10 Bucket-List Burgers in Chicago (2022)

Best dishes

Annie Lin

The Dearborn's saucy option | Credit: Neil Burger

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Deep-dish pizza and loaded hot dogs might be what the Windy City is known for, but Chicago knows how to make a damn good burger. The city is jam-packed with restaurants presenting their takes on the ground meat sandwich. Think Venteux’s chuck patty topped with raclette and crispy shallots, Adorn’s dry-aged prime beef burger, or Blue Door Farm Stand’s vegan quinoa burger with mango chutney. Here are the best burgers you do not want to miss in Chicago.

The Dearborn (The Loop)

Sisters Clodagh and Amy Lawless team up with executive chef Aaron Cuschieri to create a burger with versatility and numerous customizations to make it your own. The base of the burger is an 80/20 (80 percent lean meat and 20 percent fat)blend of local CDK Farm Angus beef, topped with Wisconsin cheddar, special sauce, dill pickles, and bibb lettuce on a brioche bun. The special sauce is a mix of mayonnaise and ketchup, cornichons, red onions, dijon mustard, onion, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and lemon juice. Cue the add-ons: caramelized onions, Baker’s bacon, wild mushrooms, and a lavish $21 foie gras option.

Dining at the restaurant: The classic American tavern is decked out with red leather couches and caged drop lights for a part rustic, part cozy dining room. Part of the restaurant’s French doors open up to the streetside patio dining on West Randolph.

Takeout: Both delivery and takeout are available.

Dusek’s Tavern (Pilsen)

10 Bucket-List Burgers in Chicago (2)

Credit: Dusek’s Tavern

The old-school tavern’s griddled double cheeseburger is a winner, landing a spot on Chicago magazine’s best burger list. The double patty is a blend of dry-aged chuck, short rib, sirloin, and round, all from Slagel Farms, all smothered in “special sauce” consisting of mayo, ketchup, garlic powder, diced white onion, diced pickles, and hot sauce. It’s topped with American cheese and lettuce and served with a side of fries. Wash it down with one of Dusek’s draft beers.

Dining at the restaurant: The exposed brick and chandeliers give this gastropub an edgy feel. It’s the perfect spot to grab a bite before a show at Thalia Hall.

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Takeout: Both delivery and takeout are available.

(Gold Coast/Magnificent Mile)

James Beard award-winning chef Jonathon Sawyer takes the reins at the stunning internationally inspired new American restaurant in the Four Seasons hotel. He whips up two stellar burgers: a dry-aged prime beef burger and a vegan option. The beef option comes with crispy bacon, American cheese, and secret sauce on potato buns with double-cooked fries on the side, while the lunchtime-only vegan burger takes Beyond Meat patty and tops it with house pickles, American cheese, and the same secret sauce also on a potato bun. Pair either with one of four Adorn signature cocktails or choose from an extensive wine list.

Dining at the restaurant: Sleek minimalism is the theme at this sophisticated hotel restaurant, with a shimmering crystal chandelier over the bar.

Takeout: The restaurant does not do takeout or delivery.

Kinzie Chophouse (River North)

Known as a River North staple steakhouse that has been around for 30 years, Kinzie Chophouse whips up a mean burger for lunch. The burger patty consists of a secret recipe of freshly ground beef, topped with vine-ripened tomatoes, red onions, lettuce, and a choice of cheddar, Swiss, mozzarella, or Monterey jack, served with thick-cut fries. For dinner, grab a dry-aged steak or try the signature 30th anniversary cut of 21-day dry-aged lamb chops.

Dining at the restaurant: In classic steakhouse fashion, white tablecloths class up the cream-toned interior. The outdoor patio is lined with plants and bistro-style chairs under the shade of trees.

Takeout: Both delivery and takeout are available.

Venteux (The Loop)

10 Bucket-List Burgers in Chicago (3)

Credit: Neil Burger

Paris meets Chicago at Venteux, meaning “windy” in French — a nod to the city’s infamous nickname “Windy City.” The brioche burger by executive chef Donald Young, the youngest chef in Chicago to run a MICHELIN-star kitchen during his time at Temporis, is an 80/20 chuck blend (80 percent lean meat and 20 percent fat) — the ratio equivalent of a sweet spot for a moist, juicy burger. Raclette cheese is melted atop the patty, finished with fried crispy shallots, pepper butter, charred leek relish, and a herb mix of mint, Thai basil, and cilantro for a kick of flavor. If that’s not enough, add bacon for extra texture and smokiness.

Dining at the restaurant: Dining at the French brasserie, with its dramatic 40-foot high ceiling at the Pendy Chicago’s 1920s Art Deco Carbide and Carbon Building, is truly spectacular. Outdoor seating mimics café style seating along Michigan Avenue.

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Takeout: Both delivery and takeout are available.

Beatrix (Multiple locations)

A Lettuce Entertain You restaurant — the gold standard of Chicago hospitality — with four locations and a fifth opening in spring 2022, Beatrix consistently churns out top-notch food, burgers included. At breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you’ll find the prime burger with house-made giardiniera (Italian pickled vegetable relish), and your choice of aged white cheddar, Wisconsin swiss, or havarti cheese. Plus, get it on whole-grain toast or a burger bun. Find the vegetarian option at lunch or dinner, made with a mushroom and quinoa patty, Swiss cheese, baby kale, and sriracha aioli. Both burgers come with Kennebec potato fries.

Dining at the restaurant: All locations of Beatrix offer indoor dining in a simple, casual dining room, as well as outdoor patio dining.

Takeout: Both delivery and takeout can be ordered on the website.

River North

Fulton Market

Streeterville

Oak Brook

3 Arts Club Café (Gold Coast)

The interior store RH (formerly Restoration Hardware) makes sure everything in its historic 3 Arts Club, set in the 1914 women’s club landmark building of the same name, is immaculate. That includes its classic, straightforward burger, made with a beef patty, sharp American cheese, pickles, onion, dijonnaise, and the option to add avocado or thick-cut pork belly bacon to the mix. RH recently opened up a second Illinois location inOak Brook, with a rooftop restaurant and wine bar that has the same ritzy feel as all of its dining establishments. The Oak Brook menu mirrors that of the 3 Arts Club, RH burger included.

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Dining at the restaurant: At both locations, the upscale indoor dining ambiance makes you feel luxurious while sitting beneath dazzling chandeliers inside a glass atrium around a fountain surrounded by olive trees.

Takeout: 3 Arts Club Café does not offer takeout or delivery.

Au Cheval (West Loop)

Au Cheval’s burger has reached celebrity status. From Hogsalt restaurant group, also of Aster Hall, Ciccio Mio, Gilt Bar, and more, Au Cheval has made its mark in the West Loop neighborhood that is brimming with restaurants and opened several Small Chevals, its fast-casual sister restaurant, plus a New York outpost. The signature Au Cheval burger comes with two 4-ounce beef patties, American cheese, pickles, onions, and dijonnaise on a brioche bun — and it’s one saucy affair. Add egg and bacon to give it that extra oomph. Quirky note: A single cheeseburger here means two patties, while the double means three.

Dining at the restaurant: Au Cheval operates on a first-come, first-serve basis inside its always-packed dining room where you can watch the chefs flip burgers in the open kitchen. Outdoor seating sprawls out onto the street corner at Halsted and West Randolph.

Takeout: Takeout and delivery is only available Monday through Thursday.

Willow Room (Lincoln Park)

Tucked away in the historic neighborhood of Lincoln Park, Willow Room is a new American restaurant led by chef Roldan Flynn. He serves a no-frills, but popular burger with a double patty, American cheese, bread and butter pickles, red onion, and dijonnaise between brioche buns with a side of fries. On Mondays, catch the burger on a three-course menu with your choice of a salad and dessert.

Dining at the restaurant: The large, industrial-chic space is complete with exposed brick and framed art. Private enclosed outdoor tents are set up to brave Chicago’s winter.

Takeout: The restaurant offers takeout but not delivery.

Blue Door Farm Stand (Lincoln Park)

Walk through the eponymous blue door to find farm-to-table dishes at this Lincoln Park restaurant. The farmstand burger is a standout with an Angus beef patty, caramelized onions, housemade pickles, cheddar cheese, and hand-cut fries. But don’t sleep on the veggie burger, made from quinoa, beans, breadcrumbs, and a mix of spices and accompanied by mango chutney, crushed avocados, arugula, spicy garlic aioli, and a salad of mixed greens with apple cider vinegar.

Dining at the restaurant: The two-story airy restaurant emulates dining in a chic barn house. Large window panes allow sunlight to stream in, with the downstairs French doors opening out to the street. You can’t miss the all-white exterior with the blue door.

Takeout: Both delivery and takeout are available.

FAQs

What is the Chicago burger? ›

Coat the bottom of each bun half with mustard and sport peppers followed by the burgers. Top each burger with pickles, tomato, neon relish and bun top.

What is the most eaten burger in the world? ›

The most eaten and most popular burger in the world by far is the cheeseburger. Invented and popularized by Americans, the cheeseburger is now available all over the world through McDonald's.

What is the most bought burger? ›

Everyone has their personal preference, so there's very little to choose between them. When it comes to sales, however, the Big Mac just pinches it. With over 550 million sold each year in the US alone, this signature sandwich is the undisputed best selling burger on earth.

What city has the best burgers? ›

The Best Burgers in America: Top 15 Cities
  • Columbus, Ohio. ...
  • Austin, Texas. ...
  • Park City, Utah. ...
  • Daytona Beach, Florida. ...
  • Virginia Beach, Virginia. ...
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota. ...
  • Nashville, Tennessee. ...
  • Las Vegas, Nevada. In Las Vegas, it's all about the glamorous celebrity burgers.
8 Apr 2016

What is the difference between hamburger and cheeseburger? ›

The difference between a hamburger and a cheeseburger is the cheese. Without cheese, a hamburger cannot be called a cheeseburger.

How much was a Big Mac in 1972? ›

1970s: 65 cents

A vintage McDonald's menu from the 1970s lists Big Macs for just 65 cents each. It's an especially good deal when you think about the fact that an order of fries cost 46 cents, almost as much as the sandwich.

Which state eats the most burgers? ›

Oregon topped the list, with an average of 79 burgers consumed per citizen per year. Arizona and Utah were a close second and third, at 77 and 75 burgers per person, respectively, and Utah, New Mexico, and Michigan rounded out the top five.

What is the number 1 burger chain in America? ›

McDonald's

What's a number 1 at McDonald's? ›

1. Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese. This is it. The best sandwich/burger at McDonald's is the Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese.

What is McDonald's number 1 selling item? ›

#1: French fries

It probably doesn't come as a surprise to learn that these delicious slices of golden goodness are the all-time bestseller. They've been a staple of McDonald's since its very first menu, and people have been asking for fries with that—or just fries—ever since.

What country eats most burgers? ›

The United States eats more burgers than any other country in the world. The U.S. is the number one country when it comes to burgers.

What city in the US has the best burgers? ›

For a reason it is hard to explain, cities in California did unusually well, taking six of the top 10 places. Yet, Washington D.C. came in first place with a score of 74.45. The best possible score was 100. Here are America's 25 favorite burger joints.

Which country is famous for hamburger? ›

White Castle traces the origin of the hamburger to Hamburg, Germany with its invention by Otto Kuase. Some have pointed to a recipe for "Hamburgh sausages" on toasted bread, which was published in The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy by Hannah Glasse in 1747.

What sandwich is Chicago famous for? ›

Johnnie's Beef

The Italian beef is perhaps the most iconic sandwich in all of Chicago. Although it's hotly contested, a large chunk of people think the best one is found at Johnnie's Beef out in Elmwood Park. Order it the traditional way: Topped with spicy giardiniera or sweet peppers, and dipped in jus.

What is Chicago's signature dish? ›

1. Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza at Lou Malnati's. If there's one Chicago food that's the best known, it's deep-dish pizza. Composed of a thick crust, zesty tomato sauce, personalized toppings and a behemoth layer of cheese, the Chicago deep-dish dares to be different.

What is the most popular dish from Chicago? ›

But it's deep dish pizza that really put Chicago on the map. Though its origin is often debated (for the record, most purists point to Pizzeria Uno), the city's devotion to the delicacy is uncontested. The anatomy of a true deep dish pie starts with a sturdy, buttery crust that's molded into a high-sided pan.

Is Au Cheval same as small Cheval? ›

The bun: True to its name, Small Cheval doles out a slightly smaller bun, but unless you're wielding a tape measure (ahem), you're not going to notice the size difference (for the record: 4.5-inch diameter at Au Cheval, 4-inch at Small Cheval).

Is Hamburger American food? ›

The hamburger comes from Hamburg, Germany.

Hamburgers may be known as an American fast food staple today, but their origin story dates back to the growth of cattle domestication in Hamburg, Germany, during the 12th century, according to the History Channel. There, meat patties are known as frikadellen or buletten.

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