Hamburger Club provides good taste, good fellowship

by: REVIEW, TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - The gang's all here for the Hamburger Club, a haven for hamburgers and friendship in Lake Oswego.The hamburger is such a vivid symbol of the good old USA that perhaps a hamburger should replace the torch hefted by the Statue of Liberty.

A nice, high triple-decker stacked with lettuce, onions and cheese and dripping down the sides with ketchup — and don’t forget the pickle — is what the American dream is all about.

That is why the Hamburger Club of Lake Oswego is such a great success. The club started as a whim but is now a thriving enterprise, so much so that couples are having difficultly finding seating during the group’s meeting the first Tuesday of every month.

The almighty hamburger

by: REVIEW, TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - immy Drakos bites into a hamburger with the greatest enthusiasm. Since founding the Hamburger Club he has become a hamburger lover himself.The ironic thing about the Hamburger Club is that it was started by a guy who isn’t especially keen on hamburgers. But his wife loves them.

“My wife, Nadia, is a big hamburger freak,” founder Jimmy Drakos said. “She’s always ordering hamburgers. Whenever we would go out to eat with Travis and Tia (owners of Lake Oswego Jewelers) she would order hamburgers every time.”

Drakos couldn’t help but notice his wife’s incredible loyalty to hamburgers. Then the bright idea occurred to him that others in Lake Oswego may share the same foodie passion. His idea for a “hamburger club” caught on like wildfire.

“I took charge,” Drakos said. “At first we had six couples. Now we have 40 and it’s been a problem. Instead of cutting back, we want to re-format the club.”

And one more thing.

“I’m starting to love hamburgers,” Drakos said.

Hamburger connoisseur

“Who doesn’t like to go out to eat? Who doesn’t like hamburgers?” This rhetorical question was posed by Sherry Dorn, whose enthusiasm for the Hamburger Club is boundless.

“It’s gangbusters,” Dorn said. “It is such a great way to get together. There are so many friends that I would never have been able to know if it was not for this idea.

“People from all walks of life and all ages are members. There are young newlyweds, then there are couples like Syd (her husband) and me. It’s fun being around all the different ages.”

As the fellowship flows, so does business talk. The Hamburger Club bolsters the local economy.

by: REVIEW, TIDINGS REVIEW: VERN UYETAKE - Sherry Dorn fills out her hamburger rating sheet as her friend Bobbie Teague looks on. The Hamburger Club loves hamburgers and the people who eat them.“The club is all local businessmen and many of them work out at the Trainers Club,” Dorn said. “We exchange some excellent ideas. It’s like a small chamber of commerce.”

But the cornerstone of the club is the meat. All hamburgers are not equal, and the Hamburger Club is on a mission to find the best burger in Lake Oswego.

“If the meat is not good, the other stuff doesn’t count,” Dorn said.

There may not be a better authority on hamburgers in Lake Oswego than Dorn.

“Growing up, my mother would take my sister and me to malt shops where they would give hamburgers the big treatment,” she said. “Those are such good memories. It hurts to realize that Big Boys do not exist any more (in Oregon). There’s too much soft lettuce used on hamburgers. I like the crispy iceberg lettuce. I also like that good sloppy sauce.”

Obviously, Dorn is a woman of good taste, and she appreciates living in a town with so many superb hamburgers.

“We have some of the best food in the Portland area,” Dorn said. “Lake Oswego is no longer a sleepy little town. We can get a five-star hamburger right here, at Tucci’s, Zeppo’s or Blast Burger.”

‘Best Hamburger in Lake Oswego’

The club is about more than food and fun. The members are now writing their own reviews about their burger outings, and for their first anniversary in February, they plan to present the very first “Best Hamburger in Lake Oswego Award.”

“All of the places we go to have something special, but there will only be one winner,” Dorn said. “We do take it seriously. It’s a big deal.”

“I’m starting to notice gigantic differences in the hamburgers,” noted Drakos.

The Lake Oswego Hamburger Club is just the latest outbreak of hamburger love that is spreading across the country.

“Burger places are the new tacos,” Drakos said. “Every city is getting more hamburger places. Chefs in big city restaurants are breaking away from their restaurants and starting hamburger restaurants.”

This is such great news that is hard for a hamburger lover not to break into a joyful sweat. Cheeseburger in paradise? You bet.

To follow the adventures of the Hamburger Club go on Facebook at

by: REVIEW, TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Is there anything in the world so delicious as a hamburger with french fries? If you think so, then join the Lake Oswego Hamburger Club.

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