The latest dining trends keep Chicago abuzz and the food scene fresh. Here's the heads up on gourmet burgers.


You don't eat a burger like this every day: bison with fresh goat cheese, pickled red onions and blueberry barbecue sauce. Mouthwatering menus are packed with unique and exotic flavor profiles just like this at burger joints around the city.


Au Cheval in West Loop
Au Cheval

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.

The Loyalist in West Loop

The burger at this downstairs hot spot was recently named one of the country's best burgers by Bon Appetit magazine. And it lives up to the hype. A short rib, chuck, and ground bacon patty is 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 in North Center

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

Butcher & the Burger in Lincoln Park
Burger with fried egg on top, cup of sauce on side

On a fashionable 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. Mix-and-match toppings (i.e. Sonora Desert Chili spices, whole wheat buns, Benton's Tennessee Mountain Smoked Bacon) will please everyone. (Bonus: it's BYOB)

DMK Burger Bar in LakeviewDMK burger

With 7 patty options (grass-fed beef or bison, naturally-raised turkey or Colorado lamb, crispy Portobello, housemade veggie, or even fresh salmon) there is something to try every day of the week. Build those out with a bevy of toppings (onions alone can be had pickled, raw, burnt, charred balsamic, or chili-rubbed and fried) and you've got a year's worth of eating options.

EPIC Burger (7 locations including near Union Station and Magnificent Mile)Epic Burger

Touting a better burger experience, this local chain operates under 6 epic rules, including: NO FROZEN HOCKEY PUCKS ALLOWED and IT'S NOT NICE TO FOOL MOTHER NATURE, meaning fresh, all-natural patties and ingredients including real cheese crafted in Wisconsin, cage-free, organic eggs and real fruit smoothies. More mindful = more delicious.

Kuma's Corner in Avondale and West Loop

Burger paradise perhaps, except for that hour plus wait in line. Served up with a side of heavy metal culture, the famed burgers take on personas of their own with names like Black SabbathLed Zeppelin and Metallica at this no reservations destination.

Lockdown Bar & Grill in Ukrainian Village

Flat screens blasting concert footage, music blaring through the speakers, and big 10oz. Certified Angus Beef burgers. Throw in a prison theme with selections like the double-patty Death Sentence and Merkts cheddar-stuffed Lockdown Warden and you've got yourself another burger trend culprit.

M Burger (4 locations including in Water Tower Place) 

Perfect for grab and go, this downtown chain keeps it simple and keeps it cheap: everything on the menu is less than $5. Locally-sourced and naturally-raised beef and chicken combine perfectly with golden slim fries and creamy milkshakes for a convenient, melt-in-your-mouth meal.

Rockit Burger Bar in Lakeview

Need another reason to head to Wrigleyville when Cubs baseball isn't in swing? How about nearly 20 burger options and 4 types of fries. Fill up on monster meals such as The Gridiron with bacon braised sauerkraut and Yukon waffle fries, The Bourbon BBQ Burger with bacon aioli and sweet potato fries, and The Truffle Mushroom Burger with truffle fries.

Others on the scene: Great gourmet burgers are not limited to burger joints. Restaurants known to offer a stellar standout on their menu include famous Chicago staple Billy Goat Tavern at its original lower level Michigan Avenue location; Mindy's HotChocolate in Bucktown; Chicago Cut Steakhouse and David Burke's Primehouse in River North.

Browse for even more Chicago restaurants and foodie stops on and get the inside scoop from our Chicago Like a Local blog.


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