The grand journey that is life affords many pleasures, and one of those pleasures that we’ll never, ever get sick of is eating burgers. And all great burgers require great lists. So yeah, there are plenty of burgers to be had in Chicago, but the thing about THESE ones is that they’re new, so go eat all 10 of ‘em.
Grass Fed Burger
Bread & Wine (address and info)
While Bread & Wine has already featured the Grass Fed Burger on its menu for a hot minute, the kitchen has recently added Chef Caleb Trahan, who promptly refreshed this dish and put his own spin on it. It’s topped with cheddar cheese, crispy onions, beer mustard, and served with a side of fries. However, perhaps the most impressive feature of this meaty creation is its pretzel bun, which is made in-house daily and is also pillowy enough to take a nap on.
Gold Coast Burger
Nico Osteria (address and info)
If you’re going to name a burger after the Gold Coast, it should definitely be made with the fanciest of toppings: lobster. Nico Osteria’s elegant burger also adds avocado, gem lettuce, and pickled Fresno peppers. The result is an intriguing meal that will make diners feel like their personal butler is giving them a piggyback ride across flavor country. On the double, Jeeves!
Griddled Bacon Cheeseburger
Current (address and info)
This brand-spanking-new burger tops a 4oz Slagel Farms patty with pickles, American cheese, and Russian dressing. It’s also available in a single-, double-, or triple-patty version, which will make you feel like a boss when you order it with three patties. Because of course you’re going to order three patties. Right? RIGHT.
Seven Lions (address and info)
The 7L Cheeseburger at Seven Lions may seem a touch modest upon first glance, but like a piñata filled with Rolex watches, it’s what’s inside that really counts. Made with two patties topped with sautéed red onions and served with pickles and a house-made fry sauce, this manageable burger is a nice option if you also don’t feel like wearing a HazMat suit to avoid stains.
Little Bad Wolf (address and info)
This inviting Andersonville spot offers a pan-global menu that caters to curious taste buds with everything from tacos and elotes, to bao buns and charcuterie. One of the highlights is the semi-intimidating Wolf Burger, which looks just like the kind of meal a Game of Thrones man-at-arms would order regularly. Its three patties are topped with bacon, American cheese, onion straws, mayo, house-made pickles, and, naturally, a fried egg. Hunger will be conquered.
Dove’s Luncheonette (address and info)
An updated take on a retro diner, Dove’s Luncheonette is exactly the kind of spot where patrons can expect to find an excellent patty-melt burger. Served on slices of sourdough Pullman bread, the Dove’s Burger is topped with white cheddar cheese, smoked-chile relish, and aioli. And just like a photo of Bigfoot, you’ll also have to grab one at the right time since it’s only available Monday through Friday, beginning at 11am and until it sells out.
South Water Kitchen (address and info)
Breakfast on a burger is pretty much as American as an 18-wheeler that runs on barbecue sauce. So go ahead and celebrate our great nation at South Water Kitchen, where you can order up and salute Executive Chef Roger Waysock’s Breakfast Burger. Featuring a half-pound beef-and-pork patty, this hearty creation also contains bacon, egg, and hollandaise -- all served on sturdy pretzel roll.
Slagel Farms Cheeseburger
Salero (address and info)
For a restaurant that focuses on modern Spanish cuisine from the country’s Northern region, Salero sure does know how to make a mean burger. Its Slagel Farms Cheeseburger is made with locally sourced, wood-grilled beef that’s then topped with grilled onions, aioli, and romaine and piquillo peppers. Papas bravas are served as a side, making this the perfect meal for when you ditch out of work for a three-hour siesta.
Royale with Cheese
Presidio (address and info)
Cleverly named after the burger mentioned by Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction, the Royale with Cheese is a straightforward version that’s nonetheless executed with thought-out precision. The prime-beef patty is topped with American cheese (no French stuff here), fresh lettuce and tomato, and house-made pickles. Served with a side of crispy onion rings, it’s probably best enjoyed before spending the night twist-dancing at Jack Rabbit Slim’s. (Or Danny’s a few blocks away.)
Mott St (address and info)
Mott St’s Chef Kim is no stranger to combining disparate ingredients that create interesting flavors. The Mott Burger is a great example, since it offers an Asian-influenced take on an American classic. Between a toasted bun, diners will find two quarter-pound ground-chuck patties topped with hoisin aioli, pickled jalapeños, dill pickles, miso butter, diced onion, American cheese, and sweet-potato shoestrings.
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Raf Miastkowski knows exactly what they call a Quarter Pounder with cheese in Paris. Send him your most-guarded tips @RafFoSho.
1. Bread & Wine3732 W Irving Park Rd, Chicago
2. Nico Osteria1015 N Rush St, Chicago
3. Current644 N Lake Shore Dr, Chicago
4. Seven Lions130 S. Michigan Ave, Chicago
5. Little Bad Wolf1541 W Bryn Mawr Ave, Chicago
6. Dove's Luncheonette1545 N Damen Ave, Chicago
7. South Water Kitchen225 N Wabash Ave, Chicago
8. Salero621 W Randolph St, Chicago
9. Presidio1749 N Damen Ave, Chicago
10. Mott St1401 N Ashland Ave, Chicago
Certain the meal they cook you will be better than your Last Supper, Bread & Wine wants to make you an apostate from other restaurants by serving up its namesakes and then some, which they're doing in a snug, 60-seat bistro space sporting a counter view of the open kitchen, and rough-cut communal tables made from felled elm (hopefully none of your fellow diners turn out to be a nightmare).
Nico Osteria is serving up some seafood-y deliciousness, as well as some epic cocktails alongside mains like their in-shell lobster spaghetti. As far as we are concerned, Nico Osteria is one of the best restaurants in Chicago, but you'll have to stop by and see for yourself.
Located in the W Chicago, Current is the answer to all your chic business lunch needs. With Nutella stuffed french toast for breakfast, soup and salad for lunch, and in-house-made pasta for dinner, the modern Italian menu is an overall crowd pleaser.
Elegant yet approachable, this new American clubhouse concept from Master Sommelier Alpana Singh (The Boarding House) is exactly what its Michigan Ave space called for. Chef Chris Curren’s menu is equal parts accessible and inspired, with starters ranging from fried chicken skins and pickles paired with sriracha mustard to Brussels sprout and burrata toast. Entrées run the gamut from comforting short ribs to perfectly flaky black cod with acorn squash, ricotta gnocchi, and Maitake mushrooms. And don't worry, there's alcohol, starting with Singh’s curated list of all-American wines.
The owners of Burger Philosophy totally reconceptualized their Andersonville storefront back in 2014. The result is Little Bad Wolf, a barstaurant with excellent draft beer and whiskey lists, plus next-level bar food. The original restaurant's beloved Bad Burger -- stacked with two patties, American cheese, and house-made pickles -- is still on the menu, as are tacos and steamed buns. There's more substantial comfort food too, like a half fried chicken with mashed potatoes and mac & cheese with honey-cured bacon.
One Off Hospitality's 41-seat counter service restaurant pushes Southern-inspired Mexican cuisine like chicken fried chicken smothered in chorizo verde gravy, smoked brisket taco Norteño, and chili con carne, along with craft cocktails and tequila galore.
South Water Kitchen serves up authentic Midwestern fare prepared by a native Chicagoan, Chef Roger Waysok. The menu includes classic recipes that Waysock himself grew up with, like roasted all natural chicken, grilled lamb loin, and smoked whole duck.
With modern takes on traditional staples like roasted beef short ribs, seas bass and potatoes a la plancha (translation: pan fried), and grilled flat iron steaks, Salero is a little piece of Spain right in the Chicago's West Loop. Helmed by Chef Ashlee Aubin, this stylish restaurant and bar avoids the trend factor of tapas and sticks to starts and main courses, so for once you won't have to feel the selfish guilt that one can only get when refusing to share their sweetbread.
This cocktail-focused lounge in the old Bluebird space keeps things California breezy with exposed brick walls, plush couches and chairs, and a West Coast-leaning beverage program. Pick your poison from a selection of CA wines, beers, and cocktails inspired by Bay Area classics such as the Tommy’s Margarita and Pisco Punch. The food menu (crafted by Chef Shaun Connolly) is similarly influenced, with California-grown ingredients like sunchokes, kumquats, and Meyer lemon adding interesting touches to dishes like scallops, wild salmon, and olive oil cake.
Tucked away in an unassuming red brick storefront in Wicker Park, this vaguely Asian restaurant from the Ruxbin crew serves an eclectic menu of family-style plates inspired by the comfort food cravings of the restaurant team. Mott St truly does cook up a little bit of everything, from steamed pork dumplings and soy-glazed wings to congee and udon. If small plates aren't for you (we get it, sometimes you just want an entrée all to yourself), then perhaps the double chuck patty Mott Burger is. The restaurant's communal tables fit all too well with the tapas-like menu.