When it comes to comfort food, the all-American burger is hard to outdo. That doesn't stop chefs from trying to put their own stamp on it, however, with new versions popping up nearly every week in Chicago. Here are seven new burgers that debuted this season.
Beyond burger at Epic Burger
Chicago’s homegrown mini-chain, Epic Burger, became the first local spot to offer up its take on the meat-free “beyond burger” trend sweeping the country (occasionally known by other names, like Impossible Burger). The plant-based patty has officially been added to Epic Burger’s portfolio of all-natural offerings, particularly unique in that it’s designed to cook and look like meat, right down to the beet juice that “bleeds.” Free of cholesterol, soy and gluten, but packed with pea protein, these things are also a nutritional dream, making it the perfect blend of health and comfort food. While peas provide the protein, coconut oil and potato starch are responsible for the beef-like chew and juiciness.
Bacon cheeseburger at Sable Kitchen & Bar
Bacon cheeseburgers sound fairly commonplace, but when every ingredient is housemade with a unique twist, classic becomes contemporary. Such is the case with the new bacon cheeseburger at Sable Kitchen & Bar. Chef Shane Graybeal starts by grinding a slab of cured bacon and mixing it with ground beef to form a patty that’s half bacon and half beef. It’s topped with a thick slice of provolone that Graybeal injects with truffle oil, then layered on a lightly toasted bacon fat–infused brioche bun (the chef subs bacon fat for butter when baking the dough) with black garlic aïoli.
505 N. State St.; 312-755-9704
Raised burger at Raised
This elevated rooftop bar knows the value of a sweet-and-savory combination. That’s why onions are cooked in maple syrup and heaped on a buttery brioche for the foundation of its namesake new burger. Gruyère cheese and country pâté amp up the salty richness, all atop a thick, succulent grilled beef patty.
1 W. Upper Wacker Dr.; 312-795-3442
Butter burger at Deadbolt
While cocktails are clearly the focus of this reimagined dive bar, comforting Americana is the theme of the abbreviated food menu. From omelets to Chicago-style char dogs, and even hand-breaded chicken nuggets, Deadbolt has the dreamiest bar food in Logan Square. This is certainly true of its griddled butter burger, which borrows a page from Midwestern pastimes by cooking beef patties in butter before sandwiching them on equally buttery buns.
2412 N. Milwaukee Ave.; 773-698-6101
Prime burger at Prime & Provisions
This summer, the Loop’s snazziest steakhouse upped the ante on its Prime burger by adding another patty and upgrading every component of the dish. Now, the burger consists of two four-ounce dry-aged beef patties, hand-packed and seasoned with kosher salt and cracked black pepper. Like the restaurant's steaks, they're cooked under a 1,100-degree broiler, which imparts a nice char to the crust while maintaining a juicy interior. The patties are topped with sharp Wisconsin cheese, beefsteak tomato, house-pickled onions and a kosher dill pickle.
222 N. LaSalle St.; 312-726-7777
Patty melt at BLVD
The burger’s kissing cousin, the patty melt, takes the spotlight at the West Loop’s glam newcomer, BLVD. While the restaurant also has a “regular” burger, the smaller, shareable patty melts are more conducive to grazing through multiple items on the eclectic menu. They pack a punch of flavor too, made with prime beef and garnished with Swiss cheese, black pepper aïoli and pickled red onion.
817 W. Lake St.; 312-526-3116
Santa Fe burger at RL
Earlier this summer, RL unveiled a new “Burgers at the Bar” menu, which featured a new burger every month. They sell like hot cakes too, with only 10 burgers available at the bar per night for walk-ins only, Monday through Thursday, 8–10 PM. Next up for September, and available through October 18, is the Santa Fe burger. Inspired by the colors and flavors of the desert city, it’s got lustrous green chiles and a heap of crunchy tortilla strips.
115 E. Chestnut Ave.; 312-475-1100