No matter where you are in Chicago, you're never far from a good burger. Nearly every neighborhood has a spot worthy of calling itself the city's best, so here is the top tier of the bunch. Whether you're in Evanston or Pilsen, you'll never have to settle for a second-rate burger again with this handy map.Read More
14 of Chicago's Best Burgers By Neighborhood
Bucktown: Hot Chocolate
Hot chocolates and pastries are the stars here—and rightfully so—but the burger isn’t far behind. Made from Slagel Farm beef, it’s topped with bacon, Carr Valley 4-year-aged cheddar and housemade pickle on a garlic toasted sesame bun. Toss in an optional egg and your own personal mini-squeeze bottles of mustard and ketchup and you’ll see why Hot Chocolate is on the Eater 38.
Rogers Park: bopNgrill
Located right off the Loyola campus, bopNgrill is a Korean-burger fusion that knocks it out of the park. The Kimchi burger brings Asian flavors with caramelized kimchi, cheddar, fried egg, bacon and kimchi mayo while the Umami burger is a flavor explosion of truffle mushroom duxelle, togarashi mayo, bacon, gouda and sun-dried tomato confit. Don’t skip the sides either as the kimchi fries are some of the best in town.
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West Loop: Au Cheval
No matter what time of the day you visit, there’s bound to be a line at the West Loop hotspot. That’s because the high-end diner’s burger is one of the best in Chicago, if not the country. Two (or three) 4 oz. prime beef patties are griddled to perfection and blanketed by cheddar, dijonnaise and housemade dill pickle on a warm, toasted bun. Add in optional thick-cut bacon and fried egg (trust us, just do it) and you have a life-changing burger experience worth braving the crowds for.
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Evanston: Edzo's Burger Shop
The popular Evanston joint has been praised for its fresh, quality burgers, which can be ordered thick or thin. Four-ounce griddle burgers can be piled high with up to three patties while the char burger is a beefier option. The patty can be upgraded to local, Midwestern-raised cattle and there’s also a turkey burger for non-red meat eaters. In addition, the menu features a number of other sandwiches and side items like truffle or loaded cheese fries.
Avondale: Kuma's Corner
At the forefront of Chicago’s burger movement is venerable Kuma’s Corner. The heavy metal bar has been serving some of the finest burgers in town since 2005 and patrons continue to line up out the door for a taste. There’s no Miller Lite available or sports playing on the televisions, but you will enjoy Jack Daniels on tap and the craft burgers coming out of the tiny kitchen. The famous Kuma Burger featured a fried egg on top before it became ubiquitous while other favorites include Plague Bringer (roasted garlic mayo, crushed garlic, housemade hot sauce, jalapenos, tortilla strips) and Iron Maiden (chipotle mayo, cherry peppers, pepperjack, avocado). It’s an institution every Chicagoan should try at least once.
River North: Shake Shack
What more is there to say about the red-hot burger chain from New York? It’s simply one of the best fast food burgers you can get, although how "fast" the experience is can be highly dependent on the lines. Regardless, it's worth the wait for the signature ShackBurgers.
Wicker Park: Umami Burger
The California burger chain landed in Wicker Park last year and has been an instant hit with Chicagoans. The crowds pack the restaurant for a taste of the original Umami Burger, which is heavy on ingredients of the fifth taste (parmesan frico, shiitake mushroom, roasted tomato, caramelized onions, house ketchup), as well as the Truffle Burger (truffled aioli, truffle cheese, truffle glaze).
Logan Square: Owen & Engine
The Logan Square English pub makes a killer burger that’s every bit as good as the rest of the stellar menu. Set on a housemade potato bun, the patty is a blend of chuck, short rib and brisket from Slagel Farms and topped with caramelized onions.
Portage Park: Leadbelly Burgers
Portage Park’s rock-inspired spot is the product of two local burger lovers, Steve and Nicole Mass O’Brien. The restaurant pays homage to blue and folk musician Huddie William Ledbetter with a number of inventive choices. Favorites include the Black Betty (smoked bacon, bleu cheese, fried onion straws, buffalo bleu sauce) and Easy Rider (bacon, homemade Sriracha pickles, cheddar, bourbon BBQ sauce) on house-baked buns, while the Belly Fry is double-fried and topped with diced pork belly and crispy onion straws.
Made famous in Minneapolis, the Juicy Lucy stuffs cheese inside a Slagel Farm patty so diners get a mouthful of cheesy goodness in every bite. It’s then topped with red onion bacon marmalade and served with beef fat fries for the best burger in Pilsen.
Lincoln Park: Butcher & The Burger
If you like full control of your burger, then Lincoln Park’s Butcher and the Burger is the place for you. Just about everything is customizable, from specialty patties and spices to the bun and toppings. Want a bison burger with ghost pepper spices topped with Sriracha mayo and BBQ pork belly? Not a problem. The possibilities are endless here.
Des Plaines: Paradise Pup
You’ll have to head out to Des Plaines for this roadside joint but it’s well worth the trip. The excellent char-grilled burgers resemble those you’d make at home except better in every way. Add Merkts cheddar on top of the burger and it’s a juicy, flavorful beauty that rivals the city’s best.
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Lakeview: DMK Burger Bar
Michael Kornick’s popular spot in Lakeview offers an array of grass-fed burgers ranging from a Bison Burger with goat cheese, pickled red onions and blueberry BBQ sauce to a Patty Melt featuring smoked bacon, burnt onions, Leroy’s remoulade and smoked Swiss cheese on a griddled rye.
Ukrainian Village: Lockdown Bar & Grill
Hard rock and heavy metal meet gourmet burgers at Ukrainian Village’s popular bar. The signature Lockdown Warden burger is a Davis Creek Meats custom blend of beef infused with bacon, leeks, garlic and shallots, stuffed with Merkts cheddar and topped with fried leeks and shallots with truffle oil. For something less traditional, try the Fat Elvis (peanut butter, bacon, flambéed bananas) or leave it all to chance with the Flight Risk (three mini burgers of the restaurant’s choosing).