Last Friday, chef Megan Coombes and business partner Lex Petras opened Meg’s Hamburgers in Pioneer Square, where they’re paying homage to old-school burger joints with retro elements like cushy baby-blue stools alongside modern touches like fries cooked in beef fat and shakes made with high-end chocolate and coffee from neighboring Intrigue Chocolate Co.
Together, Petras and Coombes also own nearby restaurant Altstadt, a great place for German food and beer. Coombes said that after five years there, she and her staff “wanted a good, fast, cheap burger place in the area.” Judging by the opening-day lines at 200 S Jackson St., which was once home to Pioneer Square Grill, the neighborhood was ready for this surprising burger void to be filled too.
Coombes says the restaurant is an amalgamation of influences throughout her life: The special sauce on the deluxe and double deluxe burgers is inspired by the Burgerville of her childhood in Portland. The smash burgers, hot dogs, and egg and cheese take her back to her ten years of New York corner delis. Starting in the spring, she’ll hearken back to her college days in California by keeping the shop open until 2 or 3 a.m. on weekends. And, of course, there’s a Seattle dog and even a Seattle burger, smothered in cream cheese and onions, to represent her current home.
“We want it to be like the burger place we ate at as kids,” Coombes says, although she admits that might mean less to anyone under 25. Single- and double-patty burgers, for $3.50 and $5.50 respectively, share menu space with a fried cod fishwich, a fried peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwich, a melt, and one simple salad. Meg’s also uses soft, toasted buns from Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe and serving Stubborn sodas, which come in flavors like orange hibiscus and classic root beer. Upon request, the fries can be made without beef fat for vegans.
Friday’s quiet opening “was a mad house,” Coombes says. “The neighborhood has been stopping by for weeks and we really feel the love and excitement.” The restaurant’s official website should be finalized this week, but in the meantime the menu is listed in full below and the Facebook and Instagram pages are up and running.