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.
'Illinois' on Serious Eats
I went to Abigail's to review their outstanding burger for AHT, but when I saw the menu featured a daily flatbread, I had to expand my order. On the day of my visit, the special went for $12 and was topped with a mixture of red and gold beets, goat cheese, black olives, arugula, a lemon-truffle vinaigrette, and Parmesan. At first glance, I worried the pile of greenery on top of the flatbread would ruin the plate, but the fresh leaves and lightly acidic vinaigrette actually served to balance out a rich, earthy appetizer.
How good is the pizza at Great Lake? If you meet someone who has eaten there and they do not tell you they had one of the best pizza of their lives, you probably don't want to listen to anything that person has to say about food.
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.
Coalfire was an early pebble in the recent avalanche of pizzerias in Chicago that do not fit into the city's traditions of tavern, deep dish, or stuffed pizza. And from the time it opened, the place has remained a favorite for many in town. Across the board, I think Coalfire features some of the best ingredients in town but, unfortunately, that's not enough for me to overlook the flawed crust.
The list of places that put out good New York slices in Chicago is a short one, but it recently got a little longer when Jimmy Kang opened Jimmy's Pizza Café in Lincoln Square.
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.
We haven't met many people who don't love a great french fry, and here in Chicago, there are a ton of places to choose from. We scoured the city to compile this list of 10 favorite fry sources. They range from sweet potato fries to foie gras fries to the more classic, skin-on ones.
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.
With better deep dish options available in Chicago, the long lines at historic pizza landmarks Uno's and Due's are left largely for tourists to wait in. But Chicagoans who don't take the time to check out the places where deep dish pizza was born are doing themselves a disservice.
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.
"Grilled" is our series of Q&As of burger-related people. It's been a while since we've done these regularly, but we're starting up again by interviewing our contributors so you can get to know the people behind our site. Today we're grilling Daniel Zemans, who's been covering the Chicago burger scene for us since 2009. You can also check out his pizza reviews at Slice.
Home Run Inn may be better known nationally for its frozen pizzas, but for generations of Chicagoans, it's a pizzeria first and foremost, and a popular one at that. In one day, I checked out the original location and a frozen pie. Not surprisingly, the fresh ones were vastly superior, but both versions do the tradition proud.
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.
If Rootstock Wine & Beer Bar only served booze, the small Humboldt Park spot would do just fine. But Executive Chef Duncan Biddulph's ever-changing menu, which always includes a few "crusts," helps keep the place packed on a seemingly permanent basis.
Cemitas Puebla in the Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago is known for their unique cemitas sandwich. You may have seen it on a certain bleach blond, spiky-haired, er, guy's show somewhere? The cemitas are served on a flat sesame-seed bun with avocado, your choice of meat (pictured here is the milanesa, the breaded pork cutlet), adobo chipotle peppers, fresh Oaxacan cheese, and, when in season, papalo, a Mexican herb similar to cilantro.
While the popular history of Gino's East might be a little overblown, there is nothing misleading about this Chicago institution's reputation for making great deep dish pizza. The golden crisp crust is home to a whole lot of mozzarella, a thick and rich tomato sauce, and, in my case, a giant sausage patty. Together, that makes for one soul-satisfying pizza.
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.
Giordano's flagship restaurant might be loaded with tourists, but residents all over the Chicagoland area keep dozens of other locations busy. There's a thin crust on the menu, but there's really no reason to get it when a wonderfully gluttonous pizza is calling out your name.