Super Deluxe Soars

Photo of a booth in Super Deluxe.

Since opening in July 2018, Super Deluxe has become one of Portland’s most raved about restaurants. It has received glowing reviews from popular Simpsons writer and fast food connoisseur Bill Oakley on Instagram, who stated that it was the best burger he’d ever had in Portland. Located on 5009 SE Powell Boulevard, it is open from 7am to 11pm everyday, and includes a drive-through as well as outdoor seating. Being only seven blocks from Franklin High school, Super Deluxe receives nearby foot traffic during lunch hour. Super Deluxe was created by Portland restaurant owner Micah Camden, a high school dropout who has had remarkable success with almost all of his restaurants. Camden also owns many popular Portland franchises like Blue Star Donuts and Sweet Heart Pizza, and he recently sold Little Big Burger for six million dollars. In an article with Portland Monthly, Micah explained the success of Super Deluxe and how he made it into the powerhouse it is currently, as well as to why Super Deluxe so strongly competes against other fast food chains in the area. Camden explained that from a national perspective, many chain restaurants are not doing well, with Taco Time, which sold poorly when Camden owned it; Subway, which had to close 909 restaurants in 2017 according to The Cheat Sheet, and KFC, which had their brand’s profits dragged down earlier in the year, and experienced issues which closed much of the UK section of the franchise for many days. When he took over the Taco Time that was closing down due to lack of sales, he stated in Portland Monthly that the classic menu style of In-N-Out didn’t exist in Portland before Super Deluxe, allowing it to tap into a mostly untapped style of burger not known to Portland. According to Camden, the classic In-N-Out style of burger is a burger bun known as a Martin’s Bun, with lettuce, onion, pickle, tomato, and a sauce they make called burger sauce which is included for extra flavor. In the article with Portland Monthly, Camden stated that Super Deluxe fills the need for higher quality food people want in fast food that’s not an In-N-out or a Chick-fil-a, which he claims are only better than Super Deluxe by virtue of cult status, not actual offerings. Camden explains in the interview with Portland Monthly that the staff on Super Deluxe mostly consists of 16-year-olds working their first job and ex-convicts. In particular, he described the dishwasher as a ‘gentle giant’ who once stayed and scrubbed all the grease off the walls until 2 am. Super Deluxe also has a wide range of diners who frequent it. Franklin students frequently mix with lower-income workers, as well as upper-middle class types. With a Google review of around four stars, the general consensus on Super Deluxe seems to be mostly positive, with few strongly disliking it. Super Deluxe also holds its own against competition as well. Although it competes with Burger King and Taco Bell, Super Deluxe seems to be throwing heavy punches against its competitors. In the interview with Portland Monthly, Camden stated that the Burger King across the street “is done” and that Taco Bell took a serious hit as well after Super Deluxe opened.

Super Deluxe is known to have many kids from Franklin present at the lunch hour, but what keeps them coming? When asked about what he likes on the Super Deluxe menu, Paul Carlson (10), who has been going since opening day, stated that he likes the carmelized onions, the chicken sandwiches, the very melted cheese, and the breakfast options. His favorite item to order from the menu is the Super Double Deluxe, which is the double deluxe burger with fries and a drink for $8.75, which he likes for the great taste and value it provides. His second favorite item on the menu was the chicken sandwich, mainly because of the taste of the chicken, and the tenderness of the meat. Eater Portland describes the chicken sandwich as the ‘sleeper hit’ for the same reasons Carlson did. Carlson also rated service as medium, and gave it a rating of 7.5 out of ten. Franklin student Sam Skelton (10) also thinks that Super Deluxe is pretty good, stating “Most of the items they server there are good tasting.” He praised the chicken sandwich, as he found that everything goes with it pretty well, and that the sauce on it is tasty. He also likes the how the restaurant looks, how open and clean it is, and the outdoor seating. Skelton describes the service as pretty average, and rated it a 7 out of 10 overall. “A quarter of the people I know go there,” he estimated. All in all, Super Deluxe is a very unique fast food place in Portland. No other restaurant really has the same kind of quality and style in terms of taste and menu options. In addition, Portland Monthly made the bold claim that Super Deluxe will be the next Burgerville. Micah Camden also stated that he has plans to expand, specifically on Broadway and 36th where a Burger King is closing, so be on the lookout for another Super Deluxe in the coming years.

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