Chicago Burgers
16 Patties that Matter

In the 13th century, Genghis Khan rode town-to-town, stopping occasionally to devour flat patties of lamb and mutton. In 1885, American Charles Nagreen invented hamburgers so patrons could eat and walk simultaneously. These are just two of the hamburger's potential origins. Despite this foggy history, it's clear that by White Castle's opening in 1921, the hamburger had secured a place in American culture. Chicago was no exception; its meat industry helped burgers arrive at carryout joints, diners, and upscale steakhouses.
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Avondale: Heavy Metal Gourmet

Pretzel rolls form the foundation for more than a dozen burgers, which chefs forge with beef patties, fried chicken tenders, or garden patties. The menu's anchor is the Kuma Burger, which tops the chosen meat in bacon, cheddar, and fried egg. All of Kuma’s superlative burgers are named after heavy metal acts, such as the Lair of the Minotaur, topped with caramelized onions, pancetta, brie, bourbon soaked pears.

Near North: A Strange History

In 1934, a goat fell off a truck, wandered into a tavern, and came face-to-face with owner William Sianis. Mr. Sianis took this strange event as a cue to grow a goatee and give his business the name Billy Goat Tavern. Today, the tavern grills single, double, and triple cheeseburgers.

Sheffield Neighbors: Create-Your-Own Meal

Every burger at this BYOB eatery is custom made. Diners select from nine patties, which include grass-fed beef and sustainable salmon. They can then pick toppings such as house-brined dill pickles and bun alternatives such as croissants.

Lakeview: An Essential Meal once listed this as one of the "38 Essential Chicago Restaurant's", and there are plenty of reasons to make repeat visits. For one, the chefs create a burger-of-the-month and a shake-of-the-month. They also use grass-fed beef for every patty.

River North: Burger of the Day

Wildfire Restaurant's close proximity to Michigan Avenue makes it an ideal destination for hungry shoppers and sightseers. While not the restaurant's primary draw, the menu's three burgers give diners plenty of reasons to forgo seafood and prime rib. Chefs hand make vegetable burgers and create a different stuffed burger each day.

Magnolia Glen: Half-Pound Burgers by Candlelight

Candlelight and complementary peanuts spill across Moody's tables. Inside, two fireplaces beam warmth, while towering trees shade an outdoor patio. Servers shuffle about both areas, delivering half-pound Moody burgers capped in gooey American, Swiss, or cheddar cheese.

Margate Park: A Side of Artwork and Guacamole

The proprietors of Big Chicks started collecting artwork nearly three decades ago. Since then, they've blanked the restaurant's walls with drawings, photos, and paintings that depict women. This creativity extends to the menu, which includes the Rio Grande burger: a half-pound of beef topped in guacamole and pepper jack cheese.

Near North: Kobe Beef and Melted Brie

With the Rockit Burger, chef Amanda Downing brings a level of sophistication to the classic comfort food. She starts with a foundation of Kobe beef, and then adds on melted brie, fried shallots, red onions, and a medjool date aioli. A brioche bun and side order of truffle fries finish the burger off.

South Loop: Organic Ingredients

The staff at Epic Burger likes to know where ingredients come from. They use all-natural, hormone-free beef and bake their own hamburger buns. They also ensure the quality of toppings, which include nitrate-free bacon and organic eggs.

Bucktown: House Made Pickles

The chefs at Mindy's Hot Chocolate grind their own heartland beef and make their own pickles. These efforts pay off with the signature hamburger, which also dons 4-year-aged cheddar and a sunny-side-up egg. Milkshakes and six kinds of hot chocolate complement the sandwich.

The Loop: An Upscale Burger

Chef Paul Katz elevates comfort food to the level of fine dining. The most creative of his six burgers is perhaps the Gobbler, a turkey burger with cranberry aioli that echoes Thanksgiving. Servers carry the sandwiches to an outdoor patio or an open dining room, where floor-to-ceiling windows overlook the Chicago River.

Edgewater: Innovative Toppings

It doesn't look like a typical burger. Homemade cheese sauce cascades over a mountain of hand-cut fries, which tops two beef patties alternated between slices of Texas toast. This "Horseshoe Burger" is just one of the menu's burgers, which incorporate other toppings such as cranberry sauce and pineapples.

Lakeview East: Vegetarian

Customers won't find beef at this eatery. The diner, which has been all vegetarian since it opened in 1983, boasts a menu that pairs sweet potato fries with burgers made from seitan patties. Their chefs also make their own veggie bacon.

Evanston: Keep it Simple

Simplicity is key at Edzo's. Each morning, their cooks grind beef and then wait for customers to arrive. Once an order's placed, they put the meat on the griddle, add a little salt and pepper, and serve burgers either thick or smashed. Hand-cut, twice-cooked fries help make the trip to Evanston worthwhile.

Lincoln Park: A Dozen Different Burgers

The griddle sizzles as another half-pound of ground chuck and sirloin hits its surface. Along with veggie and turkey patties, cooks transform these hunks of meat into 12 different burgers. The handheld meals include a Green Chile Cheeseburger, which incorporates fire-roasted poblano chilies, cheddar, and chipotle mayo