The men at ManBQue have eaten their way through their fair share of restaurants around the city and have been to all of the usual suspects: Kumas Corner, Owen & Engine, Au Cheval, blah blah blah – so we decided to give you our Top 10, NOT Top 10 Burgers from around Chicago. These are the guys you don’t hear about as much but are worth your time and those few dollars you saved having your cousin’s kid’s friend do your tattoo in his garage.
We visited 11 different restaurants/bars in the Chicago area and ate our way through their burgers, from that we selected the top 10.
We rated the burgers on a 100 point system looking at the quality of the meat, how it was prepared, the quality of the bun, toppings and overall service/atmosphere. Then, we left 10 points for beer selection. Based on this careful and very scientific system, we judged 10 different burgers across the city and here is what we found:
10. The Burger Philosophy: Average Rating 70.7
While this place’s namesake is burgers, they make a less than mediocre one. We tried one with bacon, blue cheese & steak sauce and a second with bacon, cheese and a fried egg. While the topping combinations worked well, the meat was not good. The patties were overcooked and under-seasoned.
Recommendation: Maybe if you’re really hungover. Maybe. Burger Philosophy
9. The Atlantic Bar: Average Rating – 74.25
We tried two different burgers – their basic and their Reuben burger (beef patty topped with corned beef, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese). While the Reuben was very tasty (more so than the basic), they were both overcooked. We ordered the burgers medium and they came out well done. They featured a decent beer selection, but nothing to write home about.
Recommendation: If you’re looking for a cool soccer bar, go ahead and give it a try. But who really watches that. Atlantic Bar and Grill
8. Paramount Room: Average Rating – 76.9
Small, dark, dingy…what more could you want? A consistent burger, maybe. We were given two burgers, the first of which was way over-cooked. The second was cooked very well and almost made up for the first one. Though they had minimal toppings, they had a great beer list and a cool space.
Recommendation: When you want to make sure your probation officer can’t find you, hit this place up. Paramount Room
7. Unite Urban Grille: Average Rating – 77
While this place is an up and coming hotspot, their burger is only mediocre. The service was phenomenal and they have a nice cocktail list, but their beer list is lacking and they over-cooked the burger. There was unfortunately nothing special about it.
Recommendation: If you want something the opposite of Paramount Room, head here, but maybe try something outside of the burger. Unite Urban Grill
6. Rockwell’s Neighborhood Grill: Average Rating – 81
This place has a great selection of burgers! We tried the Santa Fe (pepper jack cheese, tortilla strips, grilled onions, jalapenos, guacamole & chipotle ranch dressing) and the Krusty (a grilled peppercorn char crust patty, Swiss cheese, mushrooms, LTO and mayo). Patties were cooked well and the burgers tasted good. The patties had decent flavor and there was a wide range of toppings and a great beer list.
Recommendation: If you’re out in Lincoln Square, definitely hit it up. Rockwell’s Grill
5. BadHappy: Average Rating – 81.3
Poutine is definitely the best thing to come out of Canada since Celine, no wait…Drake, no…never mind…and BadHappy has brought it to Chicago! For those that aren’t familiar with its glory, poutine is fries covered in cheese curds and gravy and whatever other toppings you can dream up. But BadHappy is not just defined by its poutine, it makes a mean burger! The basic is juicy with a ton of taste. The patty was cooked well, though slightly overdone. They as well have a burger called the Chick-fil-E: Beef Patty, Chicken Fried Chicken, Gorgonzola, Chili Pepper-Maple Glaze, Sunny egg, Creole Mayo, House Pickles, HappySauce, Frosted Flakes. The majority of points lost were due to not having any beer, but they are BYOB.
Recommendation: Bring your friends…and don’t have an appointment with your cardiologist any time soon. Bad Happy Poutine Shop
4. Frontier: Average Rating – 87.3
While you might have been to Frontier for their lion or bison or black bear (see what I did there), I would highly suggest going back for their burger. It was tender and cooked properly, but the beef was very gamey. They rock a very unique menu and a decent beer list.
Recommendation: If you want to feel like you killed it yourself, head to Frontier! Frontier
3. Acre Restaurant: Average Rating – 88.8
This place puts a lot of love in their burgers. From their basic (beef shoulder and brisket patty) to their pork burger, these guys know what they’re doing. Their basic is as it sounds, pretty basic. But their pork burger is something to be reckoned with – covered in jam, bacon, arugula and Chihuahua cheese.
Recommendation: They put jam on a pork burger. Yup. Acre Restaurant
2. Tuman’s Tap and Grill: Average Rating – 90.87
A true hidden gem. This burger should be talked about with the top burgers in Chicago. They keep it straight forward: beef patty with brisket, chuck and sirloin, cheese and LTO. The patty was cooked perfectly and tasted amazing. Tuman’s as well has a great beer list featuring a very alcoholic Root Beer.
Recommendation: The burger is one of the best on the list and their root beer will make you feel like you did when you spiked your juice boxes as a kid. Tuman’s Tap and Grill
1. Chop Shop: Average Rating – 96.7
This is number 1 on the list for a reason – the burger was cooked perfectly; patty tasted amazing, great bun, decent selection of toppings (even though they aren’t needed) and had a good beer list. On top of being an amazing restaurant, they are also a butcher shop. They pride themselves on their meat enough that they are willing to sell it to you, which is a good sign. Go. Drink their beer. And eat their meat. You won’t regret it.
Recommendation: MANBQUE APPROVED! Chop Shop