There are few things in this world I truly love. Cats, horses, whales (most non-humans), drawing, and indefatigable wordiness. But few compare to my love for hamburgers. Nearly its own food group, hamburgers have taken on a plethora of identities and variations ranging from the typical cheeseburger to a tofu burger straddled by a fried egg and covered in fairy wings. Whatever your palate craves, Olympia probably has a glorious burger dive that is perfect for you:
A local chain, known for its shakes, burger and infamous “Goop” sauce, the Big Tom’s/ Eagan’s franchise is great for Olympians. Located in all central areas of Thurston County, Eagan’s drive-thrus are convenient and have impeccable service, even when ordering a large meal for two. The Eastside Big Tom’s is across from Ralph’s Thriftway on 4th Avenue, a stone’s throw away from downtown Olympia. There are Eagans’ on the Westside on the way to Westfield Mall and in Tumwater near Tumwater High School. The chain has reliable quality and quantity, with burgers that can barely fit in your mouth and a large fry the size of a small shopping bag. Hoping for an exceptional burger, I ordered it with bacon, light Goop, and barbeque sauce. It tasted like a real American burger. At a reasonable prices of between $6 and $7, most burgers are well worth trying. The menu is immense with lots of funky burgers and the franchise offers special promotions on it’s Facebook page.
Anthony’s is a premier local restaurants of Thurston County and serves a tasty burger at little cost. Anthony’s is a clean and appealing restaurant with a great view of the water to enjoy. Normally considered one of the nicest places to go for seafood, Anthony’s has burgers for only $5 during happy hour, from 3 to 6pm. It is best to plan to dine in here. The burger is simple, cheese costs extra, and the lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles come on the side so the consumer has to assemble the burger. I suggest ordering the house-made chipotle relish to make the meal more interesting. Fries come on the side. The burger, somewhat lack-luster, is still worth the small expense for a meal at a nice place during the quiet times of happy hour.
King Solomon’s Reef is easily one of the best-known dives in the city. Centrally located, it can sometimes have a bad stigma, but what they fall short in for appearances, it makes up for in presence and personality. The Reef has an exciting menu with bizarre breakfast concoctions available all day and most of the night, and shakes that will inspire. Their burgers are reliable and unorthodox including Tofu and Fried Chicken burgers. All come with fries, soup, salad, or minter apples that can be substituted with tater-tots or chili for only $.50. The burgers are prepared ready to eat straight from the grill, and are decent sized, although somewhat expensive with the least costing $8.25.
Tugboat Annie’s is a drive from downtown, but in the end is pretty rewarding. Burgers are large and on toasted, fresh-baked buns with quality added bacon. They are a hefty size and come assembled and ready to eat. Besides being out in the boonies, Tugboat Annie’s burgers are also expensive, averaging $10 and have a few too many pickles piled. There are multiple kinds of burgers and sandwiches offering a wide variety of choices, including the Barge Burger that is larger than a dinner plate and can feed up to six people. It is a good destination to visit with a group.
Most of the local burger joints did not disappoint. Overall, Big Tom’s local chains were the best including price for quantity, quality, variety, service, and location. King Solomon’s Reef was my second favorite with their unique environment but high price for the size. Anthony’s was next because it was cheap, but you get what you pay for as the quality was a bit lower. And lastly was Tugboat Annie’s, because even though it was a sizeable burger, it was expensive and far from town for students, many of who don’t drive.