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The 24 best burgers in Chicago

From diner-style classics and loaded cheeseburgers to over-the-top creations, these are the best burgers in Chicago

Small Cheval
Photograph: Kevin J. Miyazaki Small Cheval
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Tourists believe that Chicago is known for its deep dish pizza and hot dog restaurants, but locals know the truth: We're a burger town. You'd be hard-pressed to find a menu within city limits that doesn't feature a burger, whether it's a fine dining establishment or one of the busiest Wrigleyville bars. The best burgers in Chicago are messy and piled high with indulgent toppings, like caramelized onions, thick-cut bacon and ooey-gooey cheese. Whether you like your patties thin and griddled or you prefer a thick, juicy hunk of meat, there's something on the list of the best burgers in Chicago for every carnivore. Prepare to drool: These are the 24 best burgers in Chicago.

RECOMMENDED: Check out more of the best restaurants in Chicago

Best burgers in Chicago

1
Bars, Cocktail bars

The Loyalist Cheeseburger at the Loyalist

icon-location-pin West Loop

This dark, sexy basement bar offers everything from foie gras eclairs to mussels in escargot butter, but the cheeseburger is what keeps us coming back again and again. In fact, we consider it the best in town. The patty is perched atop a squishy sesame seed-studded bun with American cheese, pickles and a mess of onions. Once you demolish this burger, your only regret will be not ordering a second.

2
Mott St.
Photograph: Nicholas James
Restaurants, Pan-Asian

Mott Burger at Mott St.

icon-location-pin River West/West Town

Perhaps you've heard of this fabled burger that's only available at the tiny bar at Mott St. We can confirm that this hard-to-get morsel is worth the wait: Two chuck patties are draped in American cheese and topped with crispy sweet potato frizzles, hoisin aioli, pickled jalapeños, dill pickles and miso butter. Each bite is a mashup of textures and flavors so unique that you'll find yourself fantasizing about it at the most inopportune times. (Maybe that's just us.)

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3
Photograph: Ben Macri
Restaurants, Hamburgers

Single Cheeseburger at The Region

icon-location-pin Portage Park

Channeling old-school burger joints in Northwest Indiana, the Region is known for its smash burger, with an iconic, lacey-edged patty that extends well past the bun. Every inch of crispy beef is dressed with American cheese, mayo-based Region sauce, bright green relish and onion. It's the only burger that's ever made us want to travel to Indiana.

4
Restaurants, Hot dogs

RHR Double Cheeseburger Red Hot Ranch Lakeview

icon-location-pin Lake View

The second location of the late-night hot dog and fried shrimp joint is a little glitzier (televisions, seats), but the most important difference is that it was the first of the two Red Hot Ranch restaurants to offer burgers: thin, griddled patties with perfectly melted cheese, LTO and special sauce. With fries, the double cheeseburger is less than $6, which also makes it an awesome deal.

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5
Photograph: Kevin J. Miyazaki
Restaurants, Contemporary American

Single Cheeseburger at Au Cheval

icon-location-pin West Loop

We know, we know. You have a love-hate relationship with Au Cheval. The West Loop spot is known for its award-winning double-decker burger and its hours-long wait. Truthfully, a trip to Au Cheval is an ordeal, but that won't stop us from commending its signature dish. Whether you order a single (two patties) or a double (three), the meat here is topped with Kraft singles, Dijonnaise and house-made pickles. If the wait left you ravenous, opt to add a fried egg, bacon or foie gras.

6
Mini Mott
Photograph: Morgan Olsen
Restaurants

Original at Mini Mott

icon-location-pin Logan Square

Spawning as an offshoot of Mott St. (No. 2 on the list), Mini Mott specializes in burgers and other fast-casual handhelds. Order the Original, with two patties, melty American cheese, hoisin aioli, pickled jalapeños, pickles, miso butter, sautéed onions and a cloud of sweet potato frizzles. Your fingers will be coated with umami flavors by the time it’s all over, and you’ll hardly notice yourself licking them clean.

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7
0513.rb.at.OwneEngine.food.jpg
Photograph: Erica Gannett
Restaurants, British

Burger at Owen & Engine

icon-location-pin Logan Square

You'll cruise the menu at Owen & Engine, considering the cavatelli with crumbly Italian sausage and kale or the bangers and mash with cider onion gravy—but we both know that you're here for the burger. Topped with a nest of caramelized onions and served with malt vinegar mayo and house fries, this patty is crafted with a rich blend of chuck, short rib and brisket, making it lightyears better than its fast-food counterparts.

8
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Restaurants, Contemporary American

Acadia Burger at Acadia

icon-location-pin Near South Side

This two-Michelin-starred South Loop kitchen is known for its pricey tasting menu, but insiders know that you can saddle up at the bar for a damn fine burger that's just $15. The thick, pink patty is topped with smoky bacon-onion jam, truffle mornay and molten gruyere. It's a mélange of rich, creamy, salty and savory that's best enjoyed on the restaurant's small sidewalk patio come summertime.

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9
BDK Burger at Blue Door Kitchen & Garden
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Restaurants, American

BDK Burger at Blue Door Kitchen & Garden

icon-location-pin Rush & Division

The reigning champ of Time Out Chicago's Battle of the Burger, the BDK Burger at Blue Door Kitchen & Garden is simple and expertly crafted. Two thin patties are glued together with cheddar and topped with tangy pickles and a swath of garlic aioli. The whole thing is cushioned by a perfectly toasted brioche bun that practically melts in your mouth.

10
Photograph: Anthony Tahlier
Restaurants, Vegetarian

Bad Hunter Burger at Bad Hunter

icon-location-pin West Loop

As the only vegetarian option on this list, the namesake burger at Bad Hunter in the West Loop has some seriously big shoes (er, buns?) to fill. You won't miss red meat when you sink your teeth into the moist but solid black bean patties, which are layered with cheddar, tomato jam, onion and lettuce. Carnivores, be forewarned: You might consider going meat-free after trying this burger.

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11
Photograph: Courtesy Small Cheval
Restaurants, Hamburgers

Cheeseburger at Small Cheval

icon-location-pin Wicker Park

As the name implies, this an offshoot of Au Cheval (No. 5 on this list), and the menu is inspired by the restaurant’s most famous item—the cheeseburger. This isn’t the exact same burger, but enumerating the differences feels like splitting hairs. It’s a little smaller and a bit cheaper. You can add bacon (it’s thinner than at Au Cheval), and lettuce and tomato, though the burger doesn’t need them. The super-thin patties themselves don’t add much flavor, but the perfectly melted cheese, Dijon, onion, pickles and puffy bun add up to a delicious combination.

12
Photograph: Courtesy Kuma's Corner
Restaurants, Hamburgers

Slayer at Kuma’s Corner

icon-location-pin Avondale

The servers at Kuma's original Avondale location sport more ink than a Bic factory, and the metal is often 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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13
<p>The double cheeseburger is on the menu at Community Tavern in Portage Park.</p>
Restaurants, Steakhouse

Double Cheeseburger at Community Tavern

icon-location-pin Portage Park

Meat lovers, this one's for you. Two colossal, cheese-topped patties take center stage, completely outweighing the sturdy but soft bun they're housed within. Pickles and caramelized onions put in work to add a touch of brightness to every bite, but they're no match for the beef. If you're all about the toppings, skip ahead.

14
368.rb.eo.op.hotdogstands.philslaststand4952px.jpg
Photograph: Tessa Marshall
Restaurants, Hot dogs

Super Ooey Gooey at Fatso's Last Stand

icon-location-pin Ukrainian Village

This “last stand” serves Fatso's and Smash burgers to neighborhood regulars and late-night revelers. Open until 4am on Friday and Saturday, the Ukrainian Village outpost is ready and waiting whenever your next patty craving strikes. If you're a hungry newbie, order the Super Ooey Gooey, two Smash patties stuffed with cheddar, bacon and giardiniera and topped with Fatso sauce, tomato, lettuce and onion.

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15
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Restaurants, British

Pub Burger at Pleasant House Pub

icon-location-pin Lower West Side

Chicago’s resident royal pie baker has a seriously delicious, seriously messy secret: One of the city's best burgers is hiding in plain sight on its menu. The Pub Burger layers two griddled patties with cheddar, bacon aioli and red onions on a brioche bun made in-house. Forget your manners and dig in.

16
Edzo’s Burger Shop
Restaurants, Hamburgers

8-ounce Char Burger at Edzo’s Burger Shop

icon-location-pin Evanston

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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17
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Restaurants, Cafés

Allis Cheeseburger at The Allis

icon-location-pin West Loop

There are so many delicate, carb-free plates on the menu at this public-facing restaurant inside Soho House Chicago, but the burger is not one of them. This refined all-American patty is simple yet effective: beef, bacon, tomato and lettuce. The combination hits all the right notes and can be paired with a craft beer as easily as it can sing alongside a flute of bubbly.

18
Royale with Cheese at Pub Royale
Photograph: Christina Slaton
Bars, Pubs

Royale w/Cheese at Pub Royale

icon-location-pin Ukrainian Village

A burger at an Indian restaurant? Go with us on this one. Pub Royale's namesake handheld is fantastic, despite the fact that it sticks out like a sore thumb on the menu. Doubts are quickly dashed when this juicy hunk of meat arrives at your table coated with oozy aged cheddar and aioli and topped with spicy pickles and diced onions.

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19
Burger at Forbidden Root
Photograph: BJ Pichman
Bars, Breweries

Burger at Forbidden Root

icon-location-pin East Village

Topped with aged cheddar, a hefty helping of crunchy giardiniera mayo and bread and butter pickles, the burger at Forbidden Root is unique but familiar. Pair it with the delicate Wildflower Pale Ale, which is crafted with elderflower, marigold and sweet osmanthus blooms.

20
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Restaurants, Steakhouse

Haus Burger at Boeufhaus

icon-location-pin Ukrainian Village

Exclusively available on the lunch menu, Boeufhaus's burger is worth venturing out for in the daylight. The kitchen uses a house-made blend of strip, hanger and tenderloin to create an extraordinarily decadent ground beef. Each patty is grilled to perfection before it's topped with frisee, onion and pickle and served with a pile of equally outstanding beef fat fries.

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21
Good Stuff Eatery
Photograph: Joe Shymanski
Restaurants, Hamburgers

Good Stuff Eatery

icon-location-pin Loop

When DC Top Chef alum Spike Mendelsohn opened the first Chicago outpost of his casual burger joint, he airlifted the menu straight from DC. That explains the name of the Prez Obama burger, which hits all the right notes and textures, from sweet onion marmalade to salty bacon to sharp Roquefort and pungent horseradish mayo. Order fries so you can make a trip to the mayo bar for sriracha mayo, and don't leave without trying the creamy, gooey toasted marshmallow milkshake.

22
Dusek's Juicy Lucy Burger
Photograph: Ashleigh Dye
Bars, Gastropubs

Juicy Lucy at Dusek's Board and Beer

icon-location-pin Lower West Side

We're not totally sure why the Juicy Lucy hasn't caught on at more Chicago restaurants. Rather than sitting on top of the patty, cheese is stuffed inside the meat for an ooey-gooey surprise. The version at Dusek's is balanced with smoky red onion-bacon marmalade, crisp butter lettuce and preserved tomatoes.

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23
Photograph: Jessica Lynn Capron
Bars, Breweries

OIB Burger at Old Irving Brewing Company

icon-location-pin Portage Park

Most breweries aren't exactly known for their food, but the kitchen at Old Irving Brewing Company proves that sustenance is just as important as the suds. Negating the double-patty formula of its competitors, the OIB Burger features a stacked 8-ounce hunk of beef that's tucked inside a rosemary bun and blanketed in white cheddar, caramelized onions and aioli. It's the kind of thing you'll crave after gulping down a flight of beer.

24
Restaurants, Hamburgers

Top Notch Beefburger

icon-location-pin Beverly

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.

Best burger restaurants in America

Holeman and Finch Public House
Photograph: Gina Hopkins
Restaurants, Hamburgers

The best burgers in America

From prime no-frills patties to exotic Juicy Lucys, our pick of the best burgers in America is appropriately diverse

More to explore

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