Tilt (Swan Island)

Cafe, Burgers, Restaurant, Bar
3449 N Anchor

On paper, Tilt is, appropriately, a truck stop: big wedges of homemade pie fill the pastry case, great tanks of hot black coffee sit at the ready, and huge scratch-made biscuits share skillet space with a gravy that is equal parts roux and tender, crumbled sausage. Loaded, high-quality burgers dominate the lunch menu; 18-wheelers pulling reefers and doubles hiss and groan outside. On the inside, though, it's almost Swedish-modern, with minimalist white plastic seating, long unfinished-wood communal tables, and a huge open kitchen, whose shiny new gear gleams in the abundant natural light. A full-service espresso bar with its own register greets patrons just inside the door.

The burgers themselves ($6.50-9) are higher-end fast-food style, with a flavorful 1/3-pound Fulton Provisions patty done to a default medium on a seeded brioche bun with standard vegetables and "Tilt sauce" (a slightly spiced pink sauce that will remind some of the Thousand Island-type spread used at In-N-Out). You can get in over your head with about 20 topping and 20 condiment options, or opt for one of their signature constructions. A "more is more" philosophy turns out house-designed burgers such as the Koolakofsky—essentially a pastrami Reuben (a "Rachel," to the hidebound) with a burger patty thrown in for good measure—and the Mad Andy, which features balsamic glazed onions, pepper bacon, roasted jalapeño, roasted garlic aioli, fried egg, blue cheese crumbles, lettuce, and tomato. You get the idea. Despite the mess of ingredients, the burgers are constructed well and eat cleanly on the ample rolls. The "Lambastic" ($9.25) a 1/3-pound lamb patty seasoned with mint and spices and topped with fried onions and tzatziki, is delicious, but also done medium unless specified otherwise.

An all-day roster of biscuit sandwiches (priced around $6.50) provide considerable staying power, and come with fillings from eggs and sausage to fried chicken and pickles. The massive scratch-made biscuits are tender and slightly chewy—not crumbly—ideal for containing the ample ingredients.

Large sides of crisp, well-seasoned shoestring fries, dosed with fresh pepper, are $2.75, or you can add sea-salted house-made tater tots (shredded potato and cheese), which, if described more accurately as potato croquettes, probably wouldn't sell as well to the no-nonsense crowd.

Pies are the sleeper hit here—they are clearly the passion of someone in the kitchen, and are baked fresh throughout the day. The handmade crust has the holy trinity qualities of richness, delicate crumb, and a baffling lightness that soaks up the locally made vanilla ice cream. If you want an archetypal custardy, satiny coconut cream pie, look no further. The sweetness and simplicity of the fresh apple and berry pies is perfectly balanced.

Tilt has a few areas for improvement. Sandwiches and salads here lack the excitement of the hot foods menu, with an Italian cold cut combo ($8.50) on dull sliced sourdough just feeling generic; a mighty Cobb salad ($10) generously laden with fresh avocado, bacon, and chicken should be tossed with its dressing before composing.

Tilt (Swan Island)

3449 N Anchor, Portland, OR
Hours: Mon-Thurs 11 am-8 pm, Fri 11 am-9 pm, Sat 9 am-9 pm, Sun 9am-3pm
Restaurant Details
  • Cuisine Burgers
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