There's a lot of controversy in Minneapolis over which bar invented the stuffed cheeseburger (aka the Juicy Lucy, aaka the Jucy Lucy). What we know for sure is that we Chicagoans don't need any extra dramasauce on our burgers, so here're 10 local spots to get a delicious stuffed burger without having to argue with someone who sounds like an extra in Fargo.
Juicy Lucy at Dusek’s (click here for address and info)
Marmalade isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when imagining a great burger, that is until you get a taste of the red onion/bacon marmalade on Dusek’s Juicy Lucy. The burger itself is Slagel Family Farm ground-beef topped with butter lettuce, heirloom tomato, and a house-baked pretzel bun. Oh, and it comes with a side of duck-fat fries.
Stuffed Burger at Vincenzo’s (click here for address and info)
Vincenzo's is best known as a pizza joint, but their stuffed burger is everything a horizontally growing boy needs. It’s a half-pound Angus patty packed with cheddar cheese and bacon, that's then smothered with chipotle BBQ sauce. You'll be rewarded for taking the risk of ordering a burger at a pizza place.
The Lockdown Warden at Lockdown Bar & Grill (click here for address and info)
The featured burger at this metal/jail-themed bar has a custom meat blend infused with bacon, leeks, garlic, and shallots that's stuffed with Merkts cheddar, plus topped with fried leeks and shallots with truffle oil.
DIY Stuffed Burger at Old Town Burger Saloon (click here for address and info)
Choose your own adventure with a choice of mushroom, roasted peppers, bacon, bleu cheese, Swiss, cheddar, or American, and they’ll make you the master of your own ground-beef destiny. Leave the Derringer at home though; this isn’t that type of saloon.
Bomba Burger at Bar Toma (click here for address and info)
Near North Side
If Charlie is the Always Sunny gang’s wildcard, the Jucy Lucy is Bar Toma’s. You wouldn’t think of an Italian restaurant as a great place for a burger, but hidden on the lunch menu is the Bomba Burger. It’s a veal-and-beef patty stuffed with fiordilatte mozzarella. To keep things Italian, it’s sandwiched inside inflated pizza dough instead of a bun, and topped with seared Roma tomatoes and fresh arugula.
Jucy Lucy at The Anthem (click here for address and info)
Properly improper spelling goes a long way in our book, and so does brazen use of processed cheese. The Jucy Lucy is stuffed with our childhood favorite/the meltiest cheese on Earth, Velveeta, and then topped with caramelized onion and diced pickle. Throw in some waffle fries, and you have the perfect meal to accompany the Blackhawks game that's undoubtedly on all of the TVs.
Screamin’ Demon at The Squared Circle (click here for address and info)
The list of stuffed burgers at this wrestling-themed bar is longer than a Ric Flair "WOOOOOOOOO", but the real test of strength is the Screamin’ Demon. It’s stuffed with cheddar & fresh jalapeños, then topped with cheddar, pork rinds, pickled jalapeños, and Cholula aioli. It’s the Figure Four leg-lock for which your appetite has been waiting.
PT Bacon Burger at Park Tavern (click here for address and info)
Near West Side
Leaving the United Center after a game is a nightmare, so skip on traffic and walk less than a half-mile over for a PT Bacon Burger. It’s stuffed with bacon and blue cheese and topped with lettuce, onion, and marinated tomatoes. It might take two hands to eat, but it’s 100x better than cramming on a bus just to get somewhere you can find a cab.
Inside Out Burger at Hackney’s (click here for address and info)
Hackney's takes their go-to burger and flips it inside out by stuffing it with bacon and cheddar cheese. It’s topped with the standard lettuce, tomato, raw onion, and pickle, but we were sold the moment they said bacon. If you really want to get crazy, get it on rye bread.
The Division at The Fifty/50 (click here for address and info)
It’s 100% corn-fed, Midwestern prime beef stuffed with smoked Gouda, sautéed mushrooms, and caramelized onions, then topped with bacon, more cheese (Swiss), and smoky BBQ sauce all on pretzel bun. So basically, at least seven things you would eat on their own all packed into one delicious burger.
Colin Joliat is a freelance food and booze writer who escaped from Flint, MI on the back of a rickety old produce truck. Follow him @FlintSkinny.
1. Hackney's733 S Dearborn St, Chicago
2. Old Town Burger Saloon1208 N Wells St, Chicago
3. Bar Toma110 E Pearson St, Chicago
4. Lockdown Bar & Grill1024 N Western Ave, Chicago
5. Dusek's1227 W 18th St, Chicago
6. The Anthem1725 W DIvision St, Chicago
7. Squared Circle2418 N Ashland Ave, Chicago
8. Park Tavern Chicago1645 W Jackson Blvd, Chicago
9. Vincenzo's Pizzeria1104 W Madison St, Chicago
10. The Fifty/502047 W Division St, Chicago
Founded in 1939, Hackney’s is an iconic family-run tavern chain known for its burgers. Made with beef ground by the in-house butcher, the Hackneyburger is served on dark rye bread and tastes best when ordered with a towering side of the signature deep-fried onions. The rest of the menu features an array of classic American comfort food and a rotating selection of draft beer.
Bleu cheese stuffed burgers sidle up beside chicken marsala entrees and chicken tender starters fon eclectic menu that is part Italian, part South Western and part pub-food at this saloon and grille - try the Taco on a Bun to see those parts fused into one dish.
James Beard Award-winning Chef Tony Mantuano's Bar Toma in Near North Side is an Italian neighborhood restaurant with open brick walls covered in chalk murals and big leather booths that provide a familial feeling, just like it's classic fare. The mozzarella bar, espresso bar, and gelato are all merely a backdrop to the wood-fired pizzas, the recipe for which Mantuano crafted himself from imported Italian ingredients and are topped with basil, prosciutto, Calabrian chiles, and truffle oil.
Lockdown's a compact, steel caged, prison-themed temple to hard rock, outfitted with metal bars, smoke machines, skulls, and wall-to-wall flat-screens billing itself as a "virtual venue".
Helmed by Longman & Eagle's Jared Wentworth, this Michelin-starred restaurant in Pilsen serves upscale American pub food. Dusek's takes everything you love and makes it better, whether that's cooking French fries in beef fat or topping a juicy hamburger with bacon marmalade and serving it on a house-baked pretzel bun. There are more than two dozen beers on tap -- some are from Chicago, others are from abroad -- and daily beer specials. The late-night menu serves the aforementioned burger and fries until 1am every night.
Because sports and nostalgia are natural companions so long as you aren't a Cubs fan, the folks behind Bangers & Lace are opening The Anthem, a retro-themed athletics bar decked with a 19thC American flag, reclaimed school lockers, and station-wagon-esque wood paneling along the L-shaped bar, which is presided over by a mere four flats and a couple of projectors, though just tell those bitter dudes to shut up and confront their dad, already!
Likely the only restaurant where the owner can just as easily serve you a pizza as a standing moonsault, Squared Circle's owned by pro wrestling’s vicious vixen, Lisa Marie Varon. The Lincoln Park pizza & burger joint’s walls are filled with WWE and TNA memorabilia and enough wood paneling to make Hacksaw Jim Duggan mildly aroused, setting the stage for you to down craft brews while taking in a pay-per-view event.
Park Tavern is a double-decker sports bar well-suited to watching the game thanks to the well-placed flat-screens and a mighty 14ft projection setup. Try not to get sauce all of your face while munching on fried egg 'n pulled pork-laden Animal Tots sporting cheese curds, grainy mustard, and gravy spiked with Bell's Kalamazoo Stout. Beer is obviously aplenty.
Kick back and watch a local game on one of many televisions and while enjoying your choice out of 60 beers(about half are craft) at this sports bar. If you're going for the pizza - and trust us, you probably should - give heavy consideration to the Diavola which comes topped with salami, crushed red pepper, mozzarella and roasted garlic. For those erring on the side of the burger, the signature Vincenzo Stuffed Burger with it's cheddar cheese stuffing and Chipotle BBQ smothered bacon, is what will set the experience apart.
The 50's a tri-level sports temple serving gluttonous fare like in-house smoked meats (ribs, pulled pork, wings), mac 'n' cheese toppable with everything from chicken to chili, and the "Double-Secret Probation"-esque "Triple Secret:" a tri-meat fatburger with a classified recipe.