With an abundance of burger options around Chicago, it’s hard to decide which ones are worth a visit from the entire brood. My clan of four checked out several Chicago-area burger restaurants to give you the 411.
Here are ones that are done right for the smallest to the tallest members of the family.
5739 W. Irving Park Road, Chicago
5691 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago
Best for: Flavorful patties and plentiful toppings
If you’re looking for burger you won’t soon forget, head to Leadbelly. Top-quality beef and smoked pork belly are ground daily to make a smoky flavor you’ll savor. Made-from-scratch sauces and tempting toppings are plentiful. Want a sure-fire hit? Try the Gallows Pole burger, with caramelized mushrooms and onions, smashed taters, Swiss cheese and béarnaise.
Fresh-cut fries are served in kitschy mini metal fry baskets. The Polish Fry, with polish sausage, sauerkraut and horseradish mustard, is more like a meal than a side. The Garlic Parm fries are heavenly.
This hip, counter-service restaurant is a hit with the kids because of the rocking music and memorabilia.
6604 N. Sheridan Road, Chicago
Best for: Korean burger mash up
bopNgrill’s unique marriage of burgers and Korean favorites makes it well worth the jaunt to Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood. Want to flirt with the fifth flavor? The umami burger is a savory sensation. Truffled mushroom duxelle, sundried tomato confit, togarashi mayo, bacon and smoked Gouda make it rich, earthy and delicious. It sent Guy Fieri on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” into euphoria.
Have adventurous eaters? Kimchi fries, piled high with caramelized kimchi, cheese sauce, bacon, scallions and sesame seeds, are a popular side. Visit on the weekends, when the Korean Philly cheese steak eggrolls are available.
Little ones hesitant to try new things? Panko breaded chicken breasts are a fresh, crunchy spin on chicken strips. The uncommon combinations will bring you back to this fast-casual restaurant again and again.
600 Lee St., Des Plaines
Best for: Service via model train
Tasty burgers and trains in one stop? This 1950s diner is yum and fun in one. Sit by the tracks and watch model trains roll by with delicious, grilled classics. You’ll love the burgers, grilled thin with just the right amount of crispiness. Hot dogs, grilled cheese, egg salad and BLTs are available, too.
Take Metra to and from the restaurant. The Lee Street stop in Des Plaines is just one block away.
844 W. Randolph St., Chicago
Best for: Grass-fed beef in a barnyard chic setting
Hop over to Randolph Restaurant Row for Chicago’s only farm-to-table burger bar dedicated to grass-fed beef, free-range turkey and local farm fruits and vegetables. The artful burgers are just as much of a draw as the handmade pies and fresh churned ice cream. You’ll love the relaxed, yet higher-end vibe.
Try the Berries & Brie Burger for a beautiful color and flavor explosion. Mixed berry compote, Dijon aioli and red wine balsamic reduction work wonders with the juicy beef, Brie and arugula. In a bacon mood? The Ultimate comes with Muenster, bacon, arugula, caramelized onions and horseradish aioli. Victor’s Veggie is a Panko breaded wild rice and veggie patty, while the Fruitarian is a Vegan spinach and chickpea burger. Beer pairings are suggested for each sandwich.
Feel good that the kids’ burger comes with fruit and potatoes. The Vegan chocolate pudding pie is like being snuggled in a fluffy, chocolate blanket. The brown butter ice cream will become your new favorite.
1735 Milwaukee Ave., Glenview
Best for: Quick, healthier burgers, colossal onion rings and creamy custard
Stop by for a quick, yet high-quality, burger or hot dog in a sustainable restaurant, the lone Illinois location of the BurgerFi chain.
Brandished with BurgerFi on the bun, the burgers aren’t huge, which is why many are doubles. Go for The Twenty Eight, a double 28-day dry aged brisket burger with Swiss and blue cheese and handcrafted BurgerFi sauce.
The onion rings are as enormous as they are delicious. Thick, creamy custard is the perfect end to a happy family meal.
1480 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago
Best for: Truffle, truffle and more truffle
At this contemporary burger eatery, truffle is the way to go. Start with Truffled Beet Greens with truffled ricotta and goat cheese, smoked almonds, wild baby arugula and truffle dressing. Sink your teeth into a Sunny Side Burger (aka truffle especiale) with Parmesan frico, fried egg, truffle thyme compound butter, and truffled arugula. While the truffle fries are good, be super slick and order from the secret menu. Ask for the cheesy tots, which are handmade, packed with cheese and just the right amount of crispy.
Kids love the thin fries, anime artwork on the walls and running around the corner to the Wicker Park playground.
Ivy’s Burgers, Hot Dogs and Fries
5419 W. Devon Ave., Chicago
Best for: Merkt’s Cheddar cheese & patty melts
Serving single-sourced, all-muscle, Midwestern beef, Ivy’s is a little-known gem in Chicago’s Edgebrook neighborhood. Sit at one of the reclaimed, natural wood tree tables and enjoy Merkt’s Cheddar on a juicy burger, all-beef Black Angus hot dog and crispy, hand-cut fries. The patty melt is mouthwatering.
Even Hellmann’s mayonnaise recognized Ivy’s burger brilliance and is including it in the national Burger Route contest.
The Burger Boss
7512 W. North Ave., Elmwood Park
(708) 452- 7288
Best for: Handheld hamburgers, shakes and catering
What makes the burgers at this fast-casual spot hot is that they hug so many tasty toppings, yet manage to hang together in your hand. The Elmwood Park Boss boasts applewood-smoked bacon, all-natural Cheddar, lettuce, tomato, boss sauce, pickles and grilled onions on brioche. Mine all stayed in one place, but it didn’t last long!
Signature sandwiches and shakes are offered each month, giving you reason to go often. The kids’ shake is just the right size and Little Bosses are perfect for catering a party.