Ever since I've started Lunch in the Loop, I've been moaning about not being able to find a good hot dog stand downtown. Most are imitators and flops, restaurants that seem like caricatures of real hot dog stands. But one day, as I moseyed down the street, looking for a new spot, I came across Devil Dawgs on State Street, and inside the deep and dark crevasses of my broken and black (hungry) heart, I felt hope.
'burger' on Serious Eats
Like many of my other countrymen, I sort of like baked ribs, so I couldn't help wonder if Twin Anchors really deserves all the flack.
As someone who's been lurching through the Loop trying to find surprises and things for you to enjoy, Rudy's has shown me that, even when all of your hope is nearly gone, the impossible can be achieved. That's all thanks to the Chicago char-grilled salad topped with a hot dog.
There's never been a better time for burgers in Chicago. Sure, there are an insane number of options, but there also are dozens of different styles. So no matter whether you like your burgers enormous and grilled or thin and griddled, there is an all-beef patty out there for you.
Turns out that if you can suffer a non-subterranean lunch, Billy Goat III on Wells Street has you covered in the french fried potato department.
While it's a shame Redhot Ranch doesn't carry pickles, it's best not to let a minor issue get in the way of a genuinely excellent new burger option in Chicago.
Overall, I see Epic Burger as a place that offers a higher quality fast-food burger. The food tastes like it's just trying not to offend anyone, which isn't bad, but then you're just eating for the sake of living, right? But that turkey burger, that's the one you want.
While Chicago may not be a college town, per se, Hyde Park is certainly a "college neighborhood." In a way, The Med is Hyde Park's answer to a the prototypical college town restaurant. The walls are covered with unrelated, incoherent, yet somehow interesting art, and the art is covered with unrelated, incoherent, and not-so-interesting graffiti. This is unadorned, but solidly good food.
Despite its name, the restaurant quickly strays from its central conceit: there's nothing particularly fair-ish about sliders, Chicago dogs, and root beer floats. That's hardly a slight: State Fair is at its best when putting its own spin on the dishes rather than adhering slavishly to a concept.
Kuma's Corner is serving a burger this month called The Ghost, which is topped with slow braised goat shoulder, aged white cheddar, ghost chile aioli, red wine reduction, and, oh yeah, a communion wafer. As you can imagine, some people are upset.
As excited as I was for the dogs and shrimp, even more intriguing was the promise of West Coast style burgers, a la In-N-Out. If there's anything Serious Eater gets more excited about than INO, it's news to me.
The food at The Choo-Choo Restaurant is delivered on HO train cars that run the circuit from the kitchen to the counter. You might expect, as a result, that the hamburgers would be, at best, edible. But surprisingly, it's one of the best examples of a smashed griddle burger on the Illinois side of the Indiana border
Fred's in Burlington, Wisconsin, has one amazing burger and great Parmesan-covered, house-made potato chips, too.
Remember the rumor about the potential Shake Shack location in the old Harley-Davidson store in Chicago's River North? Looks like it's official now.
Kuma's shines brightest when its dishes are executed with even a modicum of restraint- which, rather surprisingly, most of its deep fried output is. And while "restrained" is not your typical deep fried modifier, Kuma's has, and never will be, your typical place.
Just about everything you love about Edzo's is here in the new Lincoln Park location. The burgers are griddled. The fries are still hand-cut and fried twice. The shakes are freshly blended and thick. Even the space feels the same.
Mustard's Last Stand is one of a number of hot dog joints in Chicago with a questionably funny name. Though this time it also functions as a fair warning. Sure, it proudly announces our city's love of the yellow condiment over its more famous tomato-based cousin. But more importantly, this is also your last chance to fill up before catching a football or basketball game at Northwestern University in Evanston.
I wouldn't exactly call it an invasion, but over past few years a couple of iconic Iowa specialties have made their way to an unsuspecting Chicago public. Now comes Maid-Rite, a burger joint famous for its "loosemeats" sandwich, which just opened in Lincoln Park last weekend.
In Chicago, our most prominent permanent restaurant showdown takes place on South Union Avenue, where two Polish sausage joints, Jim's Original and Express Grill, stand shoulder to shoulder. For people driving north on 90/94 into the city, this pairing is the last thing you see before you arrive downtown. Ever since I moved to the city, I've wondered which one was better. I decided to order every item on both menu and find out.
The first thing you see when you walk into Phil's Last Stand on Chicago Avenue is Phil, or as he likes to refer to himself online, Fat Phil. Like Doug Sohn (Hot Doug's) and Eddie Lakin (Edzo's) before him, Phil always stands guard, taking every order, and making as many jokes as possible. While that obviously ensures a fun and freewheeling vibe, it's main advantage is quality control. Nothing gets by Phil without his approval. That turns out to be a very good thing.