Portland smash-burger food truck hit the spot! will open its first restaurant in Vancouver’s Uptown Village later this year in the space recently vacated by Starbucks.
Owner Jeremy Sivers plans on offering a full menu of cheeseburgers, fries, hot dogs, shakes and floats with Umpqua ice cream, as well as beer, hard cider and wine.
“The original plan was to open a restaurant in Portland on one of the most walkable streets like Mississippi or Alberta, but these places already have great food,” he said, “so we began looking to expand on the outskirts.”
Sivers, who lives in Vancouver, eyed various parts of the city and other suburban areas before finding the Uptown Village location.
Hit the spot! opened in 2014 as a booth run by Sivers and his son, Elijah, at the Montavilla Farmers Market in southeast Portland.
In September 2018, a hit the spot! food truck parked across the street from a Killer Burger in Portland’s Hollywood neighborhood. Ever since, long lines form five days a week for these popular smash burgers.
“The smash burger was an accident,” Sivers said. “Our first winter in the truck, I was playing around and decided to press down a burger. It cooked in 90 seconds. A regular patty takes eight to 10 minutes to cook.”
Smashing the patty allowed Sivers to get burgers out the window faster and keep the line moving.
Sivers calls hit the spot! farm-to-table fast food.
“The whole idea was higher-quality fast food for under $10,” he said.
He can’t afford to offer grass-fed beef at that price, but he buys his meat from Country Natural Beef, which supplies burger meat to Whole Foods and New Seasons Market.
All burgers are served on a toasted bun with melted cheese, pickle, onion, lettuce, tomato and Spot Sauce — a smoky, chipotle aioli. Shoestring fries, hot dogs, shakes and floats made with Umpqua ice cream, as well as fry sauce and coney sauce, will also be offered at the new restaurant. Breakfast will be added at a later date.
The space, 2420 Main St., will have an updated drive-in burger joint feel. The music won’t be old jukebox classics, such as Buddy Holly or Elvis, but the same G-rated ’90s hip hop that flows from the hit the spot! food truck.
If all goes as planned, Sivers will have the keys to his new restaurant on Monday. Renovations should take about three months. In the meantime, he’s developing a chicken tenders recipe for the new spot.
The goal is to open hit the spot! restaurants in other parts of Vancouver, as well as suburbs such as Gresham and Beaverton.
“We have lines in the street every day, and we’re getting good press,” Sivers said. “We need to strike while we’re hot.”