Best burger joints in Chicago

From hamburgers to fries and onion rings, these are the best burger restaurants in Chicago

Photograph: Martha Williams
Butcher and the Burger

Chicago may be known as a hot dog city, but here's a secret—our burgers are just as good as our sausages. The best burger joints offer everything from thick burgers with a side of heavy metal at Kuma's Corner to to-die-for milkshakes from M Burger. Plus there's a build-your-own burger menu and great fries at Butcher & the Burger. Here are the best burger restaurants in Chicago.

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Best burger restaurants in Chicago

Butcher & the Burger

Critics' pick

Allen Sternweiler’s adorable burger joint doubles as a butcher shop. It’s a DIY affair: Customers pick their meat, their bun, their spice rub and their toppings before the burger is made to order. It’s possible to make mistakes (we found the pork patty a little lackluster) but if you stick to beef, go with “Grandma’s onion soup” rub and flank your burger with an order of the accomplished fries, you’ll be happy. Tack on a scoop of the housemade custard, and you’ll be even happier.

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Lincoln Park

DMK Burger Bar

Critics' pick

Creative (but never overdone) toppings make the smashed-patty burgers sing at DMK sing. Try the No. 4, with roasted hatch green chili, Sonoma Jack cheese, smoked bacon and a fried egg. For $3, make it a double. The fries aren't to be overlooked either, and since they're available in two sizes, you'll be able to try both the cheddar and scallion and the blue cheese and bacon without overdoing it.

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Lakeview

Edzo’s Burger Shop

Critics' pick

Uncommonly thick Nutella shakes, fries with truffle salt—where does the low-brow end and high-end begin at Eddie Lakin’s burger shop? The answer is that it’s intertwined, because the most crucial, highfalutin things Lakin does—grinding his own meat and hand-cutting the potatoes for his fries—pervade almost every dish. The burgers actually taste beefy, and the fries are textbook examples in frying. So while we’re happy Lakin took those surly, greasy Vienna shops as his inspiration, we’re equally stoked he chose not to follow their practices.

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Evanston

Kuma’s Corner

The servers here sport more ink than a Bic factory, and the metal is cranked up so loud you can’t hear yourself talking, but therein lies the charm. Squeeze through the ass-to-elbows crowds and up to the long bar, where you might be in for a lengthy wait. What’s the draw? Well, the Slayer burger, for one—a pile of fries topped with a half-pound burger, chili, cherry peppers, andouille, onions and Jack cheese on a pretzel bun. That, and the extensive menu of craft beers, including plenty of limited-edition local brews to get before they’re gone.

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Avondale

M Burger

The M in M Burger may as well stand for McDonald’s, or at least McDonald’sish, because the place has the same greasy aroma, detectable from down the street and the same magic bullet that shoots directly into our pleasure receptors whenever we take a bite of its food. Maybe it’s all that sugary ketchup, or the sugary buns, or the soft mouthfeel of the beef that makes for effortless inhaling. Whatever it is, eating these burgers is pure happiness. 

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Magnificent Mile

Red Hot Ranch Lakeview

Critics' pick

The second location of the latenight hot dog and fried shrimp is a little glitzier (televisions, seats), but the most important difference is that it also offers burgers, thin, griddled patties with perfectly melted cheese, LTO and special sauce. The Depression Dogs are just as good as at the original, and fried shrimp dunked in spicy cocktail sauce is just what we want to eat after a night of drinking.

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Lakeview

Top Notch Beefburger

The Beverly neighborhood has a relaxed small-town-in-1965 feel, and one of the contributing reasons is this dose of Americana, both old enough and friendly enough to be your grandmother. The namesake burger is old-school minimalist, a deeply satisfying quarter-pound patty of fresh ground round sauteed in its own juices and served with the simplest toppings—grilled onions and ketchup-mustard-pickle on a feather-light bun. Just as good are the fresh-cut fries, cooked in beef tallow, and as long as you’re dining as if it’s 1965, finish up with a thick chocolate shake.

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Beverly

Comments

11 comments
Matt F
Matt F

No Au Cheval?! Unfollowing TimeOut now!

Matt F
Matt F

Au Cheval not on the list?! Unfollowing TimeOut now. What a joke..

Frankie M
Frankie M

No Leadbelly?? Leadbelly leaves Kuma's in the dust!!

Matt T
Matt T

How about Bad Apple?

Tani T
Tani T

No Au Cheval? Shame! 

David M
David M

How about doing one with best burger places in the suburbs?  Tom's Steak House in Melrose Park does a wicked burger!


Greg K
Greg K

What about Five Guys? There is one at 11th and Wabash and a few around the city and in the suburbs. They were selected as one of the top 5 best tasting burgers in the country!!!!

B-LAP B
B-LAP B

...and now Shake Shack & Good Stuff Eatery.

Jordan O
Jordan O

I don't know why everybody always forgets Epic Burger.  IMO it's a lot better than M burger if we're going with chains.