can dream of. Why? Because Alley Dogz is located at the Midtown Yacht Club food cart lot, where they have dozens of taps, beer and ciders by the can, wines by the bottle, and CBD sparkling beverages galore. Open Thursday through Sunday from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m.
7. Walt Reilly’s
Whether visiting the eatery and indoor entertainment facility or discovering their pop-up cart at events, Walt Reilly’s smash burger satisfies even the fiercest of cravings. Served simply, this burger is topped with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, grilled onion, and finished with “Walt’s sauce.” Available in a single or double patty, every Walt Reilly’s burger comes with a side of fries.
After enjoying your burger, stay for the extensive drink selection, mini golf, virtual golf, and streaming sports. We love Walt Reilly’s for family-friendly dining and fun. Visit Walt Reilly’s.
Smash Burgers in Bend, Oregon
Listen, folks. We can’t possibly list every amazing smash burger in Central Oregon. While many of your favorite restaurants and food carts offer deliciously smashed burgers as specials, these are some tried and true spots serving (almost) exclusively smash burgers in Bend. We think this list of seven smash burgers in Bend, Oregon, will satiate nearly every appetite and craving for every variety and style of smashies. Be sure to check restaurant listings and Instagram pages for updated hours of operation, as they may vary.