In Chicago you don't have to eat at a Michelin star restaurant in order to get some of the best food on the planet. The Windy City has always prided itself on offering world class food in the trappings of regularity. Our deep dish pizza won't find its way onto the table of Massimo Bottura and that's just fine by us -- we know what's good and what isn't. Today we are going to talk about one of the simplest dishes in the world: burgers. While every town has their own iconic burger, Chicago has five of them.
We are going to start off our culinary burger tour by heading down to local sandwich favorite, Buona Beef. Buona has been a stalwart part of the culinary scene in Chicago for over thirty years, ever since Joe Buonavolanto Sr. opened up his first restaurant in Berwyn. While this sandwich shop may be revered for their Italian Beef we can't help but marvel at their Double Angus Burger: 2/3lb of Black Angus beef with all of the fixings. There are 18 different locations in the Chicagoland area so you are always near one of these lovely and decadent burgers.
Chicago is a city that thrives on contradictions and nowhere is this more apparent than at local South Side favorite, Acadia. Acadia is owned by Michelin starred chef, Ryan McCaskey. It is here that McCaskey mixes fine dining with elbows-on-the-table favorites. The next time you are on South Wabash head inside and take a seat at the bar. You'll be treated to a rich burger unlike anything on this list. McCaskey mixes three blends of beef: chuck, Wagyu, and brisket in order to get his trademark juiciness. If you are feeling particularly inventive then be sure to add on the umami sauce which is made of bacon and onion jam.
Now you are going to grab a cab and head toward the best diner that Chicago has to offer, Au Cheval. Au Cheval is located on the West Loop and it is home to, perhaps, the best burger you'll ever seen served up to a bar stool. This local favorite is run by Chef Brendan Sodikoff and his legendary thin-pattied cheeseburgers are just what you'll need after a long day. Sodikoff uses thinly sliced beef, American cheese, and a smattering of mayo in order to envelope the senses of his happy customers.
If you are still hungry then we have just the place for you: DMK Burger Bar. DMK has several locations throughout Chicago but with the NFL season around the corner let's head to their Soldier Field spot. DMK was opened by Chef Michael Kornick back in 2009 as an answer to Chicago's ever expanding 'fine-casual' dining scene. DMK has a proverbial encyclopedia of burger options that range from the tame (double bacon, cheese) to the insane (chorizo + guac with chipotle aioli). Best of all you'll see Kornick host a charity drive every single month, donating 100% of their profits to local charities.
We have just enough room in our stomach for one more big bite of burger. So, to satiate that need we are going to the Lockdown Bar & Grill located on North Western Ave in the Ukrainian Village. This bar is revered for its wide selection of craft beers as well as its gut busting, two handed burgers. When you first step foot into the restaurant don't be alarmed by all of the tattoos and dyed hair: this is a metal bar, and now you are part of the scene. The burger of choice here at Lockdown is the Lockdown Warden which gives customers a juicy creation filled with bacon, garlic, fried shallots, leeks, and truffle oil.