Chef Don Salamone Makes One of Portland’s Best Burgers. But It Took a Pandemic for Him to Start Cooking the Food Closest to His Heart.

May 21, 2020 428

BY: Matthew Singer

Don Salamone puts a lot of love into his cooking—and a little guilt, too. The chef and restaurateur spent most of his early culinary career in upscale French kitchens of the sort his working-class Italian American parents could never afford to visit. It's partly why, when he opened a place of his own, he went in the opposite direction: a no-frills, blue-collar hamburger cart.

Keeping to the all-American trifecta of fries, soft serve and a simple, fast food-style burger, Burger Stevens—the name is an inside joke with his brother-in-law—caught on quickly in Portland, allowing Salamone to expand from a parking lot along Capitol Highway to a spot in Pioneer Courthouse Square and a takeaway window at perpetually packed eastside night spot Dig A Pony.

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