You've Been Waiting Your Whole Life to Face San Diego's The Kraken Burger
The sirloin burger with mild Amish blue cheese is the stuff of legend around these parts, a feat made even more remarkable due to the fact that this burger is served WITHOUT A BUN. On purpose. That ups the pressure on the expertly cooked thick patty, seasoned to perfection, to do all the heavy lifting. For those who can’t fathom the idea of a burger without a bun, you can request one without issue, but you won’t need it.
This northern suburban burger powerhouse has been delighting crowds with its hand-packed 10oz burgers since 1978. These days it's best known for fresh, never frozen ground beef patties set up in dazzling creations, like the Bionic Burger, with bacon, sautéed onion, and your choice of Swiss, cheddar, or mozzarella cheese. There’s also a Parmesan Burger, Bloody Mary Burger, and Jack Daniel’s Burger, all of which come with a side of mushroom onion sherry wine sauce. You can also opt for tots instead of fries, which you should definitely do.
This classic cash-only, counter-service joint will make a burger impression to end all burger impressions with the Char Cheddar Burger, served with Merkts cheddar cheese and awesome crinkle-cut fries (to which cheeseheads can also add Merkts). The simple, delicious, charred flavor pairs well with a chocolate malt, but plan on getting here early to escape lines that often wind around and around.
The '70s-style burger joint from fine-dining chef-turned-burger flipper Eddie Lakin offers up a top campus burger in Evanston. Get in on the flawlessly griddled patties (ground in-house daily) and feel free to spring for a Slagel Farm beef burger with some added bacon.
The burger here is served with Wisconsin sharp cheddar and red onion marmalade to create a flavor so full that it requires no additional condiments. All you need is a side of the addictive fries, which you should definitely order with truffle aioli if you know what’s good for you.
Long before Perennial Virant launched him to Chicago stardom, Paul Virant had Vie, an award-winning farm-to-table restaurant tucked away in the western suburbs. Once only available as an off-menu item, the $19 wood-grilled Vie burger is worth every penny, with Hicks Ranch pasture-raised ground beef served on a beer-battered, house-made bun with a side of butter pickle slices. Come for the burger, stay for the pickles (and another burger).
They’ve got mac & cheese burgers. They’ve got burgers topped with Fritos. But for the ultimate in gluttony, they've got The Big Lebowski: a 9oz beef patty in an unholy alliance with Italian beef, bacon, and horseradish cheddar that you damn sure better abide.
This rustic west suburban spot gets its name from the two-story wood frame “country house” in its Clarendon Hills location, from which you can dig into its award-winning Country Burger: a 1/2lb of fresh ground chuck charbroiled and served on dark rye. Its Geneva location mimics the original design, and wherever you go, you can indulge in additional meaty offerings such as elk, buffalo, and a Top Drawer burger made with a killer blend of ground brisket, short rib, and whole chuck.
The inventive burgers at this Neapolitan pizzeria feature 8oz Black Angus hand-formed patties like the Maytag Blue Cheese Burger served on a pretzel bun and the Three Cheese Burger with Merkts cheddar, Emmental Swiss, and American cheese on thin-cut brioche with truffle aioli fries. But our favorite is the simple Richie Burger with white cheddar, lettuce, and tomato served on the wonderfully delicious pretzel bun.
It’s all about the burger at this small west suburban chain, where you can build your own from scratch with your choice of patty (1/2lb, 1/3lb, or two 1/3lb patties), bun, cheese, and toppings, or go with ready-made options that include a taco-spiced Mexicali burger with nacho cheese and pico de gallo or a Knead a Big Burger topped with pastrami and egg. It also has hand-spun shakes and craft beer on tap, so you’re pretty much set for the afternoon.
Burger Antics takes the term “homemade” to insane new levels, even going so far as to make its own ketchup and mustard. A 150+ whiskey wall is featured alongside creative burgers of the week/month, in addition to everyday menu items with 9oz hand-packed beef patties including a 4 Cheese Burger (provolone, Muenster, pepper jack, and fried mozzarella) and a Hotter Than Hell Burger with grilled jalapeños, house-made chipotle mayo, and optional grilled habaneros. Looks like you’re gonna need that whiskey after all.
Who the hell are Tom and Eddie? Only the dudes behind one of the 'burbs' newest burger kingpins, unfurling a heavy arsenal of meaty delights such as the famed Ampersand Burger with applewood smoked bacon, Wisconsin smoked Gouda cheese, smoky BBQ sauce, and handmade haystack onions topped with a sunny-side-up egg served on a gourmet sesame seed roll. They’ve also got a Burger Primavera with spinach and basil pesto if you feel like ordering “healthy.”
Not affiliated with Chicago’s Fatso’s Last Stand, this far south suburban favorite’s homemade, never-processed offerings feature juicy charbroiled Angus patties that include a Triple Fatso Burger, a Gyro Burger with gyro meat and a 1/3lb patty, and an all-pro patty melt served quick-service-style with plenty of taste and no BS. In keeping with its namesake, you can also add a patty to any of the deliciously waist-expanding burger offerings.
Formerly known as The Burger Boss, Burger Moovment's name change hasn’t altered the flavor profile of the casual eatery’s 100% Midwest Angus beef patties and fresh-cut Idaho potatoes. Burger options hit you almost to the point of overload, led by the signature Poutine Burger, topped with fries, cheddar cheese curds, sautéed mushrooms, and rich gravy along with the 8am Burger (with cage-free fried egg and applewood-smoked bacon).
There’s nothing too fancy about this cozy family favorite, just solid burgers made the right way with preservative-free, fresh-ground 1/2lb burgers served on butter, pretzel, rye, sesame, or sourdough buns. It does offer a Quesadilla Burger and Pizza Burger, but stick to the basics with an expertly seasoned Black & Blue Burger and you’ll do just fine.