There's been a lot of debate lately concerning the issue of the best burger in Chicago. It started when Bon Appétit came to town in late 2012 and declared West Loop newcomer Au Cheval as having America's Best New Burger.
That set off an immediate firestorm that could not be contained. We sounded off with our Best Burgers in Chicago list, which includes Three Aces' award-winning masterpiece that's topped with house-made bacon jam.
Some of the city's most hardcore carnivores were also quite vocal. "What about Kuma's Corner?" demanded many of the Northwest Side spot boasting burgers piled high with toppings and named after heavy metal bands. Its eponymous signature burger (bacon, cheddar, fried egg) and Led Zeppelin (topped with pulled pork, bacon, cheddar, pickles) should be held personally responsible for the extended wait time it takes to get a table in the dive-like dining room. Forget about even thinking about coming here on the weekends because those waits are sometimes up to two hours.
There was a strong cry across the internet for Epic Burger as well, which now boasts seven locations. What sets them apart from other local burger joints is that the burgers are organic and hormone-free, yet manage to stay juicy and flavorful. Adding to Epic's all-natural appeal are the house-made, toasted bun, cage-free fried eggs and hand-cut fries. Whether it's the meat or bun that makes this burger so irresistible is still up for debate, but Epic Burger still clocks in as the city's best organic burger.
Moody's Pub may not be the trendiest venue around, but the love for its classic burger goes beyond its Edgewater residents. It's as simple as it gets with the only topping being American, Swiss or cheddar cheese, but there's just something about the way Moody's grills the burgers. The cooks get away with just the perfect amount of grease added to the flavor, which makes us think they're frying them in bacon fat. Now, if you must, you are allowed to toss on some sautéed mushrooms, bleu cheese or bacon, but trust us when we tell you that's completely unnecessary. That's why these burgers are worth the drive--even from downtown.
So while Au Cheval cranks out a damn good burger, it's got some pretty fierce competition Bon Appetit might want to check out the next time the editors hit town.
What do you like on your burger, and where's your go-to spot in Chicago--and beyond--to get it? Sound off in the comments section.
Photo courtesy of Au Cheval