Chefs’ Picks: Chicago Burgers
Chefs’ Picks tracks down what the pros are eating and cooking from coast to coast.
Chicago gets a lot of love for its pizza, but Chicagoans also love their burgers — charred or griddled, with classic or creative toppings. Here are some of the pros’ favorite places to get one.
This casual burger joint is known for its thin and thick burgers, killer shakes and creative fries, so it’s no surprise that multiple chefs flock here for their quick-serve burger fix. Rob Levitt of The Butcher & Larder loves both the thick, juicy char burgers and the thin griddle burgers. “They also have the best shakes in the greater Chicagoland area,” he says. Jared Wentworth, chef of Dusek’s, Longman & Eagle and The Promontory, agrees. “I like the eight-ounce char burger because it has a really nice charred beefy flavor that to me is very appealing,” he explains. “I also really like their bun-to-burger ratio, which is important in that the bun should complement, not overpower, the meat.”
The Royale with Cheese at the British-influenced Pub Royale is one of the few menu items that don't lean toward Indian-inspired cuisine. For Shaun King of The Dawson, it’s a reason to drop by. The burger comes with spicy pickles, aioli and aged cheddar, and is served with fries. “It’s the perfect burger: the sesame seed bun fully envelopes the burger and the aged cheddar, giving the perfect bite every time with a nice zesty pickle to cut the richness,” says King.
Wentworth is also a fan of the burger at hot-dog stand Fatso’s Last Stand, where he orders The Ooey Gooey, a take on the Juicy Lucy. “It’s served with grilled onions, and when you’re just one bite in, it explodes with cheese and deliciousness. The bun sops up most of the grease and cheese, but there is always a little extra to mop your fries with.”
For Eric Mansavage, executive chef at Farmhouse and Farm Bar, burger cravings mean heading to a neighborhood wine bar. “I love the Dry-Aged Slagel Farms Burger from Rootstock," he says. "It’s simple, well-executed, locally sourced and delicious. The burger’s Werp Farms greens and bacon aioli seal the deal for me every time.”