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Chris Hennes

[CHI] Burgers in Chicago

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Does anyone have any suggestions for burgers worth seeking out in Chicago? It doesn't have to be The Best™ (whatever that might mean)—just a great burger. Bonus points for being downtown or easy access from the L.

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Try Kuma's Corner at 2900 W Belmont Ave (unique, very well reviewed, but not close to an El) and DMK Burger Bar at 2954 N Sheffield Ave (outstanding and a few steps from the Wellington El stop on the Brown line and/or Purple line). While at DMK, check out the Fish Bar next door for a quick change of pace. Both outstanding.

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I can't speak to burgers in The Loop, but in River North (as it says, just north over the river from The Loop) there's a really good high-end version at Naha:

Our Famous NAHA Half Pound Angus Beef Burger on a Housemade Sea Salt Crusted Ciabatta Bun with Stone Ground Mustard, Glazed Onions and Hand-Cut Crisp Idaho Potato Fries $17.00. With your choice of Artisan Cheese, add $3.00. With Kurobuta Pork Belly, Mushrooms or Slab Bacon, add $6.00

I've heard that the burger at Keefer's, also in River North, is good, but I haven't personally experienced it.

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Kuma's Corner has excellent, if rather non-traditional, burgers. However, be warned, there will be a wait and once you get inside your ears will bleed from the insanely loud heavy/death/speed metal on the sound system. Decent selection of local craft beers as well.

DMK Burger Bar is another good choice, and while I personally haven't been just yet, I've been hearing good things about Grange Hall Burger Bar, which is within walking distance from the Loop.

Might also suggest you search Serious Eats > Hamburger Today > sort for Illinois.

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I think the best burger downtown is probably at the Rosebud on Walton (192 E Walton St near the Water Tower). Great meat, always cooked perfectly to order, and a fantastic pretzel bun. However, the place can be a bit staid. For something a bit more modern, Sable Kitchen & Bar (505 N State St) makes an awesome burger to go with impeccable cocktails.

Kuma's is terrific, but the waits can make Hot Doug's look tame, particularly during the winter when the patio is closed.

If you're willing to travel a bit, head up to Evanston and stop at Edzo's (1571 Sherman Ave). It's only about 2 blocks from the Davis Purple Line stop. The burgers are very good, but if you fail to order some variety of tricked out fries and a specialty milkshake, you might not feel like the trip was entirely worth it.


Edited by KD1191 (log)

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I wound up meeting the incomparable ronnie_suburban for burgers at Owen & Engine: aside from the excellent company, the burger there was stellar, easily among the best I've ever had. Well-seasoned, beefy, juicy, with a fantastic onion jam and cheddar cheese, on a toasted, buttered bun. My only complaint is that the burger I got was closer to medium than to the medium-rare I asked for: nevertheless, even at medium it was fabulous. I can't tell you whether it's the best burger in Chicago, but it's a hell of a burger.

The previous day I had a burger at Revolution Brewing, which was quite competent: I had the farm burger, which is served with baby spinach, roasted beet, horseradish cream, and an egg: nice combination, I thought it complemented the beef without overwhelming it. The day before that I had a very poor burger at Fox & Obel. Ron says they're on the way out, and I certainly believe it based on this lame specimen of overcooked, under-seasoned beef on a badly-textured roll. I know they're not known for their burgers, but to serve one this bad? Take it off the menu, folks.

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I wound up meeting the incomparable ronnie_suburban for burgers at Owen & Engine: aside from the excellent company, the burger there was stellar, easily among the best I've ever had. Well-seasoned, beefy, juicy, with a fantastic onion jam and cheddar cheese, on a toasted, buttered bun. My only complaint is that the burger I got was closer to medium than to the medium-rare I asked for: nevertheless, even at medium it was fabulous. I can't tell you whether it's the best burger in Chicago, but it's a hell of a burger.

The previous day I had a burger at Revolution Brewing, which was quite competent: I had the farm burger, which is served with baby spinach, roasted beet, horseradish cream, and an egg: nice combination, I thought it complemented the beef without overwhelming it. The day before that I had a very poor burger at Fox & Obel. Ron says they're on the way out, and I certainly believe it based on this lame specimen of overcooked, under-seasoned beef on a badly-textured roll. I know they're not known for their burgers, but to serve one this bad? Take it off the menu, folks.

Glad you enjoyed it, Chris. The burger was so good, it almost surpassed the company. I've taken to ordering "rare" at O&E just to avoid the occasional possibility of having my burger cooked beyond my preference. Still, it's such a fatty unctuous portion of ground-on-site beef, that it doesn't suffer at medium.

Here are a couple of pics of the burger I had at our lunch yesterday . . .

o&e.12.0107.02.burger.jpg

Meyer Ranch Beef Burger

o&e.12.0107.03.burger.jpg

Meyer Ranch Beef Burger

This remains my favorite burger in Chicago. As for Kuma's, I'm not really a fan. The novelty of their distinctively over-the-top topping cominbations wore thin for me a while back and I don't think their beef comes close in quality to O&E, or other places around town.

=R=

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Another great one, if you don't mind a trip just outside the city limits, is Edzo's in Evanston. The offer a choice of burger types - a slightly rounded charred one that's cooked to your stated doneness, or a smashed/flattened one. And they usually offer a choice of meats, including beef from several artisanal/natural farms as well as standard beef. The burgers are not the only thing there that stands out; you'll also find the best milk shakes on the planet, big ones where they give you the extra amount in the metal can they were prepared in. They offer various flavors, including standard ones, not-so-standard ones (Nutella), and daily special flavors like salted nut caramel and Mexican chocolate.

Eddie Lakin, the proprietor, has a background in fine-dining restaurants. He started Edzo's as a business where he could have dinner at home with his family every night, so they're only open till 4 pm, not in the evening. Also, closed Mondays. Edzo's is in downtown Evanston, a few blocks from the Davis stop on the CTA Purple Line. Those driving can park in the city parking garage on Davis Street just east of the tracks and west of Sherman; parking is free for the first hour, $2 for the second hour.

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I wound up meeting the incomparable ronnie_suburban for burgers at Owen & Engine: aside from the excellent company, the burger there was stellar, easily among the best I've ever had. Well-seasoned, beefy, juicy, with a fantastic onion jam and cheddar cheese, on a toasted, buttered bun. My only complaint is that the burger I got was closer to medium than to the medium-rare I asked for: nevertheless, even at medium it was fabulous. I can't tell you whether it's the best burger in Chicago, but it's a hell of a burger.

The previous day I had a burger at Revolution Brewing, which was quite competent: I had the farm burger, which is served with baby spinach, roasted beet, horseradish cream, and an egg: nice combination, I thought it complemented the beef without overwhelming it. The day before that I had a very poor burger at Fox & Obel. Ron says they're on the way out, and I certainly believe it based on this lame specimen of overcooked, under-seasoned beef on a badly-textured roll. I know they're not known for their burgers, but to serve one this bad? Take it off the menu, folks.

Glad you enjoyed it, Chris. The burger was so good, it almost surpassed the company. I've taken to ordering "rare" at O&E just to avoid the occasional possibility of having my burger cooked beyond my preference. Still, it's such a fatty unctuous portion of ground-on-site beef, that it doesn't suffer at medium.

Here are a couple of pics of the burger I had at our lunch yesterday . . .

o&e.12.0107.02.burger.jpg

Meyer Ranch Beef Burger

o&e.12.0107.03.burger.jpg

Meyer Ranch Beef Burger

This remains my favorite burger in Chicago. As for Kuma's, I'm not really a fan. The novelty of their distinctively over-the-top topping cominbations wore thin for me a while back and I don't think their beef comes close in quality to O&E, or other places around town.

=R=

Mon cher ronnie, that is one gorgeous burger.

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Another great one, if you don't mind a trip just outside the city limits, is Edzo's in Evanston. The offer a choice of burger types - a slightly rounded charred one that's cooked to your stated doneness, or a smashed/flattened one. And they usually offer a choice of meats, including beef from several artisanal/natural farms as well as standard beef. The burgers are not the only thing there that stands out; you'll also find the best milk shakes on the planet, big ones where they give you the extra amount in the metal can they were prepared in. They offer various flavors, including standard ones, not-so-standard ones (Nutella), and daily special flavors like salted nut caramel and Mexican chocolate.

Eddie Lakin, the proprietor, has a background in fine-dining restaurants. He started Edzo's as a business where he could have dinner at home with his family every night, so they're only open till 4 pm, not in the evening. Also, closed Mondays. Edzo's is in downtown Evanston, a few blocks from the Davis stop on the CTA Purple Line. Those driving can park in the city parking garage on Davis Street just east of the tracks and west of Sherman; parking is free for the first hour, $2 for the second hour.

More info about Edzo's...

There are two types of burger preparation: "Griddled Burgers (smashed thin & crispy on the griddle)" which are 4 ounces, available with a single, double, or triple patty; and "Char Burger (thicker, juicier, tell us how you want it cooked)", which are 8 ounces. They have three upgrades available for an extra $2-3 per 4 ounces: Tallgrass Beef (Kansas), CDK Angus Beef (Illinois), or Slagel Family Farm Beef (Illinois). They also have turkey and veggie burgers.

This week the special shake flavors (in addition to the flavors listed on their website) are salted caramel, toasted marshmallow, and mudslide (Oreo and coffee).

When they're busy, make sure not to stake out a table until after you've placed your order at the counter. You can read more about that in Eddie's blog here.


Edited by nsxtasy (log)

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Another great one, if you don't mind a trip just outside the city limits, is Edzo's in Evanston. you'll also find the best milk shakes on the planet, big ones where they give you the extra amount in the metal can they were prepared in. They offer various flavors, including standard ones, not-so-standard ones (Nutella), and daily special flavors like salted nut caramel and Mexican chocolate.

Nutella milkshake? Oh my, where's my plane ticket to Chicago?

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It's too late to help Chris, but for posterity's sake I'll add that the burger at Three Aces has consistently trumped any other I've had in town. I'd only had it once prior to my initial post, but it has stood up to repeated samplings. I tried the Owen & Engine burger last night and was relatively pleased but far from wowed.

ETA: I'm referring to the "Ace Burger" (aged cheddar, trimmings, bacon jam, aioli), not the In-N-Out style burgers they also do, usually late night...though those are pretty good, too. Also, get the Bolognese on the fries. You only live once.


Edited by KD1191 (log)

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