The 19 best new burgers in Chicago

The best new burgers in Chicago are all over the place, including a Japanese restaurant, a cocktail bar and other spots
Barley & Brass serves one of the best new burgers in Chicago.
Photograph: Austin M Sosa Barley & Brass serves one of the best new burgers in Chicago.
By Amy Cavanaugh and Time Out contributors |
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Picking the best new burgers each year has become something of a Time Out Chicago tradition. We picked 18 favorites in 2013 and 2014, and this year, after eating dozens all across the city, we selected the 19 new can't-miss burgers in town.

Amid burgers at American restaurants and bars, we also found some in surprising locations. Great burgers are hiding at seafood restaurants, Japanese restaurants and wine bars, proving that you never know where you'll find your next great burger.

RECOMMENDED: Best burgers in Chicago

Additional reporting by Rebecca Skoch and Raf Miastkowski

Best new burgers in Chicago

Acadia
Photograph: Austin M Sosa
Restaurants, Contemporary American

Hardee's Burger at Acadia, $16

icon-location-pin Near South Side

If Acadia chef Ryan McCaskey is looking to open another restaurant, it should just be a burger place. Seriously, he's a total master of the form and adds a new, absolutely perfect burger to Acadia's bar menu each year. This year's burger is based off the mushroom-Swiss version at Hardee's, but he elevates it with melty Gruyere and an earthy mushroom ragout.—Amy Cavanaugh

Barley & Brass
Photograph: Austin M Sosa
Bars

B&B Burger at Barley & Brass, $12

icon-location-pin Ukrainian Village

Combining two grass-fed beef patties with creamy smoked gouda, crumbled bacon and truffle aioli, the B&B Burger’s rich flavors are remarkably balanced and easy to pair with one of the bar’s draft beers.—Zach Long

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Bascule Wine Bar
Photograph: Nick Murway
Bars, Wine bars

Bascule double cheeseburger at Bascule Wine Bar & Bistro, $14

icon-location-pin Little Italy, UIC

New wine bar Bascule is a welcome addition to Taylor Street’s food scene, and its signature double cheeseburger is part of the appeal. Two medium-cooked patties, padded with Gruyere and topped with bacon mayo and tomato jam, result in a very a well-balanced burger.—Clayton Guse

Restaurants, Contemporary American

Wood-grilled ground bacon burger at Bottlefork, $16

icon-location-pin River North

“It’s 70 percent beef, 30 percent bacon,” our server proudly proclaimed of the patty. Honestly, I couldn’t care less whether the bacon infusion was responsible for the patty’s dripping juiciness or distinct umami flavor. All I know is, the burger, topped with micro shoestring potatoes, pungent blue cheese and a “special sauce,” is eyes-roll-back-in-your-head good.—Laura Baginski

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Photograph: Chloe List
Restaurants, Mexican

The Dove's Burger at Dove's Luncheonette, $10

icon-location-pin Wicker Park

Dove's applies its winning Southern-Mexican theme to a diner burger, which is only available on weekdays starting at 11am until it's gone. The result is a spin on a patty melt, with sharp cheddar, a smoky pepper relish and creamy aioli packed between sourdough. It doesn't come with a side, so split an order of the fried potato and shisito pepper hash with your date. Just don't split the burger—you want this whole thing to yourself.—AC

Restaurants, American

Hamburger Sandwich at The Duck Inn, $12

icon-location-pin Bridgeport

Duck Inn chef Kevin Hickey is a master of bar food, and it only takes one bite of his hamburger sandwich to know it. With a healthy dose of grilled onions and a squeaky slice of Brun-uusto cheese, this is a soul-satisfying patty melt.—AC

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Feast burger at Feast
Photograph: Nick Murway
Restaurants, Contemporary American

Feast burger at Feast, $14

icon-location-pin Wicker Park

The first flavor that jumps out on the Feast burger is the generous slathering of red onion marmalade, which adds a sweet and rich caramelized onion flavor. The single burger is nestled in a brioche bun and topped with an extra creamy Saint-André cheese. Crisp romaine and garlic aioli round out the flavor, but with 70 percent butterfat, the cheese is the secret sauce that makes this burger totally addictive.—Martha Williams

Restaurants, American

FMK burger at Fulton Market Kitchen, $14

icon-location-pin West Loop

Chef Kyle Petersen has crafted an umami bomb with his house burger—starting with flavorful grassfed beef, the burger offers a spin on the basic LTO. There's acidic pickled onions, oven-dried tomatoes and fried kale, which makes lettuce look wimpy. A slathering of special sauce ties it all together.—AC

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Restaurants, Hamburgers

Prez Obama Burger at Good Stuff Eatery, $7.25

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 made its Chicago debut last fall when it won the Hamburger Hop contest at Chicago Gourmet. And this is a winning burger—it hits all the right notes and textures, from sweet onion marmalade to salty bacon to sharp Roquefort and pungent horseradish mayo.—AC

Kinmont Burger
Photograph: Nick Murway
Restaurants, Seafood

Kinmont Burger at Kinmont, $13

icon-location-pin River North

The Kinmont burger is a juicy two-napkin commitment. When I saw “bone marrow” in the description, I was expecting an overly rich execution, but the bone marrow is lightly applied for a subtle richness. The gouda paired with the charred romaine offers a complex layer of smokiness, and an abundance of paper-thin bread and butter pickles add a clean note to the otherwise earthy flavors, making it an extraordinarily well-balanced burger.—MW

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The Kitchen
Photograph: Austin M Sosa
Restaurants, American

Lamb burger at The Kitchen, $15

icon-location-pin River North

Comprising just a mineral-rich Slagel Farms lamb patty and a dollop of red pepper relish on a simple egg-washed roll, Johnny Anderes’s burger—available during lunch and the late-afternoon “community hour”—is like an antidote to the stack-em-high approach that’s long been dissolving buns and maxing out jaws all over town. A bite tastes of the grill and of sweet peppers and the fresh rosemary that flecks the patty’s interior, and that’s mostly it. And that’s kind of refreshing.—Cate Huguelet

Luella’s Southern Kitchen
Photograph: Austin M Sosa
Restaurants, Soul and southern American

Pimento Cheeseburger at Luella’s Southern Kitchen, $11

icon-location-pin Lincoln Square

Luella’s brunch burger is about as straightforward as it gets—lightly toasted brioche bun, two well-seasoned griddled burger patties, pimento cheese on the bottom and a spot-on sunny-side-up egg on top. This burger is no frills, but it’s excellent and comes with thin, shoestring McD’s-esque fries on the side, dusted in spicy seasoned salt. If you miss brunch, get it at dinner, when the egg is replaced by fried pickles.—Karl Klockars

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The Nico burger
Photograph: Austin M Sosa
Restaurants, Seafood

Nico Burger at Nico Osteria, $14

icon-location-pin Gold Coast

Our favorite among the trio of burgers on offer during Nico’s lunch and brunch services tastes like a Big Mac that’s been sent away to finishing school. A freshly ground blend of Slagel Farms chuck eye roll, short rib and sirloin makes for a patty of magnificent tenderness whose juices run and mingle with the tangy housemade Thousand Island dressing that tops it, eventually coming to rest within the crumb of a supremely soft potato bun. Shredded iceberg lettuce adds a pleasant crunch, while salty provolone contributes a note of umami funk.—CH

Restaurants, Contemporary American

Blues Burger at River Roast, $14

icon-location-pin River North

The caramelized onions, smoked ketchup and sliced blue cheddar (no crumbled blue here) are all layered on the brioche bun in perfect proportions, but it's the well-seasoned mix of chuck and brisket, which has a slight char on the edge, that steals all the glory.—AC

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RPM truffle burger
Photograph: Anjali M. PInto
Restaurants, Steakhouse

RPM Truffle Burger at RPM Steak, $17

icon-location-pin River North

There are two burgers on the menu at RPM, but our server didn't hesitate on suggesting the truffle burger over the dry-aged steakburger. One bite, and it's clear why: The flavorful grassfed beef comes with melting foie gras butter, truffle aioli and red wine onions on the side (adding these is required, since they slice through the richness). This is decadent, yes, but skip breakfast if you have to, as you're also going to want to go to town on the perfect fries, served with Caesar dressing for dipping.—AC

Burger at Salero
Photograph: Neil Burger
Restaurants, Spanish

Wood-grilled cheeseburger at Salero, $14

icon-location-pin West Loop

The West Loop Spanish spot has a pretty simple, yet satisfying lunch burger. The thick patty has sweet grilled onions, creamy aioli and punchy piquillo peppers for some zip. The crisp-tender papas bravas served alongside are no slouch, either.—AC

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Burger at Scofflaw
Photograph: Nick Murway
Bars, Lounges

Burger at Scofflaw, $10

icon-location-pin Logan Square

If you’ve spent the last few months lamenting the disappearance of the burger from Scofflaw’s dinner menu, you can cheer up—the fan favorite is back, albeit in a dressier outfit. Cheddar, sweet tomato jam, dijonnaise and crisp frizzled onions replace the classic American cheese/pickle/LTO on the original. But the all-important foundation—a thinly pressed patty edged with crunchy, delicious bits of caramelization—remains in place. This new iteration offers up great flavor, but it’s the good-till-the-last-bite riot of textures that really makes it memorable.—CH

London Pub Burger at Spencer's Jolly Posh
Photograph: Nick Murway
Restaurants, British

London Pub Burger at Spencer's Jolly Posh Foods, $14

icon-location-pin Wrigleyville

I've never eaten a burger in London, but if their pub burgers are anything like this, the Brits know what they're doing. With two patties, layers of crisp back bacon (made in-house), cheddar and onions, this hefty burger is big enough for two people to share, especially when you throw in a side of chunky chips (ask for warm curry sauce on the side for dipping).—AC

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Photograph: Matthias Merges
Restaurants, Japanese

Yusho Burger at Yusho, $25 (part of Sunday deal)

icon-location-pin Avondale

Yusho's $25 ramen-drink-dessert Sunday deal was already stellar, and now instead of the ramen, you can get the new burger. I love the ramen, but it's a worthy swap—piled with bacon, spicy mayo, pickled veggies and onions, it's a balanced, welcome addition to the menu.—AC

Best burgers 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

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