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Gourmet Burgers in Chicago

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

WHY WE LOVE IT

No skimpy fast food burgers here. Think indulgent, out-of-the-box creations, like bison with fresh goat cheese, pickled red onions, and blueberry barbecue sauce. From unique flavor combos to the classic bacon-and-cheese combos, there's a burger to satisfy your every craving.

WHERE TO GO

Au Cheval in West Loop
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 in West Loop

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. 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
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 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 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 from Butcher & the Burger restaurant in Chicago

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: it's BYOB)

The Burger Point in near South Side

Just south of the Loop near McCormick Place, The Burger Point is committed to using only the best meat in their burgers. That means all natural, hormone, antibiotic, and preservative free. They're known for their insane stuffed burgers, like The Capone — a grass-fed burger stuffed with fresh mozzarella, basil, and grape tomatoes, then topped with fried basil, over-roasted tomatoes, and a balsamic reduction.

Burger at DMK Burger Bar in Chicago
DMK Burger Bar in Lakeview

With seven patty options (grass-fed beef or bison, naturally-raised turkey or Colorado lamb, crispy Portobello, housemade veggie, or even fresh salmon) 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 in Avondale and West Loop

Exterior of Kuma's Corner restaurant in Chicago

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

Harry Caray's 7th Inning Stretch on the Magnificent Mile

Cheeseburger and fries at Harry Caray's 7th Inning Stretch restaurant in Chicago

Named for the beloved Chicago Cubs announcer, this laidback, family-friendly spot is 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.

Other burger options: 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 near downtown; and Burger Bar in the South Loop. 

  

   

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