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Top Burgers in Chicago: The Best and the Beefiest

February 25th, 2009

rosebud-steakhouse-burger-chicago.jpgThis article by Elizabeth Kelly on the best Chicago burgers could be considered a follow-up to my previously published piece about places of interest in Chicago even though this one was written by a different author. It’s also one of the very few articles that actually made me hungry during the proofreading phase; it’s been a long time since I have been to a high quality hamburger restaurant.

Meanwhile, in the fourth paragraph there is also an interesting misplaced modifier which seems to imply that someone’s wife packed his sandwich and thermos in a hedge. Although I usually rewrite these types of sentences automatically even when they are coming from other authors, I decided to leave this one unedited just for humorous effect.


Chicago may be famous for its pizza, but the city’s best-kept secret may be its burgers. Whether you’re more at home with valet parking or driving up to a window, there’s a juicy treasure of a burger to please every palate and pocketbook. Come along on a tasty tour of the Windy City’s best beefy offerings. You won’t find soybean burgers or trendy sprouts on these buns. We’re talking about the real thing for real burger lovers. Warning: you might want to loosen your belt.

1) Rosebud Steakhouse (192 E. Walton St.)

The first thing you’ll think is, “You’re asking me to order a burger at a steakhouse?” Trust in the meat: skip the steak and be thankful later. The second thing you’ll think is, “Wait a minute. I’m supposed to ask this guy in a tuxedo for a cheeseburger?” Again, just have faith. The Rosebud may be a fancy-looking steakhouse, but they do a down-and-dirty burger, twelve big ounces of it, for a mere nine bucks. What puts it even more over the top is the chewy, pretzel-dough bun. As one diner once quipped: “Seasons change, the economy fluctuates, girlfriends leave, and dictators fall -and yet the one constant in our lives is the supremacy of the Rosebud hamburger.”

2) Paradise Pup (1724 S. River Rd.)

This unassuming-looking fast food facade hides one of the best burgers you ever put in your mouth. Would people wait in their cars in an interminable line otherwise? This burger is one worth waiting for: 1/3 pound, 80% lean chuck, char-grilled to order for a staggeringly low $3.49. You can top it with Wisconsin crock cheddar cheese for thirty cents. Thirty cents! That’s like 1950s prices. Be prepared, because Paradise Pup only accepts cash, but with prices like these you can dig it out from under the seats.

3) Naha (500 N. Clark St.)

You were promised no chi-chi burgers, and this is a rather fine restaurant, but beneath the brioche-style bun and the caramelized onions is a whole half pound of $10 burger that will make you want to throw on a tie just to go eat one right now. The Chicago Tribune named this the second best hamburger in town, but it’s an easy #1 for many. It’s only served at lunchtime, so you may find yourself hiding the sandwich and thermos your wife packed in a hedge somewhere.

4) That’s-a-Burger (2134 E. 71st St.)

To balance out the somewhat frou-frou atmosphere at Naha, here’s one for the manly-man in us all: 1/2 pound burgers, under $10 topped with anything you want, even if that means a fried egg. You can work out later; why not have the double? In fact, get the fries too. Many folks say that the fries are the best feature but they seem to have experienced some sort of temporary dementia that leads them to forget that they have a half pound egg-topped burger in the other hand. Fries, schmies. The burger is all.

Did you find one to your taste? If not, you’re no self-respecting carnivore. Chicago is poised to become the burger capital of the world, and you can be a part of it.



4 Responses to “Top Burgers in Chicago: The Best and the Beefiest”

  1. comment number 1 by: Steve

    Being a Chicago resident, I guess I have taken for granted the joys of Burger Kingdom. Since I have high cholesterol, one of my favorites is the veggie burger at Photo’s in Mt. Prospect, IL :)

  2. comment number 2 by: Reader

    The wrong author has been credited with this article.

  3. comment number 3 by: Karlonia

    @Reader:

    If this is true, I would like to know who the original author was so that I can give the proper credit or at least indicate that there is a dispute over who actually owns the rights.

    I acquired the article from Constant Content by purchasing the relevant usage license and have credited the author according to their terms, using the name that was submitted to me by the site after I downloaded the file. If the actual author of the article is a different person, then Constant Content should probably know about this as well so that we can investigate the matter and determine who actually owns the rights and should receive the credit.

  4. comment number 4 by: jammer

    I have no problem with people picking Booches, but I’ve gotta say … at this point, if I could only choose one burger to have for the rest of my life, it would be the Flat Branch burger (the one with artichokes and cheese on top).

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