Most unique burger: Kuma’s Corner (2005-present)
Avondale, Lincoln Park
Although many burgers have rotated on and off the menu since the opening, Kuma’s mission statement has been simple: support your community, eat local, bang your head. Even though staff has changed and Kuma’s has gone on to expand to three other locations, that mindset has held true throughout the years. In addition to having longevity, they also have been ranked by numerous media outlets, both locally and nationally as not only having the best burger in Chicago, but also in America.
The menu lists 18 thick, messy, 1/2lb burgers, with names like the “Slayer” (10oz patty on a bed of fries, chili, cherry pepper, caramelized onion, andouille sausage, shredded Jack cheese, green onion... ”and anger”); the “Metallica” (bacon, blue cheese dressing, buffalo sauce, lettuce, tomato, and onion); and the “Mastodon” (bacon, BBQ sauce, sharp cheddar, and frizzled onions). The most popular item on the menu is the original Kuma’s Burger, where the two thick patties are topped with bacon, sharp cheddar, a fried egg, lettuce, onion, and tomato. On a pretzel bun. Everything is on a pretzel bun.
They also feature local and hard to find craft beers (you won’t find Budweiser or Miller Light on the menu), craft whiskey, loud metal music, long waits, and a no-bullshit attitude. Although many other burgers around Chicago have featured pulled pork, chorizo and other mouth-gaping concoctions (and even quasi-metal-themed burger concepts) have made their own mark on Chicago’s burger scene, it’s Kuma’s that will always be one of Chicago’s most legendary burger slingers.