The 7 Best Hamburgers in Chicago

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The 7 Best Hamburgers in Chicago
Chicago’s history as a center for beef production, and its continued proximity to a plethora of Midwestern ranches, have always made the city a great place to get top-quality steak. Then, not long ago, a stellar burger joint popped up. And then another. And so on. Now the Windy City has established itself not only for steak but also for juicy, flavorful hamburgers. The only problem is deciding where to go first. Here, in no particular order, our top seven burger picks.
Photo by Joe Skymanski
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    Good Stuff Eatery
    When Top Chef alum Spike Mendelsohn opened his Chicago diner, he focused on two things: burgers and shakes. They’re made to order, so you may need to bring a little patience to the table along with your appetite. Make sure to dress down—these burgers may not be huge, but they sure are messy. The Prez Obama burger, topped with bacon, onion marmalade, Roquefort, and horseradish, is especially tasty when paired with a hand-spun Milky Way malt. 

    Good Stuff Eatery, 22 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago 
    Photo by Joe Skymanski
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    Kuma’s Corner
    Part burger joint, part heavy metal shrine, Kuma’s Corner has a reputation for long lines, loud music, and delicious burgers. You may have to wait a few hours to get a table, and you may come out with your ears ringing, but you’ll be back anyway because this place serves the best burgers in town. The size of a dinner plate and dripping with juice and toppings, these burgers are in a category all their own. 

    Kuma's Corner, 2900 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago
    Courtesy of Kuma's Corner
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    M Burger
    This chain is Chicago’s equivalent of the West Coast’s In-N-Out, and if you’re in the city, you’ve got to try it. It’s practically a burger rite of passage. The six locations serve true comfort food: classic Midwestern beef burgers and rich chocolate shakes. Don’t leave without a side of piping hot, salty fries. There’s usually a line of regulars at lunch, but it moves quickly. This is a no-fuss, fast service place that’s a go-to for Chicagoans.

    M Burger, multiple locations, Chicago 
    Photo courtesy of M Burger
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    Small Cheval
    When the owners of the upscale eatery Au Cheval noticed that diners were waiting in line for hours to eat their cheeseburger, they came up with a genius plan: open a place that focuses on just that burger. Small Cheval, the spin-off that traffics in delicious patties, was born last year. Aside from shakes and fries, that original burger is the only thing on the menu, and it’s a beauty: Reminiscent of an old-school, diner-style burger, it is typically served medium and topped with a healthy serving of American cheese.

    Small Cheval, 1732 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago
    Photo by Kari Skaflen
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    Butcher and the Burger
    This butcher shop doubles as a sleek build-your-own burger spot. First, choose from a selection of patties that range from classic beef to sustainable salmon (there’s even a vegan lentil and rice-based option). Then choose your bun, toppings, sauces, and spices, so it’s exactly the burger you’ve been craving. If you want, you can even grab some hamburger meat to go, and try to replicate the experience at home.

    Butcher and the Burger, 1021 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago 
    Photo courtesy of Butcher and the Burger
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    DMK Burger Bar
    A hipster hangout gone mainstream, this Chicago-only chain serves grass-fed beef, Colorado lamb and bison, and veggie burgers, all on artisan buns. Sip craft beers, cocktails, or house-made sodas with your meal, and go ahead and order that extra batch of fries; after all, a portion of what you pay will be donated to local charities. DMK has four locations, one of which is right in Soldier Field (home to the Chicago Bears).

    DMK Burger Bar, multiple locations, Chicago
    Photo by Lindsey Becker
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    This hole-in-the-wall spot in Evanston (the suburban home of Northwestern University) is owned and operated by chef Eddie Lakin. Lakin gave up working in fine-dining kitchens to start this casual spot where he applies his high-end training to a more laid-back atmosphere and cuts and grinds the day’s meat himself. Try the grass-fed or locally raised beef, and indulge in one of Edzo’s shakes. (In addition to the staple flavors, Lakin also offers some more unusual options, such as spicy Mexican chocolate.) 

    Edzo's, 1571 Sherman Ave., Evanston
    Photo courtesy of Edzo’s
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