"Home of the Best Burger in the World," that's how they advertise this place on Mission Street and 25th. What world are they talking about? Fortunately, I don't think anyone is falling for that claim. Burger Basket may be the only non franchise hamburger joint in town, that's why the place is packed during the lunch hour. And it hangs in there despite encroachment of two mega burger chains across the street. Inside it
has a refreshing mom and pop style feel with antique gas pumps, soda pop machines and classic car memorabilia. It's a shame there aren't more places like this in Salem where the owners can get feedback from their customers directly and tailor their food to the local crowd. Nowadays we get food that's been focus grouped in Southern California and franchised nationwide. Then if we're lucky, they're going to condemn our land and plow an open field to put one in a new strip mall that has great freeway access. And those antique gas pumps, remind me of when gasoline was less than a buck a gallon but you didn't need to buy any because you could safely
ride your bike to the grocery store. What was I talking about again? Oh yeah, Burger Basket. Even if they aren't the "best burger in the world," it's a worthwhile endeavor for lunch. There's a variety of hamburgers in three sizes, small, large, and giant. I ordered the "large," 1/3 pound chili cheeseburger with fresh onions and fries for $6.30. It came open faced with a buttered top bun split in two for dipping. With plastic utensils it was difficult to eat so I wound up cutting the patty in half and eating it like a hand sandwich. I wasn't too happy with the chili. It wasn't very spicy or flavorful for that matter and it left me with a grumbling stomach later. The patty was cooked very well done. This thing was charred and looked like a hockey puck. I thought that it may just be that way for the chili burger, for some reason, but as I looked at my kids burgers theirs were also burnt. In fact, on one of them, the patty was so dry, part of it broke off. The thick cut french fries and onion rings were good and filling. I really want to say that this place is great and that it should be a model for the little guy against the corporate giants. At best I can say it's local and I would go here instead of those two awful chains across the street. They do give me hope that we can make our own food here in Salem and have our own original restaurants. And if it's the only local place in Salem I can order a hamburger, than at least to me it's the "Best Burger in the World."
2455 Mission Street Southeast
Salem, OR 97302