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Barley & Brass serves one of the best new burgers in Chicago.
Photograph: Austin M SosaBarley & Brass serves one of the best new burgers in Chicago.

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

Amy Cavanaugh
Written by
Amy Cavanaugh
&
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

  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary American
  • Near South Side
  • price 4 of 4
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
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Wood-grilled ground bacon burger at Bottlefork, $16
  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary American
  • River North
  • price 2 of 4

“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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  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Wicker Park
  • price 2 of 4
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
Hamburger Sandwich at The Duck Inn, $12
  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Bridgeport
  • price 2 of 4
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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  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary American
  • Wicker Park
  • price 2 of 4

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

FMK burger at Fulton Market Kitchen, $14
  • Restaurants
  • American
  • West Loop
  • price 2 of 4
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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Prez Obama Burger at Good Stuff Eatery, $7.25
  • Restaurants
  • Hamburgers
  • Loop
  • price 1 of 4
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
  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • River North
  • price 2 of 4

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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  • Restaurants
  • American
  • River North
  • price 2 of 4

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

  • Restaurants
  • Soul and southern American
  • Lincoln Square
  • price 1 of 4

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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  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Gold Coast
  • price 3 of 4

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

Blues Burger at River Roast, $14
  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary American
  • River North
  • price 3 of 4
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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  • Restaurants
  • Steakhouse
  • River North
  • price 3 of 4
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
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  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Logan Square
  • price 2 of 4

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

  • Restaurants
  • British
  • Wrigleyville
  • price 1 of 4
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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Best burgers in America

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