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Photograph: Jason Little

The 100 best dishes in Chicago 2015: burgers and sandwiches

These sandwiches—with smoked tofu, fat meatballs and sweet lobster—are the best things between sliced bread

By Amy Cavanaugh

Chicago's burger craze continued this year, and two very different burgers made our list. But this list is about more than just beef—we loved the smoked tofu sandwich at Smalls Smoke Shack & More, fell for the duck fat dog at the Duck Inn, easily one of the best hot dogs in Chicago, and added a newcomer to our list of the best lobster rolls.These are the best burgers and sandwiches of the year.

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Happy Lobster Roll
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

Happy lobster roll from Happy Lobster Truck

The cheerful truck launched this summer and instantly began serving one of Chicago’s best lobster rolls, with sweet, tender lobster slicked with mayo and butter and served on a burger bun for easy eating. $17.


Clam belly at Wyler Road

Restaurants American Logan Square

Clam bellies are frustratingly hard to find in Chicago, so that makes Wyler Road’s clam sandwich extra special. Perfectly fried plump bellies are tucked into a bâtard with crisp bacon and a squiggle of lemon aioli. $14.

RPM Steak
Photograph: Grace Allen

RPM truffle burger at RPM Steak

Restaurants Steakhouse River North

The luxe clientele at RPM Steak requires a luxe burger, and the lunch-only truffle burger, with melting foie gras butter, truffle aioli and red wine onions, delivers without sucking up your whole paycheck. $17. 

Philly Cheesesteak at Boeufhaus
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

Philly cheesesteak at Boeufhaus

Restaurants Steakhouse Ukrainian Village

Lunch at Humboldt Park’s Boeufhaus is just as good as dinner. Proof: this cheesesteak, with tender shaved rib eye, caramelized onions and melted American cheese tucked into a D'Amato's roll. $11.

Crab Roll
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

Crab roll at Luke’s Lobster

Restaurants Seafood Loop

The lobster roll here is good, but it’s the crab roll—overstuffed with sweet crab meat, lightly dressed with both butter and mayonnaise, and sprinkled with spices—that best channels days by the ocean. $13. 

Pork belly & manchego bocadilla
Photograph: Martha Williams

Pork belly and manchego bocadillo at Next Tapas

Restaurants Eclectic West Loop

This pork belly and manchego bocadillo, served on Next’s patio this summer, was so good, so gloriously fatty and such a terrific drinking snack, it deserves a permanent place on the Aviary’s food menu. No longer available.

Pork Sandwich at Avec
Photograph: Jason Little

Slow-roasted pork sandwich at Avec

Restaurants Mediterranean West Loop

Avec’s lunch service didn’t come a moment too soon, since you need to eat as many slow-roasted pork sandwiches, decked out with marinated carrots, turnips and cilantro and spicy harissa aioli, as possible in this lifetime. $12. 


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