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Photograph: Nick Murway

The best new burgers in Chicago

We searched high and low for the best new burgers in Chicago at the city's bars, breweries and steakhouses

By Elizabeth Atkinson

Following Time Out Chicago's tradition of picking the best new burgers year after year (check out our 2013, 2014 and 2015 coverage), we scoured the city for great new patties, finding them at bars, breweries and steakhouses. Go ahead and try to read through this enitre list without salivating.

RECOMMENDED: Find more of the best burgers in Chicago

Best new burgers in Chicago

Photograph: Jason Little

The Burger at Sidecar at LR

Restaurants American Lake View

A burger pairs perfectly with a pint of beer, and at Sidecar at LR, it's pretty much a necessity. This burger from Beard & Belly has two thin but substantial patties with butterkäse cheese, pickles and special sauce. The pickle-filled bites are the best, but given how tender the meat is, it's easy to demolish the whole thing in a matter of seconds. $10. — Elizabeth Atkinson

Burger at GreenRiver
Photograph: Galdones Photography

Cheeseburger at GreenRiver

Bars Cocktail bars Streeterville

Cooking the meat correctly is crucial to constructing a good burger, and GreenRiver puts together a mean one. It sports a thick patty, with just the right amount of pinkness in the middle, melting cheddar cheese, briny pickles and a house sauce to tie the whole thing together. $21.EA

Photograph: Nick Murway

Double Cheeseburger at Johnny's Grill

Restaurants American Logan Square

Double patties are a constant throughout this list, but the cheeseburger at Johnny's Grill departs from thin patties and instead stacks two medium patties with cheddar cheese dijonnaise, pickles and onion. It's a traditional diner burger, but with a bright saltiness that brings out the best in those huge hunks of meat. $9. — EA

Photograph: Courtesy Maple & Ash

Downstairs Burger at Maple & Ash

Restaurants Steakhouse Rush & Division

You have to walk through the downstairs bar at Maple and Ash to get up to the second floor lounge, or you could just stop there and settle for a limited menu and drinks. If you do the latter, you can order the Downstairs Burger, piled with gooey cheese and onions—you should add some thick and tender bacon, too. You may feel classy sitting at Maple & Ash, but this burger is messy enough to bring you back down to earth (be careful not to stain your nice clothes). $14. — EA

Burger at Forbidden Root
Photograph: BJ Pichman

Burger at Forbidden Root

Bars Breweries East Village

Topped with aged cheddar, a hefty helping of crunchy giardinera mayo and a bread and butter pickle, the burger at Forbidden Root is unique but familiar. The perfectly salty eight ounce beef patty is tempered by all the toppings. Don't forget to eat the crispy fries that come with it—we almost ordered seconds. $14. — EA

Chicago Double at M Burger
Photograph: Anjali Pinto

Chicago Double at M Burger

Restaurants Hamburgers Loop

Our current favorite on M Burger's lineup has to be the Chicago Double. It's a simple combination, with two juicy patties covered in American cheese, grilled onions, pickles and mustard. Are we in heaven? M Burger just put all of our favorite things on a single bun and now we don't know what else to eat for lunch. Seriously. $5.99 — EA

Royale with Cheese at Pub Royale
Photograph: Christina Slaton

Royale with Cheese at Pub Royale

Bars Pubs Ukrainian Village

Named after the infamous Pulp Fiction line, this British-Indian pub's Royale with Cheese is fantastic, despite sticking out like a sore thumb on the menu. Doubts are quickly dashed when this juicy hunk of a burger comes out with spicy pickles and melting cheddar. You'll want to order everything at Pub Royale, but you might want to include the burger near the top of that list. $14. — EA

Photograph: Nick Murway

Burger at Beef & Barley

Bars Gastropubs Lake View

This is a burger that you truly can't set down for a few reasons. It's on a biscuit, making any chance of reassembly nearly impossible and it's also probably the cause of your impending heart attack. Topped with Merkts cheese, two fried onion rings, red onions, caramelized onions and pickles, it's a mouthful, but it's also the ultimate comfort burger. $10. — EA

Double Cheeseburger and Fries
Photograph: Andrew Nawrocki

Double Cheese Burger at Haywood Tavern

Bars Gastropubs Humboldt Park

Haywood Tavern’s double cheese burger isn’t exactly groundbreaking (what burger is?) but it’s an extremely solid rendition of the venerable dish, boasting two Slagel Farm beef patties, a tangy dijon aioli and just the right amount of crisp pickles. Served with fries, it’s the right size for a not-overly-hearty meal or a late night snack, leaving you with enough room for a beer or cocktail at the Humboldt Park bar. $14. — Zach Long

Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

CCR Prime Triple Cheese Burger at Cherry Circle Room

Restaurants Contemporary American Loop

Chef Pete Coenen pairs two thin char-griddled patties—and trust me, you'll taste the char—with bread and butter pickles, smoked gouda, caramelized onion and horseradish mustard aioli to create this monster of a cheeseburger. The lettuce and tomato give it height, making this one a mouthful any way you cut it. $16. — EA

Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

The Fulton Burger at Swift & Sons

Restaurants Steakhouse West Loop

The cheapest item on the entrée menu (to no one's surprise) at Swift & Sons is the Fulton Burger. It's paired with a serving of dijonnaise and a heap of caramelized onions. While it may not replace that bone-in ribeye you've been eyeing, it'll certainly hit the spot if you've got a hankering for some beef. $16. — EA

Photograph: Courtesy Appelation

Patty Melt at Appellation

Restaurants American Andersonville

One of two patty melts on this list, this one's mostly meat, topped with a smoked onion confit and cheese. While the patty is the star of the show, its minimal accoutrements turn it into a pretty solid burger. $13. — EA

Photograph: Nick Murway

The Melt at the Northman

Bars Beer bars North Center

Served on a potato roll, this griddled patty covered in butterkäse, pickles and dark onions pairs well with a dry cider, a drink that is more abundant at the Northman than anywhere else in the city. It comes with fries and curried ketchup, which we would order again, even without the burger. $10. — EA

Photograph: Nick Murway

Kale Burger Patty Melt at Same Day Cafe

Restaurants Cafés Logan Square

Here's a little known fact: most vegetarians only eat veggie burgers because it's the only thing on Chicago’s meat-heavy menus. Same Day Cafe’s Amazing Kale Burger patty is the exception. Not too dry, not too mushy, it does everything a burger does without trying to taste like a slab of ground beef. Served on a bun or between two slices of house-made rye bread, this is one of the freshest burgers you can get in Chicago. Period. $10. — Nick Kotecki


The Double Cheeseburger at Community Tavern

Restaurants Pan-Asian Portage Park

There are two burgers on the menu at Community Tavern, the bacon cheeseburger on the bar menu and the double cheeseburger on the dinner menu. Order the double cheeseburger, because while it (appropriately) doubles in price, it's leaps and bounds above the bar burger. With two beef patties, one year cheddar, pickles,red onion and a side of house frites, it's bigger and well worth the extra scratch. $16. — EA

Photograph: Dan Wessell

Burgers at Farm Bar

Bars Breweries Lake View

There are five burgers on the menu at this Midwestern burgers—the Classic, the Barnyard, Three Sisters, Harvest and Trippel. They range from the weird (the Three Sisters has popcorn on it, giving it a crunch not normally associated with burgers) to the expected (the Classic boasts lettuce, tomato, onion and cheddar). Regardless of which one you pick, the burger will be cooked nicely, no matter what kind of interesting toppings it comes with. $13-$16. — EA

Photograph: Courtesy Untitled Supper Club

The Burger at Untitled

Bars Lounges River North

It may seem like your typical burger, but combined with a caraway brioche and house-smoked bacon, this burger is over the top. The cheddar and Coca-Cola onions contribute to a well-balanced flavor that is a departure from what you'll find on the rest of Untitled's new menu. $18. — EA


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