Thursday, February 14, 2008

Chicago's Best Burger . . .

by Sean Chercover

Like many of you, I’ve bounced around a bit, and I’ve had a lot of great burgers in a lot of great towns . . . Port of Call and The Clover Grill in New Orleans, Allen’s in Toronto, The Vortex in Atlanta . . . etc.

But for me, Chicago is Burger City. And it’s not so easy to pick a best burger in this town of best burgers. Burger passions run high and burger loyalty runs deep, here in Burger City.

Here are some of my personal favorites (at the moment). Hope you’ll share yours…

Jury’s - Big, honest, beefy burger, great patio (a little cold on the patio right now, but you know what I mean) and friendly service.

Gibson’s - Yeah, it’s the old school Rush Street crowd, but you gotta admit, the burger is great. You want a big bleeding burger? This is a good one. If you don’t want your burger bleeding, order it more cooked than you like. Medium-rare will come to your table rare. Medium will be medium-rare.

Select Cut Steakhouse (thanks to Marcus for hepping me to this one) - The steaks are awesome, so you’ll be tempted to skip the burger, but don’t. Made with trimmings from various cuts of steak – leaner than most, but never dry. Very “steaky”.

Erwin - The most expensive burger on my list, ($13) and worth it. Cooked over a wood fire, this is a smoky burger. They mix a little garlic into the meat, just enough that you can taste it without it overpowering the beef. Served on an English muffin. Yum. Certainly the most highfallutin' burger on my list, and a must-try.

Lou Mitchell’s - Haven’t been in a while, but their Oliveburger Special used to be awesome, in a diner-burger kinda way. Probably still is. Nothing much changes at Lou Mitchell’s. Gotta get back there soon…

Duke of Perth - This is currently my favorite burger in Chicago. The best burger in this town of best burgers. Just perfect. To really gild the lily, order the one with the fried egg on top. Yowza! The pub also boasts a hell of a scotch selection. And after you’re done with your burger, Jake’s Pub (my home away from home) is right across the street. Jake’s doesn’t serve food. It’s a drinking joint, not an eating joint. Dog-friendly, too.

Okay, that’s my list. How ‘bout yours?

30 comments:

JD Rhoades said...

Man, I have GOT to get back to Chicago.

But 13 bucks for a burger? DAYum!

Glad to see, however, that Chicago doesn't adhere to the stupid regs we have down here about not being able to get a burger cooked less than medium well. I've been cravin' a bloody burger for about ten years now, and E. Coli can come get me if it thinks it's got the moxie.

Sean Chercover said...

Unfortunately, it's a growing trend, even in Chicago. I won't eat a burger that they insist on cooking medium. I'd rather eat something else. Another good reason to stay away from the national chain restaurant food factories.

Yeah, 13 bucks is high, but it's a great burger, and a really nice restaurant.

guyot said...

Couldn't come up with a blog post this week, eh, Hammy?

Sean Chercover said...

You got something against burgers, fatboy?

John Steffen said...

I'm telling you, you have to try Tavish at 1335 W. Wrightwood. Their mini-burgers get the pub, but the standard burger is a hand-formed, massive, tasty treat. The best in town by a mile, I think.

Anonymous said...

Hey Sean - what about the Twisted Spoke? Or Blackie's, which you put in Big City Bad Blood?

Awesome book, BTW. I love Ray Dudgeon.

Dana Kaye said...

What about Moody's? Don't know about you but when I think of best burger in Chicago (not to mention best beer garden) I immediately think of Moody's. And it only costs 6 bucks...

Steve Z. said...

The Edgewater Lounge at Ashland and Bryn Mawr makes a tasty burger. I don't know if they still have the special price of $4 on Thursday nights, because I haven't been there in a few months, but they're reasonable any night of the week... Not a fancy place, not expensive, but good.

Sean Chercover said...

John - Thanks for the recommendation, I'll try Tavish.

Anonymous - Thanks for the kind words, glad you enjoyed the book

The Twisted Spoke is no longer. They used to make a great burger (perhaps a little overrated, but great) and they definitely made the best Bloody Mary in town. Last time I went, the burger sucked, and was way overcooked. Shortly after that, they were out of business. I'll miss the Bloody Marys.

Blackie's used to be one of my faves. The last couple of times I went, the burger was overcooked. When I mentioned that to the bartender, I got a shrug. Love the pink neon and Boston Blackie's decor, but...

Dana - I love Moody's, but their burger isn't all that. It's a very good burger, not a great burger. And they tend to overcook. Love the garden and will go back again this summer, but the burger is overrated, IMO.

Damnit, when I say RARE, I do not mean Medium. When I say MEDIUM-RARE, I do not mean Well-Done. If a place can't get at least that right, then they have no place on my best burger list.

Steve - thanks for the recommendation, I'll try the Edgewater Lounge burger.

Kevin Guilfoile said...

My first apartment in Chicago was a studio that overlooked the beer garden at the Duke of Perth. I had so many of those burgers with a Tennants in my first six months here I couldn't even count em.

The fatboy at the Twisted Spoke is a good one. And the Side Street Saloon at George and Greenview used to make a great burger, but it's been a while since I've been back there.

Jude Hardin said...

Big Kahuna Burger, that Hawaiian burger place...

Kevin Guilfoile said...

The Twisted Spoke is gone? Seriously? I swear I was just there.

Although maybe that was a couple months ago...

Sean Chercover said...

I'm talking about the one on N. Clark. It's gone. Reopened with a new name and new ownership.

The one on Ogden is still there, as far as I know.

devonellington said...

I lived in Chicago when I was little, but haven't been back in years. I'm eager to return and look at it through adult perceptions.

Sorry to hear the trend is to overcook the meat. I like it when it's just stopped mooing on the plate. ;)

Barbara D'Amato said...

One of my friends used to say "just restore the body heat."

Rob said...

What about the Billy Goat? Okay, not the best burgers all around, but a damn fine down-and-dirty-grease-on your-fingers treat. They're like the McDonalds of good burgers. :)

Sean Chercover said...

Love the Billy Goat. When it comes to those yummy greasy burgers, the Billy Goat is my #1 joint. You will find me there more often than I'd like to admit.

Also in that category, Patty Burger on Adams is terrific.

Cameron Hughes said...

When you come to San Diego, go to Jeff's Burgers. Yummy.

Kent said...

Smokin' Woody's at Lincoln and Berteau (about a block south of Jury's) has a great burger, and actually replaced Jury's as my favorite for a long time. The Grafton used to have a great burger, but they changed ownership and went to those pre-formed patty things. A shame. The Duke of Perth does indeed serve a fantastic burger.

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