Chicago's Best Burgers: The Definitive Guide

Chicago
Sean Cooley/Thrillist

In a city chock-full of hot dogs, sausage, pizza, and Italian beef, it’s still important not to overlook the meaty virtues of a great burger. We’ve mowed down many a meat patty to find the top 20 burgers in Chicago. From a caramelized kimchi-topped creation to a bacon-blended behemoth, here’s what you burger lovers ought to be sinking your teeth into.

Sean Cooley/Thrillist
Dish With Save Venue
Name of Item

Slagel Farm beef burger

Venue node id
Venue Title -- ADD LINK to (address and info)
Owen & Engine
 
Neighborhood/Location
Logan Square
Description

You don’t have to be a butcher to appreciate the glory of a locally sourced beef patty comprised of brisket, short rib, and chuck on this English-inspired pub burger. Sure, the meaty handheld comes with the option to pile it high with toppings, but the standard caramelized onions and house-made potato bap complement the meat just fine.

CLICK BELOW THE LINE TO ADD ADDITIONAL TEXT
Sean Cooley/Thrillist
Dish With Save Venue
Name of Item

Neurosis

Venue node id
Venue Title -- ADD LINK to (address and info)
Kuma’s Corner/Kuma’s Too
 
Neighborhood/Location
Avondale/Lakeview
Description

The burgers at this heavy metal meat emporium, just like the tunes it blasts, are not for the faint of heart and a proper sacrifice to the Dark Lord involves devouring a Neurosis. It's stacked with horseradish mayo, sharp cheddar, Swiss, caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, lettuce, tomato, and raw onion, so each bite is a welcoming flavor assault.

CLICK BELOW THE LINE TO ADD ADDITIONAL TEXT
Acadia Chicago
Dish With Save Venue
Name of Item

Acadia Burger

Venue node id
Venue Title -- ADD LINK to (address and info)
Acadia
 
Neighborhood/Location
South Loop
Description

Respect the versatility of a restaurant that can pull off both a sophisticated multi-course tasting menu and a bar menu sporting an aggressively indulgent burger. Chef Ryan McCaskey’s burger features an 8oz all-beef patty, onion bacon jam, and bread & butter pickles. The creamy Gruyere and taleggio cheese mornay just bring it to the next level.

CLICK BELOW THE LINE TO ADD ADDITIONAL TEXT
Rockit Ranch Productions
Dish With Save Venue
Name of Item

Wood Grilled Ground Bacon Burger

Venue node id
Venue Title -- ADD LINK to (address and info)
Bottlefork
 
Neighborhood/Location
River North
Description

Take what you know about the average bacon burger and forget it entirely, because this appropriately fancy take boasts a jaw-dropping 30% bacon patty crowned with Vermillion blue cheese, shoestring potatoes, and special sauce. The pronounced bacon flavor is loud and proud, just as it should be, and matched with high-quality toppings that don’t get in the way.

CLICK BELOW THE LINE TO ADD ADDITIONAL TEXT
Hot Chocolate Chicago
Dish With Save Venue
Name of Item

Hamburger

Venue node id
Venue Title -- ADD LINK to (address and info)
Mindy’s Hot Chocolate
 
Neighborhood/Location
Bucktown
Description

What does a pastry chef know about constructing a flawless burger? In the case of Chef Mindy Segal, a whole hell of a lot actually. All the proof you’ll need is on the menu at her Bucktown gem: a classic beef burger with cheddar, bacon, and a sesame seed bun topped with more strips of melted cheddar.

CLICK BELOW THE LINE TO ADD ADDITIONAL TEXT
KARI SKAFLEN/HOGSALT
Dish With Save Venue
Name of Item

Single cheeseburger

Venue node id
Venue Title -- ADD LINK to (address and info)
Au Cheval 
 
Neighborhood/Location
West Loop
Description

This iconic burger has topped local and national best-of lists left and right (including our own), and for good reason: it really is that umami-tingling spectacular. The single (a misnomer, as it involves two thin patties) strikes that golden meat-to-bun ratio, and gets a serious flavor boost thanks to American cheese, pickles, Dijonnaise, and optional (but actually mandatory) thick-cut bacon and a fried egg.

CLICK BELOW THE LINE TO ADD ADDITIONAL TEXT
Courtesy of Parts & Labor
Dish With Save Venue
Name of Item

Classic double

Venue node id
Venue Title -- ADD LINK to (address and info)
Parts & Labor 
 
Neighborhood/Location
Logan Square
Description

The best part about this simple, straightforward griddle burger is that you get pickle in every bite; it may seem like a small victory, but when it comes to a classic burger, the flavor and texture of pickle slices are crucial in tying it all together. At only $6 a pop, it’s also the cheapest burger on this list AND it’s brunchable.

CLICK BELOW THE LINE TO ADD ADDITIONAL TEXT
Courtesy of Seven Lions
Dish With Save Venue
Name of Item

7L Cheeseburger

Venue node id
Venue Title -- ADD LINK to (address and info)
Seven Lions
 
Neighborhood/Location
Loop
Description

If you’re not keen to the idea of waiting in line indefinitely for a burger, head to this casually elegant spot in the Loop for a veritable AC doppelgänger. The 7L rendition features two thin patties layered with American cheese, a heap of sautéed red onions, pickles, and tomato aioli, along with optional bacon, avocado, and/or fried egg.

CLICK BELOW THE LINE TO ADD ADDITIONAL TEXT
BopNGrill
Dish With Save Venue
Name of Item

Kimchi Burger

Venue node id
Venue Title -- ADD LINK to (address and info)
bopNgrill
 
Neighborhood/Location
Rogers Park, Lakeview
Description

Korean and American fare collide to create one impressive lovechild: bopNgrill's crave-worthy kimchi burger. The exceptional creation is a vision with caramelized kimchi cooked with rendered pork fat, fried egg, American cheese, bacon, togarashi mayo, and shredded cabbage, and pairs well with kimchi fries for an extra hit of fermented veggie goodness.

CLICK BELOW THE LINE TO ADD ADDITIONAL TEXT
Sean Cooley/Thrillst
Dish With Save Venue
Name of Item

Double cheeseburger

Venue node id
Venue Title -- ADD LINK to (address and info)
Johnny’s Grill
 
Neighborhood/Location
Logan Square
Description

You can thank new chef/owner Sarah Jordan (Boka, Cicchetti) for resurrecting this iconic greasy spoon, and with it, a juicy, no-frills burger. The double-patty wonder comes layered with melty sharp cheddar, Dijonnaise, pickles, and onion, and you can eat it inside a converted flower shop.

CLICK BELOW THE LINE TO ADD ADDITIONAL TEXT
RPM Steak
Dish With Save Venue
Name of Item

Truffle Burger

Venue node id
Venue Title -- ADD LINK to (address and info)
RPM Steak
 
Neighborhood/Location
River North
Description

RPM Steak’s luxury, lunch-only burger may be a far cry from a greasy spoon grill but the substance is certainly there. The burger features a thick grass-fed beef patty, aromatic truffle aioli, brioche bun, and a generous pat of foie gras compound butter, and comes with a side of house-cut fries.

CLICK BELOW THE LINE TO ADD ADDITIONAL TEXT
Sean Cooley/Thrillist
Dish With Save Venue
Name of Item

Char Burger "with everything"

Venue node id
Venue Title -- ADD LINK to (address and info)
Edzo’s Burger Shop
 
Neighborhood/Location
Evanston
Description

Don’t let its humble fast-food burger joint looks fool you: at Edzo’s, all the beef is ground in-house daily, all the fries are hand-cut, and all the shakes are hand-dipped. You can’t go wrong with anything you order, but the fully loaded (ketchup, mustard, pickle, onion, lettuce, tomato) half-pound Char Burger -- with obligatory fries and shake -- is really where it’s at.

CLICK BELOW THE LINE TO ADD ADDITIONAL TEXT
Oak + Char
Dish With Save Venue
Name of Item

Prime double cheeseburger

Venue node id
Venue Title -- ADD LINK to (address and info)
Oak & Char
 
Neighborhood/Location
River North
Description

It’s no secret that the MSG Wings at this Downtown hotspot are finger-lickin’ fantastic, but its prime beef burger is actually one of River North’s best-kept secrets. The secret to this secret? Delightfully greasy beef fat onion rings, bourbon pickles, and plenty of C&D sauce (a nod to the “cease and desist” letter the restaurant received from the folks at Kraft Foods for originally labeling it “house-made A1 sauce”).

CLICK BELOW THE LINE TO ADD ADDITIONAL TEXT
A10
Dish With Save Venue
Name of Item

The burger

Venue node id
Venue Title -- ADD LINK to (address and info)
A10
 
Neighborhood/Location
Hyde Park
Description

Finally, an answer to those post-night-out Sunday morning burger cravings: A10’s brunch/Happy Hour-only burger with pork jowl bacon, cheese, mustard jam, and a brioche bun; this unique spin is prime for soaking up the remnants of last nights’ questionable decisions.

CLICK BELOW THE LINE TO ADD ADDITIONAL TEXT
Sean Cooley/Thrillist
Dish With Save Venue
Name of Item

Juicy Lucy

Venue node id
Venue Title -- ADD LINK to (address and info)
Dusek’s
 
Neighborhood/Location
Pilsen
Description

With a shiny new Michelin star in tow, this Pilsen favorite has plenty to be proud of, not least of which is its aptly named cheese-stuffed burger. The Slagel Farm beef patty comes covered in smoky red onion bacon marmalade atop a house-baked pretzel bun with butter lettuce and tomato, and a heaping side of beef-fat fries makes for an irresistible accompaniment.

CLICK BELOW THE LINE TO ADD ADDITIONAL TEXT
Sean Cooley/Thrillist
Dish With Save Venue
Name of Item

The Gallows Pole 

Venue node id
Venue Title -- ADD LINK to (address and info)
BRGRBELLY
 
Neighborhood/Location
Portage Park, Gladstone Park
Description

The original Leadbelly moniker may have bit the dust in a trademark dispute, but no squad of lawyers will get BRGRBELLY to cease and desist making top-notch burgers. Rock on with The Gallows Pole, a 7oz ground beef and pork belly burger with smashed taters, Swiss, and bearnaise sauce sandwiched by a house-baked sesame seed bun that pairs nicely with garlic Parmesan fries. 

CLICK BELOW THE LINE TO ADD ADDITIONAL TEXT
DryHop
Dish With Save Venue
Name of Item

The Burger

Venue node id
Venue Title -- ADD LINK to (address and info)
DryHop Brewers
 
Neighborhood/Location
Lakeview
Description

Nothing pairs better with a heady glass (or flight) of craft brews than a burger, and at this local brewpub, said burger happens to be a knockout custom-blend patty with ancho chile-tomato jam, arugula, pickled sweet onions, and a velvety blanket of raw milk cheddar.

CLICK BELOW THE LINE TO ADD ADDITIONAL TEXT
Kailley Lindman
Dish With Save Venue
Name of Item

Pimento cheeseburger

Venue node id
Venue Title -- ADD LINK to (address and info)
Formento’s
 
Neighborhood/Location
West Loop
Description

Originally intended as a short-term special, this pimento cheese-stuffed masterpiece was so popular that it was eventually promoted to permanent lunch menu status. The pimento cheese-stuffed patty is topped with Lambrusco onions and creamy Dijon and is nestled between a pillowy potato bun, and comes with your choice of salt & vinegar chips or broccoli salad.

CLICK BELOW THE LINE TO ADD ADDITIONAL TEXT
The Bad Apple
Dish With Save Venue
Name of Item

El Chupacabra

Venue node id
Venue Title -- ADD LINK to (address and info)
The Bad Apple
 
Neighborhood/Location
North Center
Description

There’s no shortage of inventive burgers at this craft beer-focused bar and grill, but thanks to a generous helping of braised goat cheese, the El Chupacabra takes the cake. Guac, roasted garlic puree, and white cheddar round it out.

CLICK BELOW THE LINE TO ADD ADDITIONAL TEXT
Trenchermen
Dish With Save Venue
Name of Item

Trench Double Burger

Venue node id
Venue Title -- ADD LINK to (address and info)
Trenchermen
 
Neighborhood/Location
Wicker Park
Description

Pair a craft cocktail or three with the traditional -- but far from boring -- Trench Double Burger at this trendy Wicker Park destination. Aged cheddar and bread & butter pickles are the only fixin's it requires -- the juicy meat does the rest.

CLICK BELOW THE LINE TO ADD ADDITIONAL TEXT
Sign up here for our daily Chicago email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun in town.
   
Kailley Lindman is a contributing writer for Thrillist Chicago, as well as a freelance food photographer, food blogger at KailleysKitchen.com, and recovering vegetarian. Follow her at @KailleysKitchen.
Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
1. Owen & Engine 2700 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

Named partly for the owner's nephew and partly for the four cask engines pouring small-batch beers, O&E's a 60-seat Anglopub covered wall to wall in dark wood & leather and serving flavors from all corners of the Isles, from England, to Scotland, to Ireland.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
2. Acadia 1639 S Wabash, Chicago, IL 60616

Tucked away in his own South Loop 'hood, Acadia is appointed with a cozy, up-front lounge backed by a high-ceiling, creamy-toned dining room and open kitchen. Respect the versatility of a restaurant that can pull off both a sophisticated multi-course tasting menu and a bar menu sporting an aggressively indulgent burger (8oz all-beef patty, onion bacon jam, and bread & butter pickles. The creamy Gruyere and taleggio cheese mornay just bring it to the next level). Acadia was awarded two Michelin stars, but not all foodies flocking for 10-course tasting menus know about Chef Ryan McCaskey’s mini renditions of his famous lobster rolls available at the bar upon request? The dish comes with a heap of fresh lobster meat mixed with house-made chive mayo, a sprinkling of paprika for a delicate kick, a toasty, buttered bun, and tangy salt and vinegar chips on the side.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
3. Bottlefork 441 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654

This stylish American bar and kitchen cooks up locally sourced, globally-inspired fare and pours a host of delicious 'tails.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
4. Mindy's Hot Chocolate 1747 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

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).

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
5. Au Cheval 800 W Randolph, Chicago, IL 60607

Au Cheval is one sparkling spoon. Like, it's your grandma's sterling silver soup ladle. With an open kitchen and a bar hugging it, this European-flared diner-style grubspot in West Loop is doling out impressive meals -- think stacked sandwiches and creative burgers -- and Chicagoans are lapping it up. Be sure to try the famous fried house-made bologna sandwich.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
6. Parts and Labor 2700 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

Don't worry, this isn't some mechanics station. This is a friendly Logan Square burger joint slinging classic meat discs, sides, and desserts like root beer floats!

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
7. Seven Lions 130 S. Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603

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.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
8. bopNgrill 6604 N Sheridan Rd, Chicago, IL 60626

bopNgrill is a Chicago Korean fast-casual joint with killer kimchi fries, umami-tinged burgers, and more.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
9. Johnny's Grill 2545 N Kedzie Blvd, Chicago, IL 60647

A year after Logan Square lost Johnny's, chef/owner Sarah Jordan brought the spot back. While keeping the red stools and classic charm, she also added more dining space and updated the menu. Now it features elevated versions of diner favorites, including a house-made pop tart.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
10. RPM Steak 66 W Kinzie St, Chicago, IL 60654

Located in River North, this sophisticated steakhouse collaboration between the Melmans, Rancics, and Chef Doug Psaltis effortlessly bridges the gap between old and new school. The black truffle burger topped with rich foie gras butter is one of the most luxurious power lunch options in town, while the expertly crafted cocktails, vegetable sides, steaks, and table-side baked Alaska share the spotlight at dinner.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
11. Edzo's Burger Shop 1571 Sherman Ave, Evanston, IL 60201

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 are pressed and griddled, and you can throw on fancy extras like a fried egg or giardiniera. The burgers are made even better with nine different varieties of French fry combos and $5 milkshakes.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
12. Oak + Char 217 W Huron St, Chicago, IL 60654

Staying true to its name, the space sports plenty of oak, as well as billowy light fixtures that look like plumes of smoke. Feast on ultra-flavorful "M.S.G." wings (trust us, it’s not what you think) and a smoky double-patty burger, or go big with a market price 32oz bone-in ribeye served with bone marrow and sauce Perigueux on a badass wooden board.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
13. A10 1462 East 53rd St, Chicago, IL 60615

A10 is one of the best places to indulge in creme brulee, on-tap cocktails, and awesome brews. Not particularly in that order.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
14. Dusek's 1227 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608

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.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
15. BRGRBelly 5739 W Irving Pk Rd, Chicago, IL 60634

Formerly known as Leadbelly, BRGRBelly serves up comfort food options with gourmet flair. The burgers, all of which are meant to give you your own lead belly, include patties topped with crab cakes and slathered in béarnaise sauce, and the menu is rounded out with fries topped with pork belly and 40+ craft beers.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
16. Dryhop Brewers 3155 N Broadway St, Chicago, IL 60657

Dryhop Brewers is more than just a great brewery; it's also an American-style brewpub that serves bacon-wrapped scallops and other crazy fare to go along with their awesome brews.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
17. Formento's 925 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607

This throwback Italian restaurant is offering everything from giardiniera fritta to rigatoni alla vodka to a jaw-dropping 42-oz prime bistecca fiorentina.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
18. The Bad Apple 4300 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60618

From the team behind Menagerie and Cooper's, TBA is a comfortable neighborhood tavern decked with stained glass, murals of wintry trees, and a dim game room/lounge (shuffleboard, pinball, and so forth).

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
19. Trenchermen 2039 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

Trenchermen is modeled after the hospitality offered by a Turkish bathhouse that previously occupied its location -- "a place where vodka was at hand and a bowl of borscht and a cold beer was a staple." Today you'll find a classier menu with dishes like braised lamb shank served over goat cheese gnudi, that still captures the comfort of the food formerly served here. Oh, and 30+ beers on tap.

Other Stories You Will Like

More From Around the Web