May is National Hamburger Month. What better way to celebrate than to treat yourself to a big juicy burger at your favorite hamburger joint. When talking Chicago burgers, it seems the same few names keep popping up: Kuma’s (2900 W. Belmont Ave.), Five Guys (2140 N. Clybourn St.), Monks Pub (5910 N. Broadway), and the always popular sliders at White Castle–can 106,000 (and counting) Facebook fans be wrong?
My favorite burger, may just be on by backyard grill. But when I get a craving and don’t feel like cooking I have a wide variety of choices. Below are just a few of my favs. Let me know yours.
Upscale: Hot Chocolate.
Who would think a pastry chef, Mindy Segal, could compete with the big guys when it comes to making burgers. In my opinion, she does quite well. In trying to figure out why, I’m thinking her burger is really good like many around town but it is the BUN that puts it over the top. The bun is thick, grilled, and is flavored with a hint of garlic, sesame and poppy seed and is doughy enough to hold up to the juiciness of the burger. The toppings, a 4-year old aged Widmar cheddar cheese and homemade pickles plus the optional crispy bacon which I added and an egg which I have not tried make this a burger a keeper. $13. Hot Chocolate, 1747 N. Damen Ave. 773 489 1747.
New on the Block.
Can M Burger live up to its hype? M Burger is a fast-food burger place attached to the gourmet restaurant, Tru. Recently opened, it has been the beneficiary of great media hype and surprisingly, in my opinion, it lives up to its hype. The burger is topped with a “secret sauce” and has a nice consistency. If you are looking for a good burger at a good price and are lucky enough to get there when there isn’t a line, go for it–and make sure you try the chocolate shake. 161 E. Huron. 312 254 8500.
A Chicago Original Since 1934. Billy Goat.
My favorite, maybe as much for sentimental reasons and the atmosphere as for the taste, is Billy Goat–but only at its subterranean location under Michigan Avenue. There is something about that flat juicy burger or “cheezborger” compressed into a thin bun with the grilled onions and pickles that gets me every time. An inexpensive Chicago treat with burgers starting at $2.65 for a hamburger up to $5.85 for the triple cheeseburger. 430 N. Michigan, lower level. 312 222 1525.
ON THE CHEAP…MONDAY BURGER SPECIALS.
Murphy’s Bleachers. 3655 N. Sheffield. $1 burgers, all day Monday.
Stanley’s, 1907 N. Lincoln Ave. 312 642 0007. $5 Burger Barn Special includes fries, fried dill pickle, soup, salad and toppings, Mondays 11a.m. to 2p.m. and 5p.m to 11p.m.
The Beetle. 2532 W. Chicago Ave. 773 384 0701. Monday special, .50 mini-burgers.
PitchFork. 2922 W. Irving Park Rd. 773 866 2010. $3 burger with side.
Cortland’s Garage. 1645 W. Cortland St. 773 7877. $5 build-your-own burgers. 5p.m. to 2a.m.
Kincade’s. 950 W. Armitage Ave. 773 348 0010. $1 burgers, Mondays 4p.m. to 10p.m.
Witts. 2913 N. Lincoln Ave. 773 528 7032. $8 Half-Pound Dry-Aged Angus Burgers. Mondays, 5p.m. to midnight.
Wabash Tap. 1233 S. Wabash Ave. $5 Burger with fries.
Butch McGuires. 20 W. Division. 312 337 9080. $5.95 Burger with fries.
Not exactly a burger but close.
Go Roma. 848 N, State St. 312 252 9946. Starting today, it’s “Meatball Mondays.” On all Mondays in May, customers will receive a complimentary meatball with the purchase of their classic Spaghetti Marinara (full or half order). 11a.m. to 9p.m.
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