Dining Out: Top Burger retains 1950s feel, fans

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Why: Top Burger provides an uncomplicated dining choice atop the hill on Everett Street in Camas.

Although the ownership has changed hands a few times over the years, the ’50s-era feel of Top Burger remains intact, from its menu selections to its atmosphere. The fact that it has endured for as long as it has is a testament to a level of service and quality that diners have loyally supported throughout the years.

Atmosphere: A red, white and blue old-time theme decorates the small dining room, which lends a patriotic feel to the dining experience. Two rows of melamine booths provide seating. Above the window-side booths, a red-and-white checkered valance hangs from a brass curtain rod. Orders are placed at the counter upon entering, and meals are delivered to tables in paper-lined baskets.

What I tried: I settled on the popular Jalapeño Burger, and my dining companion chose the Supreme Burger. We shared a medium order of fries. She had a Lime Rickie to drink, and I had iced tea.

Both the Jalapeño Burger and the Supreme Burger are made with a quarter pound of local beef and big sesame seed buns. The Jalapeño Burger has bacon, Swiss cheese, special sauce, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and sliced jalapeño peppers. The Supreme Burger includes a thin-sliced ham steak, American cheese, special sauce, lettuce, tomatoes and pickles.

Top Burger’s special sauce is sweet and is appropriate as a dipping sauce for fries and other items. Though it appears to have a mayonnaise base, it tastes almost identical, as I remember it, to the special relish sauce Bob’s Big Boy uses on their burgers. In fact, as this occurred to me, I realized my whole burger reminded me of a Bob’s Big Boy burger in flavor and, to some extent, appearance. The iceberg lettuce is shredded and added in generous amounts, and the meat patty is thin to ensure it reaches to the edge of the large bun. I expected my burger to deliver an ample amount of spicy heat with the Jalapeños on it, but I found it to be very mild.

My dining companion was satisfied with her burger and particularly appreciated the quality of the ham and the tomatoes, which were thickly sliced.

The fries at Top Burger are a small-cut variety, which allows for a crispy, golden result. They are flavored with a salty seasoning that suits them well and makes it easy to overeat one’s portion if you happen to be sharing them.

Menu highlights beyond what I tried: If beef burgers aren’t your first choice, there is a Vegetarian Garden Burger and a couple of chicken sandwiches, as well as a fish sandwich.

Top Burger ties special offerings to the seasons and holidays. The Lime Rickie was a St. Patrick’s Day special. It was basically an Italian soda with a twist of lime soda added.

Other observations: Menu selections indicate that a lot of frying goes into meal preparation at Top Burger.My dining companion and I did not find our burgers greasy, and the fries were likewise void of excessive oil.

Orders may be called in and ready for pick up when you arrive.

Cost: Burgers and sandwiches are $1.39 to $5.39. A Long Dog is $3.69. Fries, tater tots, and onion rings cost $1.89 to $3.99. Fish, shrimp, and clams with fries cost $3.29 to $6.29. Kids’ meals cost less than $4 and include fries and a 12-ounce fountain drink. Some menu items are available as dinners, which include fries, coleslaw and grilled cheese bread and range from $6.89 to $7.89. Fried chicken, chicken nuggets, chicken strips and beef finger steaks come in various portions starting at $4.29 and topping out at $14.38. Desserts include soft-serve and hard ice cream, sundaes, shakes, banana splits and floats and cost $$1.69 to $4.99. Most beverages are less than $2.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Sunday. The grill is shut off fifteen minutes before closing, so some menu items are not available from that point.

Where: 1436 N.E. Everett St., Camas.

Telephone: 360-834-3867.

Health score: Top Burger received a score of 0 on March 12. Zero is a perfect score, and Clark County Public Health closes restaurants that score 100 or higher. For information, call 360-397-8428.