Despite the recent invention of hamburger ice cream, hamburger blintzes, and hamburger hotdogs, the pure hamburger is still the most tasty unit of food. Today's Groupon gets you $30 worth of custom-built gourmet burgers, vegan and vegetarian feats, and cold, handspun shakes at The Counter, whose hamburgers were named one of 20 You Must Eat Before You Die by GQ, for $15. Customization is the key to burger bliss, and when the ingredients are treated with such love, admiration, and respect, each bite dances on your tongue like a young, beefy Fred Astaire.
Get down to burger-erecting business in the pale blue and silver colors of The Counter's sleek, industrial décor. Beneath the glowing orbs of light that dangle from the ceiling, you will be furnished a detailed clipboard with a menu attached. Choose from more than 312,120 possible combinations of ingredients.
Start with the protein and pick among vegetarian-raised beef, ground turkey burgers, grilled chicken, and veggie burgers made in-house from a variety of different vegetables. Decorate your protein with an impressive array of ingredients, including danish blue cheese, horseradish cheddar, grilled pineapple, honey-cured bacon, homemade guacamole, garlic aioli, and more. Select a foundation of an English muffin, a regular or honey-wheat bun, or a bowl sans bun. Custom-built burgers start at $8.50 for a third-pound patty.
If you're overwhelmed by choice, go with one of The Counter's signature burgers, such as the unique veggie (a veggie patty with mixed baby greens, roasted red peppers, sprouts, onion, and dijon balsamic dressing, $8.50) or try the burger of the month (Japanese Style ahi burger with furikake nori, daikon radish, carrot ribbons, scallions and mixed baby greens on a hamburger bun with wasabi aioli). Hand-spun shakes ($5.05) and sweet potato fries ($4.60) round out the meal. If you're not drooling yet, check out the video on The Counter's website.
GQ puts The Counter in the company of the 20 burgers you must eat before you die, and the Chicago Tribune named it one of the tastiest veggie burgers in the city. A whopping 239 Yelpers give The Counter 3.5 stars, and Citysearchers give it 4.5 stars:
- This nicely grilled and seasoned patty of panko bread crumbs, beans, corn, cranberries, mushrooms and more is delicious by itself. You can top it with a zillion options... – Monica Eng, Chicago Tribune
- It’s cool that you get to completely customize your toppings and there are so many great sauces. I highly recommend stopping by. – Rye, Citysearch
- I love this place! Their burgers are the best in the city! I made a bacon and grilled pineapple burger and it was sooo good...Those sweet potato fries are to die for! – chigal30, Citysearch
The Lesser-Known Counter
While The Counter is known primarily for being an amazing, gourmet DIY burger joint, it’s also the name of a lesser-known Batman villain named The Counter. Like Batman, The Counter has no superpowers, only the slightly-better-than-average ability to count slowly and correctly, which has perplexed Batman time and time again.
In their most famous meeting, The Counter craftily knocked over a jar filled with jellybeans, causing Batman and Robin to speculate how many jellybeans were on the floor. While they stood in silent thought, The Counter quickly tallied the jellybeans in three hours before blinding Robin with acid.
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