Carnivores, rejoice! Known as a meat-packing town at the turn of the century, Chicago still knows our way around a hunk of beef. Here’s where to go to chow down on some of the city’s top gourmet burgers.

Au Cheval

Gourmet burger from Au Cheval restaurant in Chicago
Considered by many to be the gold standard in Chicago burgers, Au Cheval draws locals and visitors willing to brave the crowds for their famed burger. And it’s worth the wait. The single cheeseburger (which is actually a double) can be topped with thick-cut bacon and a fried egg. Trust us, you’ll want to get both.

If you’re in a hurry, you can get your fix (without the wait) at Small Cheval. You’ll find a slightly scaled-down version of the beloved burger, plus fries and boozy milkshakes, at three fast-casual locations throughout the city.

The Loyalist
Burger and beer at The Loyalist restaurant in Chicago

The burger at this downstairs hot spot was named one of the country’s best burgers by Bon Appetit magazine. And it lives up to the hype. The Loyalist burger is made with a short rib, chuck, and ground bacon patty, topped with housemade pickles, American cheese, onions, and onion-infused mayo. It comes with fries, to help mop up anything that might have fallen out of your burger.

The Bad Apple
Exterior of The Bad Apple restaurant in Chicago

Great beef and great beers give this hangout a top ranking. You get only the best from The Bad Apple, which uses strictly all-natural ingredients. Go simple (The Bad Apple Burger with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, provolone), go spicy (The Slow Burn with sautéed spicy chilies) or go crazy (Elvis’ Last Supper with bacon and peanut butter) — but just be sure to go!

Butcher & the Burger

On a charming stretch of Lincoln Park, this 30-seat counter-service eatery is a modern spin on the old-fashioned butcher shop. Their patties are made with naturally raised heritage breed pork, goats, and steer from nearby Barrington Hills, Illinois. The mix-and-match toppings (i.e. Sonora Desert Chili spices, whole wheat buns, Benton’s Tennessee Mountain Smoked Bacon) will please everyone. (Bonus: the Butcher & the Burger is BYOB)

DMK Burger Bar

With seven patty options (grass-fed beef or bison, naturally-raised turkey or Colorado lamb, crispy Portobello, housemade veggie, or even fresh salmon) at DMK Burger Bar, there’s something to try every day of the week. Build those out with a bevy of toppings and buns (like waffles or portobello mushrooms) and you’ve got a year’s worth of eating options.

Kuma’s Corner
Exterior of Kuma's Corner restaurant in Chicago

These burgers are not for the faint of heart. Served with a side of heavy metal culture, the famed burgers have piles of creative toppings and names like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and Metallica. Despite their hard-core persona, the do-gooders at Kuma’s Corner source from local farms, give back to community charities each month, and support up-and-coming Chicago musicians.

Harry Caray’s 7th Inning Stretch

Named for the beloved Chicago Cubs announcer, Harry Caray’s 7th Inning Stretch is a laidback, family-friendly spot that’s home to one of the city’s favorite burgers. The Holy Cow! burger (a favorite catchphrase of Harry Caray) features an all-beef burger topped with candied applewood smoked bacon, smoked gouda, lettuce, tomato, and Harry’s steak sauce on a soft brioche bun.

More great burger options: Other Chicago restaurants known to offer a stellar burger include the world-famous “cheezborger” at Billy Goat Tavern near The Magnificent Mile; Chicago Cut Steakhouse near downtown; Mott Street in Wicker Park; Gordon Ramsay Burger in River North; and Burger Bar in the South Loop.