National Burger Month is winding down, so you'd be wise to go out with a bang on National Burger Day - today! - by digging into some of the biggest, beefiest burgers in Chicago.
Harkening back to a bygone era of Americana burger lore and comfort, Parts & Labor (pictured above) features a streamlined menu of classic burgers, sides, salads, and burger-friendly libations. The garage-esque space in Logan Square is an apt setting to partake in some greasy indulgence. Adhering to a straightforward formula of quality beef, pillowy and buttery buns, and classic toppings, the burgers at Parts & Labor are at once vintage and sublime.
Significantly raising the bar on bar food, Trenchermen's bar menu features one of Chicago's finest burgers. The "Trench double burger" looks pretty classic, but the flavors erupt into a supernova of beefy divinity. And that's not an overstatement. Each perfectly composed, delicate patty is rich with juicy steaky gusto, layered with vibrant bread & butter pickles and stacked on a perfectly sized, perfectly doughy bun.
When it comes to beefy supremacy, Owen & Engine has the formula down to a tee. The sleeper hit of the gastro-British menu at this manse-like eatery on the edge of Logan Square, the burger holds its own alongside bangers & mash and fish & chips. What makes this thing special is its simplicity, proving that a burger need not be inundated with accoutrements in order to shine. Burgers are succulent and juicy, rich with unctuous flavor and loosely packed so as to ensure a tender patty. It's served atop a house-baked bap bun, which is warm and doughy like a delicious down comforter. Some sweet caramelized onions round it all out.
A restaurant popularized for its haute seafood preparations and degustations also happens to serve one of the best frills-free burgers in the city. Available exclusively in the bar area off the more casual a la carte menu, the burger is a nod to chef/owner Ryan McCaskey's childhood glee for Burger King. We've all been there. In this case, it's a win-win situation, because we get the guilty pleasure of a fast-food style burger without the innate awfulness of actually eating fast-food. Using two thin patties, McCaskey heaps them with housemade bacon, "special sauce," garlic dill pickles, Gruyere cheese, and smoked cheddar Mornay.
For burgers that are at once mercifully light(ish) and packed with indulgence, head to DMK Burger Bar. Seeing as this bar/restaurant is hinged on burgers, there's a dizzying array of options to be had, including several beef burgers and some offbeat varieties made with fish, buffalo, and the like. Potato buns are something special, fluffy little pillows that perfectly encapsulate the thin patties, intricate toppings, and flavor-packed sauces. One of the best bets on the menu is the #1 burger, made with aged cheddar, smoked bacon, charred balsamic red onions, and BBQ sauce. For those with python-like capabilities of unhinging their jaw, the #5 Big DMK is a triple-decker behemoth stacked with special sauce.
When it comes to quick service nostalgia in Chicago's burger scene, Edzo's Burger Shop is the end all-be all. Thin, freshly griddled patties are the name of the game at Edzo's, a sleek eatery enrobed in vibrant colors and a general sense of Americana. It's fast food for people who care about what they're eating, featuring superb burgers, fries, milkshakes, and more.
Photos: Parts and Labor, Matt Kirouac (Trenchermen and Acadia), Owen & Engine, DMK Burger Bar, Edzo's Burger Shop