Best Chicago Restaurants for the Best Chicago Burgers
Since the days of the Union Stockyards, the city of Chicago has needed to find a way to use meat scraps. Though the word “scraps” makes the stuff sound like cast-off, lower-quality meat bits, that is way not the case. When USDA prime beef, for instance, is cut and trimmed into perfect pieces, the remaining scraps are ground up and turned into foods like burgers. Great burgers.
There are lots of places to get an exceptional hamburger in Chicago. Here are six of the best Chicago restaurants for getting some of the best burgers while having the best time.
The Gage. Across from the Art Institute, in one of Chicago’s many places to chill and people watch, The Gage holds its own with innovative dishes and exceptional burgers. In addition to the Regular Burger with cheddar, Swiss or (our recommendation) bleu cheese, you can get a killer Venison Burger with smoked Gouda, fried jalapeno, pickled aioli and woodland mushrooms. Burgers now mean so much more than just the beef.
HopCat. Beer and burgers go together like coffee and cream…or something like that. HopCat has one of the very best selections of beer in the city of Chicago, and that’s saying a lot, but there’s also something to be said for their burgers. If you haven’t had it before, try the much-ballyhooed Impossible Burger, a 100% plant-based option for non-meat eaters or others who want a change from the usual red-meat patty. It’s served on a pretzel bun with vegan jalapeno mayo, marinated tomatoes, pickled red onion and spinach.
Gilt Bar. In the low-light bar, with red crushed velvet banquettes, you’ll feel right at home chomping into an all-American burger. Gilt Bar’s Bacon Cheeseburger is fully-dressed and beautiful-looking…and yes, it comes with fries, very delicious and perfectly prepared fries.
Feed. You can definitely get your feed bag on at Feed, with burgers coming in at one-third and one-half pound. There are also some tempting options available, like bleu cheese (you want this), and bacon (you want this, too), and a lot of sides to choose from that will help make a simple burger shine.
Beacon Tavern. Right off the Mag Mile, in the shadow of the Wrigley building, Beacon Tavern is much more sophisticated than your average watering hole. From the same people who brought Chicago such landmark dining/drinking establishments as Acanto and Coda da Volpe, Beacon Tavern is a super fun place to drink and eat. The standout is the Uncle Eric’s Roadhouse Burger, a half-pound patty, with sharp cheddar, onion rings and BBQ sauce, superb.
Gather. Even such a simple meal as a hamburger becomes a thing of beauty in the hands of chefs who know their way around a meat-grinder and a kitchen. At Gather, one beautiful beef patty is dressed with white cheddar, house-smoked bacon, caramelized onions, and red pepper aioli, served on a brioche bun. It will make you very happy.
The Swill Inn. At The Swill Inn, you’re going to want to get the Swill Burger. This signature dish is composed of two certified Angus beef patties, house-made pimento cheese and pickles on brioche. If the beef doesn’t appeal, for three bucks you can sub in an Impossible Burger (mentioned above)…or, if you’re an omnivore, get the Impossible Burger with optional thick-cut bacon (also $3), a combination that will blow the minds of both vegan and carnivorous dining companions.