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Ella Elli
Photograph: Jessica Lynn CapronElla Elli

The best new burgers in Chicago

After months of grueling research, we found the top new patties in town

Morgan Olsen
Written by
Morgan Olsen
&
Elizabeth Atkinson
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In a burger town like Chicago, there's always room for new competition. Every year we scour the city for top-notch iterations of the classic meaty creation (check out our favorites from 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016). With so many great new restaurants to choose from, we had no problem finding plenty of fresh options to spruce up your burger bucket list. Here are the patties that caught our attention in 2017.

RECOMMENDED: Find more of the best burgers in Chicago

Best new burgers in Chicago 2017

  • Restaurants
  • American creative
  • Wicker Park
  • price 2 of 4

This super simple burger doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of the menu at Publican Anker, but when you’re hunkered down at the bar with an ice-cold beer in hand, it’s just the thing to order. A single patty is topped with melty American cheese, special sauce, lettuce and onion, all sitting on top of a chewy bun. The patty’s crisp edges set it apart and will have you venturing back to Wicker Park to get another taste. $12.—Elizabeth Atkinson

  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • West Loop
  • price 1 of 4

There are so many delicate, seasonal plates on the menu at this public-facing restaurant inside Soho House Chicago, but the burger is not one of them. This refined all-American patty is simple yet effective: beef, bacon, tomato and lettuce. The combination hits all the right notes and can be paired with a craft beer as easily as it can sing alongside a flute of bubbly. $15.—Morgan Olsen

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  • Restaurants
  • British
  • Lower West Side
  • price 1 of 4

If you’re not afraid of rolling up your sleeves and getting a little messy, you’ll love everything about this burger. Served on a hearty brioche bun, a tender patty is garnished with cheddar, pickled onions, tomato and special sauce. It’s the kind of burger that will leave you saying, “Do I have anything on my face?” $15.—EA

  • Restaurants
  • Vegetarian
  • West Loop
  • price 3 of 4

Bad Hunter specializes in all things veggie, even when it comes to this namesake burger. A black bean patty is cooked to perfection—neither gooey nor tough—and topped with cheddar, house-made tomato jam, onion and mustard aioli inside a chewy brioche bun. If you want to get wild, add bacon to your otherwise-vegetarian dish and chow down on a side of fries. $15.–EA

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The Loyalist Cheeseburger at The Loyalist
  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • West Loop
  • price 3 of 4

This dark, sexy basement bar offers everything from chicken liver mousse to crispy chicken thighs, but if you’re stopping in for a laid-back dinner, go for the namesake cheeseburger and fries. The patty is perched atop a sesame seed-studded bun with American cheese, pickled cucumbers and a slew of onions. The whole thing is topped off with a healthy dose of mayonnaise, giving it just the right amount of creaminess. $16.—EA

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  • Restaurants
  • Tapas
  • West Loop

Located a few doors down from burger maven Au Cheval, this West Loop wine bar made a bold move by putting a double-stack burger prominently on its menu. But between us, we might just like this version best. Sandwiched between a soft brioche bun, the patties are accessorized with white cheddar, creamy garlic aioli, house pickles, tomato, lettuce and caramelized onion. It's a savory, stacked bar bite that's begging to be devoured. $13.—MO

  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Rush & Division
  • price 3 of 4

Chef Art Smith is best known for his fried chicken, but he churns out a damn good burger, too. So good, in fact, that it took home the winning title at Time Out Chicago’s Battle of the Burger 2017. Two patties are topped with cheddar, pickles and garlic aioli, to which you can add a fried egg or bacon—a winning combination indeed. $16.–EA

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  • Restaurants
  • Food court
  • Loop

When we heard Sarah Jordan (Johnny’s Grill) was collaborating on a stand at Revival Food Hall, we couldn’t wait to get our hands on the burger. Though it’s slightly different from the version she’s serving in Logan Square, we crave this patty when lunchtime rolls around. Choose from a single or double with grass-fed beef, cheddar, pickles, onion and Dijonnaise. Then, opt to upgrade it with Swiss or blue cheese, mushrooms, avocado, a farm egg, bacon or jalapeños. $8–$10.—EA

  • Bars
  • Beer bars
  • River North

River North’s newest beer bar offers a full menu of tasty options, but our go-to selection is the double-stack burger. Two house-ground patties are fancied up with dill pickle, griddled onions, gem lettuce, smoked gouda and horseradish-mustard sauce. It's served with a mountain of fries, and you can opt to add bacon or a fried egg if you dare. $15.—EA

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  • Restaurants
  • American
  • West Loop
  • price 3 of 4

We'll let you in on a little secret: Fine-dining destination Honey's does a fantastic happy hour menu Monday through Friday from 5 to 7pm. Order the $6 Old Fashioned, as many $2 oysters as you please and the cheeseburger. A petite patty is adorned with cheddar, lettuce, tomato, onion and zip sauce and served with a side of fries. It's a tasty steal that will give you an excuse to celebrate on a weekday. $11.—MO

  • Restaurants
  • American
  • West Loop
  • price 2 of 4

When summer rolls around, we’ll use any excuse in the book to while away an afternoon on the patio at Saint Lou’s Assembly, and this patty melt is one of them. A salty beef patty is covered in caramelized onions, melty white cheddar and a swath of special sauce on crispy white bread. Come to think of it, this burger is perfect for winter hibernation, too. $15.—EA

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  • Restaurants
  • Steakhouse
  • Ukrainian Village
  • price 2 of 4

This Humboldt Park spot is all about the beef, and its burger is no exception. The kitchen uses a house-made blend of strip, hanger and tenderloin beef to create an extraordinarily rich patty that’s topped with frisee, onion and pickle and served with a trio of mayo, horseradish mustard and ketchup. If that’s not enough, the burger comes with a mound of beef fat fries to put you into a proper food coma. $16.—EA

  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary European
  • Lake View

Expertly plated, the burger at Ella Elli is both decadent and gorgeous—you might even have a hard time taking the first bite. But when you do, you won’t regret it. A single juicy patty is topped with St. Andre triple cream cheese, watercress and slices of cornichons. The plate is accompanied by a pan sauce for dipping, which only solidifies how over the top this burger really is. $14.—EA

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