A few weeks ago I was on Capitol Hill at lunch time and decided to check out Li’l Woody’s, a newish hamburger joint that’s had a lot of good press. Li’l Woody’s sits in that funky little section of Pine Street between the freeway and Melrose. Once you know it’s there it’s easy to see. The nice thing about the location is parking is a little easier than many places on Capitol Hill.
Li’l Woody’s logo is a Sasquatch and the interior of the place would make Big Foot feel at home. It’s a little bit rough with lots of wood – both finished and unfinished – but comfortable chairs surround the tables around the perimeter. And there are some fun touches like the old Coke coolers that hold sodas, juice and water.
Even better than the furniture though, are the ingredients. I’m originally from Oregon and any place that uses Tillamook Cheddar on their cheeseburgers has a big advantage with me! Plus the specialty burgers are full of creative and innovative combinations like Boat Street pickled figs and bacon or Hatch green chilis and queso sauce. And…. they serve Molly Moon milkshakes! Fries are hand-cut – something that can be hard to find.
For my initial visit I tried the Li’l Woody burger, the small size of their basic cheeseburger. While I was tempted by many of the specialty burgers I always like to start with a classic so I can get a real feel for the underlying burger. The Li’l Woody did not disappoint; it was everything a good cheeseburger should be – especially with that Tillamook Cheddar! The hamburger was delicious and the onions and lettuce provided a fresh, crunchy taste and texture without overpowering the meat. Although I wasn’t crazy about the fries, I know that many people will be. It’s a question of style not quality. If they were just a tad bit thicker there would be a little more potato taste and I would be perfectly happy. In some ways this will make it easier for me next time I’m in – housemade onion rings will be my side of choice. Having said that I may need to try those fries one more time, at least. There is a menu item called Crack, which is fries with a Molly Moon shake “dip”. That takes me right back to my days at Oregon State University where I spent many an afternoon with friends in the Memorial Union cafeteria munching on fries dipped in soft-serve ice cream. (How did they know?)
In addition to the specialty burgers you can create you own combination or choose a breakfast sandwich, fried chicken or veggie burger. They even serve wine and beer. And Fridays and Saturdays they are open until 3:00am, so when the Capitol Hill bars kick you out you can stop by for your pre-hangover cure.
I’m looking forward to another visit soon. I think I hear The Fig and The Pig burger calling my name.
1211 Pine St