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Burger Week Task Force: Finding the Best Downtown Commuter Burger

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Fearless Eater Chicago intern Daniella Caruso braved unruly rush hour crowds to find out which local fast-food burger is the most El-friendly.


· The place: The Red Line in Downtown Chicago.
· The time: 5:00 p.m. Central Time.
· The objective: Conduct irrelevant survey and rid the city of hungry commuters forever.

For this highly scientific study, four Chicago-centric burger spots were chosen: M Burger, Max's Take-Out, Epic Burger, and Billy Goat Tavern. Said establishments were selected primarily based on their location, but also on their proximity to major El stops and their carryout policy (fast to very fast). Taste was not a factor, but was appreciated.

The hungry:

  Laura Szymczak, 25, Student
  Commute: 45 minutes
  Burger of Choice: M Burger
  Advice to future train nommers: "It's all about the packaging."

  Tim Policastro, 26, Paralegal
  Commute: 15 minutes
  Burger of Choice: Max's Take Out
  Advice to future train nommers: "Forget table etiquette. That doesn't apply here."

  Steve Davy, 30, Sales Rep
  Commute: 20-30 minutes
  Burger of Choice: Epic Burger
  Advice to future train nommers: "Make sure you've got elbow room. Elbow room  is key."

  Danny Wells, 22, Valet
  Commute: ???
  Burger of Choice: Billy Goat Tavern
  Advice to future train nommers: "Ya gotta"—pauses to finish chewing—"Ya gotta  wash it down with an Old Style."

Tedious and precise calculations comparing scales of 1 to 10 based on portability, messiness, and convenience were used to determine the winner. Messiness is on an inverted scale, meaning a lower score is better. The final tallies:


In the end, after little debate and a couple tallboys, it was just like Szymczak said—it was all about the packaging.

The winner: M Burger

M Burger's packaging, composed of a snug foil pouch, lends itself to some key commuter concerns, and as Szymczak pointed out, "It's like a built-in sneeze guard!" If you're riding the bus or train during rush hour, you are likely in extremely close proximity to several other humans. You don't need the flu on your burger.


While Epic Burger, which placed a close second, came in a very nice and sturdy earth-friendly box, it didn't lend itself to optimum portability. You can successfully eat a M Burger one-handedly with little pain and suffering while the other hand grips onto a pole for stability. As far as messiness goes, the M sauce might make its way onto your hands...or your face.

Congratulations to M Burger, the best commuter burger in Chicago. Happy traveling!
· All Burger Week 2013 Coverage [~ECHI~]

Disclaimer: According to CTA policies and practices, eating or drinking any food or beverage on board buses or trains could result in a fine, removal from CTA property, or, you know, a brief stint in jail. Eater does not condone any such rule breaking.

Billy Goat Tavern

1535 West Madison Street, , IL 60607 (312) 733-9132 Visit Website

Epic Burger

517 South State Street, , IL 60605 Visit Website

M Burger

620 N State, Chicago, IL 60610

M Burger

100 W. Randolph, Chicago, IL

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