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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

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

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

Hardee's Burger at Acadia, $16

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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Near South Side

B&B Burger at Barley & Brass, $12

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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Ukrainian Village

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

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

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Little Italy, UIC
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Wood-grilled ground bacon burger at Bottlefork, $16

“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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River North

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

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

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Wicker Park

Hamburger Sandwich at The Duck Inn, $12

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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Bridgeport
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Feast burger at Feast, $14

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

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Wicker Park

FMK burger at Fulton Market Kitchen, $14

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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West Loop

Prez Obama Burger at Good Stuff Eatery, $7.25

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

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Loop
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Kinmont Burger at Kinmont, $13

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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River North

Lamb burger at The Kitchen, $15

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

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River North

Pimento Cheeseburger at Luella’s Southern Kitchen, $11

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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Lincoln Square
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Nico Burger at Nico Osteria, $14

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

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Gold Coast

Blues Burger at River Roast, $14

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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River North

RPM Truffle Burger at RPM Steak, $17

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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River North
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Wood-grilled cheeseburger at Salero, $14

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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West Loop

Burger at Scofflaw, $10

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

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Logan Square

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

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

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

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Avondale

Best burgers in America

The 18 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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By: Time Out editors

Comments

7 comments
Bill C

Not on any list is a little place in Downers Grove IL. It's Zest Bistro inside Lemon Tree Grocery Store. Probably the best burger I have ever had from anyplace in the country. It's crazy tasty. Downers Grove might be a hike for most however Zest is across the street from the Downers Grove Main St. train station. A quick 50 minutes on the metra (from the city) is well worth the trip. During the summer is great outdoor seating and Friday night is car night. The entire downtown streets are lined with vintage rides. Its great fun and at Zest you will get the best burger you have ever had. 


Andy P

Seems like you didn't travel far enough North. Little Bad Wolf on Bryn Mawr in Andersonville (opened in November) is a strong contender - I'd say it's playing in the ranks of Au Cheval.

Hal S

totally missed the mark by leaving Burger Antics in Brookfield out of the list -by far the best burgers ever -since Come Back Inn closed

marcia a j

You missed The Burger Point at State and Archer. Amazing burgers, friendly staff and priced better than most on your list.

Marybeth D

Rarely order a burger, but had the Seven Lions burger last Sunday.  It was decadent and wonderful.  Have only enjoyed one of the burgers mentioned here, and it was truly worthy of this list, but so is Seven Lions.  And the location for going to Symphony Center is perfect, except the calorie count might guarantee you fall asleep... 

Jennifer M

Oh, you missed the best little secret on the north side... The Halsted Burger (or any of them, really) at Jack's on Halsted.

Carolyn P

I think this list is missing some amazing burgers. Chop Shop's butcher burger, Presidio's royale. DMK buffalo burger.