Eating a whole one might kill any hopes of a productive afternoon, but the mammoth burgers at Benny's Chop House, which are a bit more creative than the typical steakhouse offering, are worth checking out.
'AHT reviews' on Serious Eats
There's only one burger on the menu at Abigail's American Bistro and it's good enough that if for some reason you find yourself there twice in one day, it's worth getting for lunch and dinner.
My first memory of Bennigan's from high school isn't a good one: I ate a greasy fried chicken-topped salad that left me feeling absolutely terrible. After recently returning to review the burger, I left feeling similarly terrible and overwhelmed with grease.
After a slow first few months, bopNgrill has established itself among the top tier of burgerias in the Chicago area for their quality griddled burgers made with freshly ground beef and innovative toppings.
While food isn't the primary reason most people go to Revolution Brewing—it has quickly established itself as a go-to spot for quality beer in Chicago—the kitchen ensures there's no need to eat elsewhere before coming in for a drink, especially if you're looking for a good bar burger.
Some chefs at higher end restaurants get a little too fancy with their burgers, obscuring the wonderful simplicity of a ground beef patty. And some chefs simply put out a regular burger made of delicious beef, which is fine but not that inspiring. At The Florentine, executive chef Todd Stein finds an excellent middle ground, offering up a pair of patties that, while pricey, offer slight gourmet twists that make the burgers worth checking out.
Over the Fourth of July weekend, three friends and I devoted a day to exploring six burger emporiums around Chicago. It was the third time we've embarked on such a journey, and thanks to some better planning and the injection of good old-fashioned patriotism, it was the best one yet.
Most people who have only heard of The Wiener's Circle probably know it for the screaming insults that are part of the late night routine. But those who have actually been to the place will tell you this small stand puts out some very solid burgers.
At sola, amid a menu built around Hawaiian and Hawaiian-inspired fare, sits a burger that might seem out of place. But its toppings, a wonderful blend of textures and flavors, combined with one of the most flavorful pieces of ground beef in town results in one of Chicago's best hamburgers.
Memories of the best backyard grill burger you've ever had will come flooding back when you eat Paradise Pup's excellent char burgers. Add some seriously delicious milkshakes into the equation and you've got a top Chicago burger destination.
Bull & Bear, an upscale sports bar that caters to the trendier types, puts out a menu that, on paper, appeals to just about everyone. There's no question that a lot of thought has gone into the burgers, but on my visit the kitchen managed to overcook one while undercooking the other.
Nightwood has gotten a ridiculous amount of praise since it opened its doors nearly two years ago and from what I can tell, every bit of it is deserved. Most of the menu changes regularly and the kitchen has been known to show some creativity with its burgers. But while the burger I ate during my visit was truly delicious, at a restaurant this good I wanted to be wowed.
We cannot expect every restaurant to only use top-quality ingredients in their burgers. But as diners, we certainly can limit ourselves to restaurants that at least put in the effort to do the best with what they have. Monk's Pub doesn't hold itself out to be a burger paradise, but with patties that are consistently cooked to the requested temperature and topped with a variety of combinations, it's not hard to understand why downtown office workers have been filling Monk's for more than four decades.
It's not uncommon to find that burger restaurants who pile toppings on their patties sometimes lose their focus when it come to the actual patty. Burger Bar doesn't have that problem at all. The various toppings combinations offered are creative and flavorful, but the hand-formed fresh beef patties are outstanding on their own.
The burger at Duchamp has received some serious praise in the national press, and from the description on the menu, this Havarti and tomato remoulade-topped patty sounds like a winner. But the road to burger disappointment is paved with good ideas, and failures in execution doomed my patty.
Big Jones may have built its reputation as one Chicago's best Southern restaurants, but executive chef Paul Fehribach would do just fine if he devoted his culinary life to burgers. These half-pound patties from house-ground grass-fed sirloin have been one of the most popular items on the menu since the restaurant opened its doors.
The burgers at BIG & little's are merely excellent. The hand-formed patties of fresh chuck are grilled to precisely the temperature requested and explode with fresh beef flavor. The foie gras fries, on the other hand, might change your life.
Like most new gastropubs, The Gage takes its food seriously and offers an array of interesting eats. I've put a pretty good dent in the menu and the burgers remain the best things I've had there.
Looking at the impressive array of burgers, sides and drinks on the menu at DMK Burger Bar, it would be easy to assume the place has taken on more than it can handle. But that assumption would be dead wrong. The outstanding creatively-topped griddled grass-fed burgers are unquestionably the main attraction, but the fries are right up there with them. Together, they make DMK one of the better burger joints in Chicago.
The burger story at Jury's Food & Drink doesn't include beef from cows that live majestic lives on small family farms or buns from a 4th generation artisanal breadmaker. Instead, the tale is of a classic burger similar in style to those found at bars and diners across the country, but of a substance only a select few such places achieve.