Best Chicago Burgers (so far)

25 May

Chicago is a town that loves food (understatement of the year). With that said, of course there are lots of burgers in Chicago to choose from. You’ve got your high-end, your gtfo-establishments, big and hearty and trendy poser joints to choose from.

I will say that burgers aren’t normally my first choice and I eat from the big fast-food chains maybe once a year. But I have been to a few places by now, enough to form some opinions. While not a high priority, there’s a few other burgers I’d like to try in the city (looking at you, M Burger), but for now, here’s my current list of the top 5 burger places in Chicago:

  1. The Counter – They have a build-your-own format that includes everything from the type of bun, type of meat (beef, chicken breast, turkey or veggie), to the size of the patty, to every topping and sauce you can think of. Or that I could think of. The result has been a winner every time. Best veggie burger I’ve ever had. And between their sweet potato fries and their shakes, I always consider this place a treat. I’ll admit, a big reason why this place is #1 is because they’re convenient – right up the street from me. But they’re also consistent – and with the high quality ingredients and the build-your-own format – they’ve got it down.
  2. Kuma’s Corner– They’re probably known for their wait as much as their burgers. I could complain about the wait, but it’s all been said and heard before. Yes, there will be a wait. Get over it. To me, this place sets the standard for good quality, no-nonsense, awesome-as-hell, burgers. This place is rock-n-roll. Their burgers are named after metal bands – plus they’re huge. They will, in fact, kick your ass. If the burgers don’t, then their beer list will. And the next time I go, I’m getting the mac n cheese. I saw it being delivered from the kitchen and it looked amazing and (again) huge.
  3. Epic Burger – Delicious and hearty! They’re known for their meat – 100% all natural with no hormones or antibiotics. So you can feel better about stuffing your face with a greasy burger (j/k – sort of). Seriously, I had their turkey burger and made it a double. It was super-messy – but super dang good. I also opted for the whole -wheat bun, which had the little rolled oats thingies on top, which made it seem a little healthier as well (ha). Their fries were different – slightly squishy,but still good.
  4. Billy Goat Tavern – very much a gtfo-type of place. Tucked away under Michigan Avenue – hole in the wall with crappy menu selections (no fries, no coke – chips and pepsi) and lazy attitude. And proud of it, thanks to their Saturday Night Live legacy. Burgers are pretty substantial and good – but nothing life-changing.
  5. DMK– Their burgers consist of grass-fed beef and they were good, in spite of being a little on the too-greasy side.  I thought the patties were rather thin compared to other burgers I’ve listed above. And, true, they feature ‘artisan cheeses’ throughout the menu, like goat cheese, smoked swiss and gruyere. And I remember there was bison on the menu as well. Interesting. But I thought the food was just ok. Honestly, you know what annoyed me? The fact that they call themselves a “burger bar” – it looks all young and hip but, too me, it all just distracts from the food. A smidge too trendy for me. And the service was lame. We wanted an order of the sweet potato fries to share – and there also happened to be a special for free regular fries with the burgers during happy hour. We still wanted the sweet potato fries as well, but our server wasn’t very forthcoming about the special, like she thought we might cancel the sweet potato fries if we could get regular fries for free? Lame. Anyway, I’ve written enough about the place I liked the least.
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