Today is the day that you thank all of your vegetarian and vegan friends, as they sit down for a couscous hummus wrap with a wheatgrass chaser, for they have made the right choice: leaving more red meat for you to devour like the ravenous carnivore that you are. With our fair city being a slaughterhouse hub, we’ve parsed through Chicago’s top hamburgers to give you the five you can't miss in our Burger Power Rankings.
5. Slagel Farm Beef Burger
Owen & Engine
2700 N Western Ave; 773.235.2930
Mixing ground chuck, short rib, and brisket in the meat, this patty really doesn't need much help. In fact, the only standard accompaniments are some caramelized onions and a housemade potato bap (aka bun). You can add extras like bacon and cheese and it'll still be delicious, but it really doesn't need anything else.
4. Gallow’s Pole
5729 W Irving Park Rd; 773.283.7880
It’s worth schlepping to Portage Park to for this 7oz house-ground beef & pork belly burger with smashed taters, Swiss, and bearnaise sauce, all on a house-baked sesame seed bun that sops up every last drop of burger juice while maintaining its integrity while simultaneously destroying your diet's.
3. Double Bacon Cheeseburger
2218 N Lincoln Ave; 773.697.9909
The '70s-style burger joint from fine dining chef-turned-burger flipper Eddie Lakin was already worth the trek when it was up in Evanston, and now that they expanded to Lincoln Park there's even less distance between you and the flawlessly griddled patties, ground in-house daily.
2900 W Belmont Ave; 773.604.8769
With its bloodthirsty bear paintings and Slayer-grade metal on repeat, you’ll know you’ve stepped into carnivorous territory long before a tatted waitress brings you this hunk of meat (actually you probably figured it out while you were waiting in line). In the Neurosis, that massive, juicy beef patty is smothered with sharp cheddar, Swiss, caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, and horseradish mayo, all of which seamlessly blends together between the pretzel buns that somehow remain better than all the pretenders to the crown popping up on bar menus everywhere.
1. Cheeseburger with Bacon and Egg
800 W Randolph; 312.929.4580
Greasing down the griddle with pork fat ought to be standard practice at any restaurant looking to serve a burger that melts in your mouth as fast as Au Cheval’s. Two beef patties sit atop a toasted bun topped with cheese, dijonnaise, pickles, and an egg topper (after all, that's what “au cheval” means). In a neighborhood known for destination dining, your stomach needs to be this burger’s destination. Immediately.
1. Owen & Engine
2700 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
Named partly for the owner's nephew and partly for the four cask engines pouring small-batch beers, O&E's a 60-seat Anglopub covered wall-to-wall in dark wood & leather and serving flavors from all corners of the Isles, from England, to Scotland, to Ireland.
2. Leadbelly Burgers
5739 W Irving Pk Rd, Chicago, IL 60634
Leadbelly is an inventive burger joint, taking its name from legendary bluesman Huddie "Lead Belly" Ledbetter. The burgers are meant to give you your own lead belly and include patties topped with crab cakes, slathered in bearnaise sauce, fries topped with pork belly, and 40+ craft beers.
3. Edzo's Burger Shop
2218 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60614
Edzo's isn't the name of a creepy clown, but of an awesome burger joint with a serious 70s vibe. The patties are made from house-ground chuck, then pressed and griddled (you can throw on fancy extras like a fried egg or giardiniera). There are nine different varieties of french fry combos and $5 milkshakes (that are actually $4).
4. Kuma's Corner
2900 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL 60618
Kuma's does burgers, and a lot of them. With its bloodthirsty bear paintings and Slayer-grade metal on repeat, you’ll know you’ve stepped into carnivorous territory long before a tatted waitress brings you one of several hunks of meat like the Neurosis, a massive, juicy beef patty smothered with sharp cheddar, Swiss, caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, and horseradish mayo.
5. Au Cheval
800 W Randolph, Chicago, IL 60607
Au Cheval is one sparkling spoon. Like, it's your grandma's sterling silver soup ladle. With an open kitchen and a bar hugging it, this European-flared diner-style grubspot is doling out impressive meals and Chicagoans are lapping it up.