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Hamburgers vs Pub Burgers

Who knows where the best burger can be obtained?

I'm not usually the guy to say something in Lake County is far superior to anything in the city, except when it comes to burgers.

For example: Charlie Beinlich's, Micky Finns, Morgans, Crossroads are just few of the many notable Lake County Pub burgers.

I'm not looking for little castle burgers or squished flat juice-less and greasy diner burgers, I want a 1/3 lb or better of 100% pure beef, no fillers, char exterior on a homemade bun. Kind of the way Hackney's or Barnaby's does it.

So, needless to say, no chain crap like Fudruckers etc. But I am really looking for something Downtown...

OK, now discuss amongst yourselves! I'll just be taking notes.

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  1. I hear that Ditka's and Harry Carry's have great burgers.

    1. Miller's Pub and Exchequer both do excellent unsung 1/3 lb burgers: both on Wabash near-ish Jackson.

      1. Pepper Canister - Irish Pub. Around 500 N Wells. I order "The Unrepentant Sinner." Blue Cheese, Green Olives, BBQ Sauce, and Bacon. You might not think it, but its delicious. Great fries and excellent beer on tap.

        1. I haven't found a burger in the city that compares to Hackney's on a dark rye bun. I'm just sad that I live so far away now. No more Hackney's.

          1 Reply
          1. re: sunnyday1375

            There's one downtown if you work down there.

          2. Hackney's opened in Printer's Row a few years back....733 S Dearborn.

            That being said, I love the burgers at P.J. Clarkes (River East and Gold Coast locations).

            Any of the Blackie's locations are also good.

            1 Reply
            1. re: NDJ

              Make sure you specify BOSTON Blackie's. The Blackie's down in Printer's Row is not part of Boston Blackie's, and is far inferior in both food and service to Boston Blackie's. Had lunch there a few weeks ago, and was sorely disappointed. And we LOVE Boston Blackie's.

            2. I alway found the best burgers to be had in small local joints with a grill behind the bar. Where not only did the bartender pour your drinks, but he was the burgermeister as well.

              1. Green Door Tavern does a pretty good burger.
                I really miss the big juicey burgers stuffed with garlic, onion and green peppers at the Oak Tree, long since gone from Oak St.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Markauf

                  Oak Tree is now in the 900 N. Michigan mall. It has been for years. I've never had a burger there, but I love their salads.

                2. If you are near Lincoln Square Jury's on Lincoln just south of Montrose is always good (Weds is Burger night $5 I think w/ fries). I also like Rockwell's on Rockwell and Wilson, very tasty as well.

                  1. If you're around the NW Suburbs, you really should not miss Brandt's Little Cafe in Palatine (NW Hwy and Quentin) - best burgers I've ever had.

                    1. I love the burger at Southport Grocery and Cafe. Yes, the lines are long and no fun to wait in. Yes, they close really early.
                      But I would wait forever for this burger...the meat is excellent, it's a huge patty, and they actually cook it how you request, which was a nice surprise. They put it on a toasted Brioche bun with caramelized onions, sour cream, Nueske Applewood Smoked Bacon,and aged White Cheddar with a side of homemade tater tots and a caramelized onion dipping sauce. I have gone back several times for this burger alone! The vanilla cupcakes also help the wait time pass by...it's not really downtown, but you can take the L to get there.

                      1. I enjoy the burgers at Rockit Bar and Grill

                        1. I'm just glad I didn't see the Billy Goat Tavern here!

                          Thanks for the recommendations, I think I'll start at Boston Blackies and then swing over to Hackney's next (as this is what I was really after!). But that Pepper Canister sounds real intriguing as well.

                          I know I've hit Miller's awhile back, but I just don't remember if I had the burger, so I'll have to visit again, especially since it is just 3 blocks away from one of my offices.

                          Ditka's & Harry Carry's, are both a cab ride away. Although if I did go to Ditka's it would be real tough for me to get a burger over either the Ditka chop or one of those steaks, (you know, no one ever seems to mention just how good the steaks are here).

                          Oh the life of a chowhound, so many places eat, and so little stomach to pack it all into!

                          1. I think I remember Rosebud on Rush getting mentioned in a Tribune Magazine article by Phil Vettel as having the best burgers in the Chicago area.

                            1. Not Rosebud on Rush, but Rosebud Steakhouse on Walton. Their bar menu has a truly outstanding burger. I was always a devotee of the Carson's/Boston Blackie's hamburger but The Rosebud Steakhouse does go them at least one better. Also highly rated in the Vettel survey was Park Grill at Millennium Park, which I've yet to try. My guess is that Smith & Wolinsky is also very good. I base that on the Las Vegas S&W burger. Hackney's is good, but not in the same league as Carson's or Rosebud.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: RMaris9

                                "Hackney's is good, but not in the same league as Carson's or Rosebud."

                                For those that may not know, the burgers at Hackney's are deep-fried. And, as far as comparisons go, I wouldn't even utter its name in the same sentence as Rosebud.



                                1. re: Erik M

                                  " For those that may not know, the burgers at Hackney's are deep-fried."

                                  Not according to this article, whose author spoke with the owners. Unless something changed recently, and I can't see why a place that goes through 5 tons of meat a week would decide to change its cooking method.


                                  1. re: YoYoPedro

                                    Boy, that'll teach me to trust the employees at the Printer's Row branch!


                                    1. re: Erik M

                                      Yeah, somebody either felt like pulling your leg or was sorely ill informed. I just confirmed with a friend of mine who is a bartender there (Printer's Row Hackney's), who said that they used to deep fry the burgers, but stopped that process "well over 20 years ago."

                                    2. re: YoYoPedro

                                      I worked at Hackney's back in 1968- yes back then they deep fried the burgers- for obvious health reasons, they stopped that practice many many years ago.
                                      It was disgusting how they did that, people would rave at how juicy the burgers were, it was actually grease, not juice.

                                2. Whoa, easy there fellas! Now an arms race is escalating a bit on the high side.

                                  Please remember I asked for a "pub-burger" and not an over priced steakhouse Kobe or Wagyu gourmet snob-burger. I know a prime beef burger can be had, but the beauty of a great pub burger is it's simplicity, great taste and hearty serving at a fair price.

                                  So any burger that is over $10 is pushing itself to outside limits of socially unacceptable, and whoever pays more deserves a kick in can!

                                  Try to think blue collar here, even if you can afford better. One of the best burgers in the city years ago was Moody's pub on Broadway & Thorndale, now that's what I have in mind.

                                  1. I highly recommend O'Neil's 152 E Ontario, just East of the Orvis store. It's a tiny little pub with picnic tables out back. One of the best pub burgers I've ever had!

                                    1. Boston Blackies is the pub burger you're looking for downtown.

                                      Rosebud on Walton really is awesome, though. You can call it a snob-burger or whatever, but the fact is, it's in an entirely different class than BB's. Plus, one of them fed both me and Chowspouse for a quick takeout the other night.

                                      1. Patty Burger, 72 E Adams I checked it out on saturday and it was real good. the meat is never frozen, all are made to order and the sauce they put on it is real good.

                                        1. OK, all this burger talk motivated me to go out to the Gilmore Roadhouse in Mundelein this past weekend.

                                          My past experiences with this place have always been favorable as I started being a patron back in 1996 when I used to work very close by. And back then, I always thought they served up a pretty damn good pub burger.

                                          So after a grueling morning of supporting four daughters at a cheer competition, I suggested to two of the other families at the competition(that we also frequently dine with) we all head over to the Gilmore Roadhouse and give it a go since it had been a few years since my last visit, but my memories all were fairly positive.

                                          The group composite: one from Denver, one from Mexico City, one New Yorker, and three Chicagoans.

                                          The burgers:
                                          Still big! 1/2 Lb of beef grilled and served on a fresh but cold roll (i.e. not warmed or toasted) and depending on the burger you ordered, various acutraments such as fresh cooked bacon, cheese or BBQ sauce etc. are the toppers.

                                          While most of us got burgers, the New Yorker had to deviate and get pizza! And as expected, got a tombstone quality bar pizza that was obviously inferior to any of Luigi's hand tossed New York specials.

                                          The consensus was the Roadhouse was just OK, not great, and certainly not consistent. One burger was very well done to the point of dryness, the others all were med-rare but came out well (OK I guess they consistently got the doneness about the same). The meat was ok, but not very well seasoned and rather bland, the burgers just did not have that touch of charred exterior I thought I remembered, so I have to say on the whole I was somewhat disappointed.

                                          1. Boston Blackie's is a nice loop option, but, IMHO, Poag Mahone's, 175 W Jackson Blvd, takes the cake. Big and JUICY! Service kinda slow sometimes though, but nice Happy Hour Spot.

                                            1. Question: What is meant by "gourmet burger?" Is it the meat and the meat block (prime vs. choice, etc.), the size, the condiments, or the whole package?

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Jason Dumo

                                                I agree with the requirements set forth by TonyO, but I'm surprised nobody mentioned the beef should be ground in-house (a stricter version of TonyO's rule #1), which I think usually starts to separate the serious burger places from the rest.

                                              2. To me, there are a few requirements to even be considered a great burger:

                                                1. No premade patties
                                                2. Grilling is preferred, but properly cooked on a flat top is acceptable.
                                                3. Roll should be lightly toasted, best method is to butter the roll and then grill it
                                                4. Cooked to order form rare - medium well (no exclusions)
                                                5. 85% lean is best (ground round) any leaner, too dry in my opinion.
                                                6. 6 - 8 oz is best size

                                                Thoughts ??

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: TonyO

                                                  those are my parameters to a T :)

                                                  I would add that the burger isn't filled with anything(cheese, odd spicing that detracts rather than enhances the flavor of the beef, and/or vegetable filler)---preferably no vegetable filler, but I have had intriguing classic burgers such as The Drake Hotel's which is mixed with bell pepper, onion, and I forget what else...not an everyday burger, but good once in a blue moon.

                                                  anyway, I may like to add things atop and below my patty but rarely want "mixins"

                                                2. I agree with the above requirements as well. I would only add that in my book, the meat should have "some" seasoning or flavor to keep it unique from being just plain meat. And that a nice light charred exterior is a must! The above noted toasted or warmed bun is also another great touch.

                                                  Two of favorites examples of this are the "Mick Finn Burger" at Micky Finns in Libertyville, and the "1/2 Lb Angus burger" at Barnaby's in Deerfield (which BTW; both their pizzas & burgers are really great!).

                                                  1. Dunlay's on the Square in Logan Square has a good burger. On Wednesday night it is $5.00. It is not as good as Jury's in Lincoln Square also around $5.00 on Wednesdays. Jury's just can't be beat. Nice cozy atmosphere too.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Didee

                                                      twisted spoke! the fatboy burger they have is so juicy and has this amazing flavor. its really spectacular! every time i go to twisted spoke i have to have one. even though i like pretty much all their food.

                                                    2. Edgebrook Coffee Shop and Diner on 6322 N. Central Ave. On the corner of Central and Devon. Delicious 100% pure beef 1/3 lb,1/4 lb and pub burgers. They're open 7 days a week from 6:30am to 3:00pm. Highly recommend you all try it.

                                                      1. Green Door and Moody's are precisely the kind of pub burgers you're looking for. Blackie's serves up 'em up big, but they're bland as hell. Sounds like you're understandably put off by pretentious overpriced burgers, but I agree with whoever mentioned Rockit Bar. Their basic Angus burger is unbelievable and about ten times tastier than the 19 dollar Kobe burger.