A hamburger on honey wheat bun, topped with grilled onions, Tillamook cheddar, roasted red peppers, dill pickle chips, and a lettuce blend.

Eating at Ballard’s new, ultra-sleek burger joint The Counter is kinda like reading one of those Choose Your Own Adventure novels from back in the day. Take a seat, and you’re greeted with a clipboard chocked full of options: four patties, three buns, and dozens of cheeses, sauces, and toppings. With over 300,000 possible combinations—312,120, to be exact—each burger is unique to each customer. The decision-making doesn’t stop there. Since the custom-built burgers (which cost between $8.25-$13.25) are served a la carte, a beefy bevy of starters, side dishes, and desserts are available.

An indecisive type, are we? Then choose from a handful of signature burgers and sandwiches. Side notes: The music’s always fantastic—awesome—and there’s a full bar—even more awesome.

With a $10 bill, I opted to build my own burger—with incredible results. I piled grilled onions, blended lettuce, dill pickle chips, and roasted red peppers onto a third of a pound of beef smothered in roasted garlic aioli and Tillamook cheddar, then sandwiched it between a honey wheat bun. All that for just $8.25.

What’s the must-try item?
[Andy Reese, manager] “We certainly have our signature burgers, but the real part of the experience is about building your own burger. I really want customers to try our beef; it’s hormone and antibiotic free—more along the lines of steakhouse beef that just happens to be ground. If you’re not into beef, our veggie burger is made in-house and fresh every day. It’s not a soy patty either, but an actual vegetable burger made with 11 different vegetables and held together with brown rice and Japanese-style breadcrumbs.

And if someone’s coming in and they want the full Counter experience, what makes us a little different are our fried dill pickle chips. And we do sweet potato fries better than anyone else in Seattle.”

More cheap eatin’:
Citizen in Queen Anne
Baguette Box

Mmmmmm, beefy. Read about more great burgers HERE.