Where the Wild Things Grow
1. Butcher & The Burger1021 W Armitage Ave, Chicago
2. Grange Hall Burger Bar844 W Randolph, Chicago
3. Kuma's Too666 W Diversey Pkwy, Chicago
4. Mindy's Hot Chocolate1747 N Damen Ave, Chicago
5. Au Cheval800 W Randolph, Chicago
6. DMK Burger Bar2954 N Sheffield, Chicago
7. Rockit Burger Bar3700 N Clark St, Chicago
8. Edzo's Burger Shop1571 Sherman Ave, Evanston
9. Lockdown Bar & Grill1024 N Western Ave, Chicago
B&TB is a 50% meat-monger & 50% 30-seat hamburger hawker outfitted with a custom zinc bar, a century-old farm table from the Allegheny mountains, and retro gear including a manually operated 1926 cuber designed for "minute steaks," and mid-19th century Dayton scales. Oh, and burgers (duh).
Because going back to the farm is great unless you play baseball, or just plugged in your electric at Newport and Pete Seeger is hanging around with an axe (dude is so folking angry!), Grange Hall channels its owner's pastoral Michigan past, with white, barn-style doors opening into airy digs outfitted with loads of reclaimed wood, antique communal tables set with mismatched vintage settings, all under the watchful gaze of a bovine wall hanging that's so big, you'll cow-er under it.
From the flames of hell that spawned Kuma’s Corner, Kuma’s Too has arisen at (of course) 666 W Diversey, nearly doubling the original's size while duplicating its metal-inspired, pretzel-bunned burger options like the Metallica (Buffalo sauce, bacon, bleu cheese dressing) and the Black Sabbath, made with blackening spice, chili, pepper jack.
Pastry chef Mindy Segal's Bucktown restaurant is synonymous with comfort food from both the sweet and savory sides of the spectrum. Open for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch, Mindy's Hot Chocolate serves soul-warming dishes, like the Slagel Farm beef burger topped with a fried egg, creamy mac & cheese, and daily soups with crusty sourdough bread. Of course, a meal here isn't complete without dessert, which should include an order of the amazingly rich hot chocolate and a slice of the daily cake (or anything off the dessert menu -- it's all addictive).
This upscale West Loop restaurant is known for its European flair and sophisticated American diner-style eats. Au Cheval usually has a wait out the door at peak dinner hours because it's home to iconic signature items like the fried house-made bologna sandwich and the so-called single burger, which actually comes with two thin patties and is topped with American cheese, house Dijonnaise, pickles, and if you know what's good for you, the optional bacon and fried egg add-ons. The brasserie-like space includes an open kitchen and a bar where local, domestic, and international beers are all on tap.
A collab between industry vets David Morton and Michael Kornick, DMK (get it?) is a 75-seat storefront neighborhood bar outfitted with reclaimed Wisconsin barn boards and exposed original brick that's turning out gourmet grass-fed beef burgers.
This is the only time you'll hear "Come see what's between our buns," and not be freaked out. Rockit Burger Bar offers some badass burgers, including gems like the huevos rancheros burger and a chicken breast patty aptly named "The Motherclucker." If you're craycray and burgers aren't your thing, flatbreads and small bites are also served.
Edzo 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 that's pressed, griddled, then topped with extras like fried egg or giardiniera relish. The menu includes elevated French fry options -- order them "Crazy" to get a topping of chili, cheese, and chopped onion or "Angry" with four kinds of spices. Edzo's is also known for its milkshakes, which are made the old-fashioned way -- on a slow-mixing spindle machine -- to yield an extra-smooth and creamy texture.