Where to Celebrate National Hamburger Day in Chicago
There are few foods more representative of the American palate than the hamburger. Patties of juicy beef, griddled or grilled over an open fire, set in a fresh bun, dressed with onion, tomato, lettuce and maybe a few other condiments, the hamburger is quintessential American food.
There are few places more suitable than Chicago, one of the world’s foremost meat cities, to enjoy a hamburger, with or without fries (though we’d strongly recommend “with”).
Here’s a listing of six of Chicago’s best restaurants for celebrating National Hamburger day, July 28th, 2019.
Kuma’s Corner. From humble beginnings, Kuma’s Corner has grown to become a multi-location magnet for burger lovers, and headbangers, far and wide. The signature Kuma Burger is a patty topped with bacon, cheddar and a fried egg, but there are many other even more extravagant offers. Witness the Black Sabbath (chili, pepper jack, red onion and blackening spice), Iron Maiden (avocado, cherry peppers, pepper jack, chipotle mayo) or the Metallica (bacon, buffalo sauce, bleu cheese). And yes, expect to hear all these bands playing as you munch your burger.
Au Cheval. Though Au Cheval has earned national recognition for its hamburger – with many, many calling it “the best” the city has to offer – the chefs at this hugely popular restaurant keep it pretty simple: two or three patties of thin yet juicy beef, layered with cheese, topped with pickles and Dijon mustard. Unlike the kitchen at Kuma’s Corner, Au Cheval believes that less is more, and that maxim works particularly well when those few ingredients are of undeniably high quality.
Forbidden Root. Representing the next generation of Goose Island brew pubs, Forbidden Root serves the beer you want to drink between munches of your hamburger. Called simply “Burger” on the menu, Forbidden Root’s entry into the citywide competition for best burger follows the Au Cheval route of keeping it simple, though they do add a few additional flourishes: just the meat with aged cheddar, onions, bread and butter pickle, mayo laced with giardiniera (the all-purpose Chicago condiment of chilies and other vegetables marinated in oil), served on a brioche bun. It will make you very happy…especially if you pair it with a Forbidden Root beer.
The Swill Inn. Though it looks like – and has a name that sounds like – a dive bar, the kitchen at The Swill Inn is clearly trying to go a notch or two, or three, above the offerings at the traditional Chicago neighborhood tavern. The Swill Inn serves a signature hamburger of certified Angus beef – two patties-worth – with house-made pimento cheese and pickle on a brioche bun. And, yes, you definitely want the house fries with aioli.
Margeaux Brasserie. Let’s say you want to go somewhere that serves sophisticated high-end food as well as, you know, hamburgers. The traditional French brasserie serves food that is somewhere between fancy and simple, frequently accompanied by a beer, and yes, Margeaux Brasserie serves a heckuva cheeseburger, with caramelized onions, arugula and just slightly funky Comte cheese (because, you know, French).
The Patio at Café Brauer. You want to celebrate National Hamburger Day…but you don’t eat meat. What do you do? You can’t really go out for the traditional hamburger, but in mid-July, the time of year is just right for an Impossible Burger at The Patio at Café Brauner. Made from all -vegetable protein, and grilled up with a light crust of char, the Impossible Burger served at this café on the Lincoln Park lagoon is surprisingly “meaty” and delicious, a suitable non-meat substitute for a beef hamburger on this day when we honor this all-American sandwich.