Last spring, we named the 18 best burgers in Chicago, but since then, dozens of new burgers have emerged. Some restaurants, such as Acadia, have revamped their burgers (and this was even after we named it the best burger in Chicago), while others, like Dusek's and SideDoor, opened with burgers on their menu. But the new burgers aren't all chef-y versions—late-night drunk-food favorite Red Hot Ranch opened a new location on Ashland with a griddled burger dripping with special sauce.
We've eaten dozens of burgers over the past couple months to narrow down the list to our 18 new favorites. From an unexpected burger at a high-end Mexican restaurant to an In-N-Out–style burger at one of our favorite bars, here are the 18 burgers you should be eating now.
RECOMMENDED: Best burgers in Chicago
A10 straddles the line between French and Italian cuisines, and the burger matches, with salty slices of pork jowl bacon, melted taleggio, pickles and a tangy mustard jam that's a genius condiment. The whole thing is served on a pillowy brioche bun and it comes with a side of excellent frites and espelette aioli. The sole downside? It’s only available for lunch.—Amy Cavanaugh
Ryan McCaskey’s burger was our overall favorite last year, and his brand new patty has proven the chef is a burger master. He replaced the single patty with a double (two patties means more surface area and more cheese), and then added double crème Gouda, a generous amount of special sauce, housemade bacon and garlic dill pickles. The result is another epic burger: cheesy, buttery and oh-so-perfect.—AC
Commonwealth, the gastropub Roscoe Village didn’t know it needed, serves a very simple burger—a half-pound patty, Hooks cheddar, bacon, housemade pickles, brioche bun. The fact that it’s perfectly executed and so delicious it’s worth a trip across town to get your hands on it is a credit to chef Kevin Church, former chef de cuisine at Owen & Engine. Do yourself a favor and get the margarita, too.—Laura Baginski
Smoked bacon and fried pickles top this perfectly seasoned patty, but the real magic comes when two year–aged cheddar melts into bourbon-glazed onions, creating a true special sauce.—Martha Williams
DryHop got a new chef earlier this year, but thankfully the burger has remained the same: The brisket and sirloin patty is spread with ancho chile–tomato jam and creamy raw milk cheddar, with pickled onions to cut through the fat and arugula to lighten things up a bit. This is one balanced, beautiful burger.—AC
Invented in Minneapolis, the Juicy Lucy is a burger for anyone who prefers their cheese encased in beef instead of melted on top. The Dusek’s version stuffs American cheese into a Slagel Farm patty and tops it with butter lettuce and preserved tomatoes. The best addition to the burger is a red onion and bacon marmalade, which gives each bite a smoky-yet-sweet flavor. It’s served with a heaping portion of duck fat fries that you can dig into while you wait for the burger’s molten cheese core to cool.—Zach Long
I love a burger straight off the grill, and Fairways tastes like a smoky backyard burger that's been elevated with melted white cheddar, crispy onions and a delicious tomato jam that adds some sweetness. You’ll get a choice of frites, chips or salad on the side—the frites, cooked in duck fat and with a shake of truffle salt, is the only answer.—AC
Cultures collide to make this burger great: Kimchi (Korean) provides the acidic bite, pickle aioli (French) offers creaminess, Gouda (Dutch) lends it a gooey, smoky flavor and the patty (we’re gonna go with American) is perfectly cooked. Hooray for globalization.—LB
There are many tempting options on this Portage Park burger joint’s menu, including sandwiches topped with crab cakes, Polish sausage and chili cheese Fritos. Frankly, you’re better off ordering the basic Leadbelly burger—it’s a simple cheeseburger that allows you to enjoy the patty’s flavorful blend of ground chuck and smoked pork belly without being distracted by decadent toppings. The burger is served with housemade sriracha pickles and your choice of cheese on a hearty sesame seed bun that’s baked in-house. Every sandwich comes with a complimentary butter cookie, so make sure to save some room for dessert.—ZL
The new pimento cheeseburger was first offered as a secret menu item at Lillie’s Q, but now it’s been added—rightfully—to the menu. Two patties are topped with tangy pimento cheese, collard greens, red onions, tomato and a swipe of chow-chow sauce. Is it a mess? Yes. Is it worth getting it all over your hands and maybe your shirt? Absolutely.—AC