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Jul 17, 2003 11:51 AM


  • c

At the end of a meatwave this past weekend my girlfriend and I stopped at Redemaks in New Buffalo, Michigan. How I long for any easily accessible burger of this type here in Chicago. It's not the mongohuge burger one normally finds, and it comes wrapped up in paper with a basket of fries (but only for the lunch special).

I haven't noticed a burger string on the board (so if I've missed something, please tell me). I'd like to know if anyone has a ready list of really good burger joints in Chicago.



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  1. I'm not a huge Redamak's fan (though I like their idea of using Velveeta on the cheeseburgers), so you may not like my picks, but the burgers I go for in Chicago are at Munch on West Grand, Fat Willy's near Western and Fullerton, Bill's on Asbury near Howard just over the city line in Evanston, Moody's on Broadway (still does a great job), and Goose Island for the peppercorn and blue cheese burger.

    13 Replies
    1. re: Old School

      I have written paeans in the past to Bill's, which I think is the most archetypal old school (no pun intended even though Old School mentioned it) burger style joint in the city (well, 50 feet north of it). Some other lower-cost, not especially monstrous burgers that I think are done right in the old school way are Man-Jo-Vin's (Damen just north of Belmont) and, slightly more yuppified, the "original" Muskie's on Lincoln about 3000 N. I've also grown to like the Superdawg burger better after at first thinking it wasn't a patch on the dogs; but maybe I just had an off one the first time.

      Among larger bar burgers I would suggest checking out the aforementioned Moody's (especially during beer garden season) Jury's on Lincoln just south of Montrose, and the Twisted Spoke (Grand and Ogden), though that may be too big for your taste. Although I like big beef as much as the next big guy, the downfall of bar burgers is so often that they substitute enormity for a well-balanced mix of beef, bun, cheese, grilled onions and condiments. Better a smaller burger that brings all those elements together than a greasy hunk of meatloaf sliding off a smooshed, grease-soaked bun.


      1. re: Mike G

        the best hamburger hands down is at charlie beinlichs in northbrook

        1. re: brian teper

          the best hamburger hands down is at the Firebell in Elmhurst

          1. re: Fatboy

            Can we have a permanent ban on "hands down" followed by actual explanations why you think they're good? I'm not saying they might not be, but more description/argument would be of help to other people.

            1. re: Mike G

              the best hamburger hands down is at fuddruckers.

            2. re: Fatboy

              Where in Elmhurst? Any address or number?

              1. re: Fatboy

                Firebell closed years ago (at least 3yrs, could be more) and it is now called "Fitz's Pub." I have never tried their burger.

                Fitz's Pub
                172 Addison
                630 530 0777


              2. re: brian teper

                Without a doubt. No further questions needed!

                1. re: brian teper


                  The burger, I agree, is excellent, but don't forget the fresh tasting old school style shrimp and crab meat cocktail. For those who haven't been, Charlie B's is a tavern, casual, but with a distinctive atmosphere as befits a 50 year plus North side institution.

                  My typical order at Charlie B's is a burger, crisp fries and a shrimp and crab meat cocktail. Charlie B's has both bar and table seating.


                  Charlie Beinlich's
                  290 Skokie Blvd
                  Northbrook, IL 60062
                  Tues thru Sat 11:30am - 10:45pm

                2. re: Mike G

                  Nothing beats Moody's, get the BlueBurger and Hackneys, not without the onion rings.

                3. re: Old School

                  virginia's in highwood makes a perfect flat grill ,not at all upscale, cheeseburger. nothing dramatic just a meltingly simple blending of everything that is bad for you.unlike beinlichs you can't get a shrimp cocktail but you can get a cup of coffee.the rest of the limited menu is old style diner.virginia's is on sheridan road on the east side of the street

                  1. re: Old School

                    I also like the burger's at Munch. The old owner also own's Toon's bar and they make them exactly the same!!

                  2. Top Notch Beefburger makes a mean burger, and they serve 1/4, 1/2 (I think), 3/4 and the full lb. for those daring enough ;)

                    The original location on 95th near Leavitt is the best, but there are a few more; one in Oak Lawn (95th and Cicero) and a newer one out in Orland Park on 159th Street.

                    Oh, and the shakes are great, too ;)

                    I know others have mentioned Top Notch, and while some aren't as taken with it, it's an experience in Old School. The fries are thick-cut and GREASE-Y! Yummy.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: miss ellen

                      Miss Ellen,

                      Speaking of Top Notch Beefburgers, here's a picture of the Condiment Queen's Top Notch set-up.

                      I've only been there once, with The Mayor of Chowhound, Vital Information, The CQ and their Chowhounditas, but I quite enjoyed the burger, fries and overall atmosphere

                      Of the differing types of burgers, I like Kevin's Hamburger Heaven, the Diner on Irving Park and Smith and Wollensky. Though I have rarely met a burger I didn't like.

                      I also enjoyed the one burger I ate at my new favorite coffee shop, Edgebrook Coffee Shop, though I need to have more than one before I put Edgebrook's in my top burger list.



                    2. i dont eat burgers out much, but when i do i like corosh on milwaukee just south of division. they have a terrific garden, never crowded when i'm there (i think sunday brunch is busy). there are so few outdoor places that arent crowded, noisy, and/or sitting right up against the curb.
                      they serve a large burger, but not grossly so. btw, corosh(the owner) made the entire immense wooden bar, and i believe all the woodwork in the place (including the bathroom doors). joan

                      1. I second the Moody's recs. for a solid, substantial, attractively greasy burger.

                        I've also always had great affection for the Athenian Room's "Athenian Burger." I'm pretty sure it's a half pounder, nicely grilled, flavorful, the feta cheese adds a really nice bit of tang that American and even most cheddars lack. On top of that, you get their Greek fries which are fat, cottage style fries, always super crispy/crunchy and infused, by some magical process, with a zesty lemon/oregano aura. Yum. (They're on Webster, just west of Halsted)

                        Very yuppie, of course, but that can't be helped. The skirt steak and greek chicken are also excellent.

                        1. I'll throw in another vote for Moody's. I also like Jury's (Lincoln and maybe Pensacola? northcenter/lincoln square area), a similar type of burger.

                          for the thin patty double cheese type, I have a weakness for Billygoat's.