Whether you're living like a ramen-diet student or a Playpen lifer, you deserve the best burger that money can buy. So we're giving it to you: here's a rundown of the best Chicago burger for 22 different price points (starting at $1). Now go get the best burger bang for your buck.
Multiple Locations Every Tuesday, the hamburger special (available from 5pm to close) gives you a meat patty, lettuce, and a bun (toppings and tots cost extra, but still, not bad for a buck). Of the $1 burgers floating around various sports bars, Bar Louie provides the strongest base from which to work.
River North There’s a litany of slider options at Henry’s and for less than $3 you can get any slider with typical burger toppings or Merkt’s cheddar, soon to be chased with a Malort/Old Style boilermaker.
Ukrainian Village The stacked patties of the Double Fatso with cheese are not to be missed at this unashamed fast-food spot. Pretty soon you’ll get to sample their wares in the former home of Hot Doug’s.
Lincoln Park, Evanston We could have easily plugged in Edzo’s almost anywhere on the list with great burgers on the cheap. But since there're also plenty of upgrades on the menu to soup up your sandwich (and some of them are crazy good), we put it here: spring for the Slagel Farms beef burger with some added bacon.
River North You won't be viewed as a heretic for ordering a burger in one of Chicago's top steakhouses, especially when it's the 40-day dry-aged prime steak burger complete with crispy shallots and bacon mayonnaise. You'll find it on the bar and lunch menus.
Avondale, Lincoln Park This metal bar offers 25+ burgers with unique ingredient combos you won't find elsewhere, but you have to start with the signature Kuma Burger with lettuce, tomato, bacon, egg, and beef, all on a durable pretzel bun.
Wicker Park Saddle up to the bar to get your mitts on a Trench Double Burger, topped with aged Tillamook cheddar and bread & butter pickles on a fluffy, toasted sesame bun. Save a few ducats by looking out for their rotating $10 burger-and-beer specials on Wednesdays.
Logan Square The British-style pub's Slagel Farm beef burger -- a combo of caramelized onions and a flavorful brisket/short rib/chuck patty on a potato bap -- isn't just tops in Chicago, it's among the nation's elite.
River North Indulge in Chef Kevin Hickey's wood-grilled ground bacon burger with a 70:30 beef-to-bacon ratio (!!!), creamy Vermillion blue cheese, shoestring potatoes, and special sauce on a buttered brioche bun.
South Loop If prix fixes and wine pairings aren't your thing, the bar menu affords an excellent alternative with the Acadia Burger, a juicy brisket and Wagyu patty, Gruyère, Mornay sauce, and bacon-onion jam for maximum umami-ness.
Lakeview Max out your Andrew Jackson at Billy Dec's burger bar by ordering up a Rockit Burger: Wagyu Kobe beef, melted Brie, fried shallots, and medjool date aioli on a red onion brioche bun. Truffle fries on the side? Totally included.
Though it seems entirely illogical to spend more than $20 on a burger, it you are feeling particularly swaggy, you've got a couple options: the Road House BBQ Burger at Tavern at the Park ($21), the special Wagyu Wednesday Burger at The Bad Apple ($26), or the foie gras truffle goat cheese burger at Rosebud Steakhouse ($30).
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Sean Cooley is Thrillist's Chicago Editor and he plans to work the word "umami" into as many casual conversations as possible. Follow him @SeanCooley.