We have a list of Chicago’s Best Burgers. But this is a list of the best new burgers that have arrived on the scene in the past year. From smash patties accessorized with halal bacon to a classic cheeseburger in a food hall, we’ve put our seven new favorites on this guide. So, prepare to clear your calendar - you have some burger eating to do.
After being closed for three months, this fried chicken spot just reopened in a new space in Lincoln Park. And while Cluck It still has great fried chicken, now they also have a burger on their menu which is also really, really good. It’s juicy without being greasy, the brioche bun is perfectly toasted, and their “cowtch” sauce is a wonderfully tangy dijonaise. We also got a side of cheesy sports pepper waffle fries to go with it, and you should too.
The smashburger at Three House, an all-day restaurant in West Town, is exactly the kind of burger we want when we’re hungover. Two juicy patties topped with the perfect amount of shredded cheddar, caramelized onions, and garlic aioli on a fluffy sesame bun. It’s rich and delicious without being overwhelming - so on second thought, it’s just the kind of burger we want to eat, period.
Bianca’s started out in a ghost kitchen last year, and has since moved into a stall at Revival Food Hall, where they’re making one of the best burgers in Chicago, new or otherwise. Specifically, it’s the Bianca burger, which comes with white American cheese, sweet grilled onions, a juicy griddled patty, pickles, Bianca’s burger sauce (ingredients seem to be “deliciousness”), and a toasted brioche bun. It’s everything we want in a burger - cheesy, beefy, and messy.
Ok, so this South Asian-inspired spot also has one of the best burgers, new or otherwise. Wazwan began as a pop-up, moved into a food hall, and now operates out of a virtual kitchen downtown. They recently made their burger a permanent addition to the menu, and we couldn’t be happier. It’s two smash patties, habanero and ghost pepper cheese, halal bacon, sweet pickles, red onion, and a firm brioche bun. It’s an outstanding combination of beefy goodness and spice, and we can’t stop thinking about it.
This is a new spot in Logan Square from the team behind Little Bad Wolf in Andersonville. We’re big fans of the burger at that place, so we were looking forward to checking out Gretel. And it turns out the burger here might be even better, mainly because it comes on a squishy everything bun. And that bun is a perfect delivery system for the two juicy patties, slices of white and yellow American cheese, bacon, garlic aioli, and pickles.
Phlavz Bar & Grille
At first glance, the burger at Phlavz in University Village is a pretty straightforward burger - two nicely charred patties, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onion. And we’d be delighted with the burger if it stopped there, but it’s the addition of a jerk mayo that makes this burger so damn good. It adds a level of smoke and heat that complements the charred meat perfectly.
Our experience with burgers at BBQ spots tends to be the same: a thick patty smothered in BBQ sauce, topped with fried onions and/or pepper jack cheese. That’s perfectly fine, but we’re happy that the burger at Offset, a brand new BBQ restaurant in Logan Square, doesn’t fall into this category. Their burger has a small layer of BBQ sauce between the two patties, lending it just enough of sweet, smoky flavor to enhance (rather than overwhelm) the meat. The addition of caramelized onions and peppers adds another layer of flavor, and the pickles cut through the richness. It also includes two slices of cheddar and 1000 Island dressing, which, quite frankly, we had forgotten how much we love.
When Pilsen Yards first opened in January, they served mainly tacos and Mexican small plates. But they recently added a great smashburger to their slowly expanding menu. The burger is delicious and sloppy, generously topped with caramelized onion, lots of gooey cheese, pickles, and a spicy mayo they call “mami sauce.” And as juicy as this burger is, the bun manages to hold up to everything without falling apart. This burger - plus some margaritas on their patio - is exactly how we want to spend our summer.
Canteen is a delivery-only pop-up spun out of Vajra, one of our favorite Indian restaurants in the city. The menu has tasty snacks like paav bhaji and pan puri, but we’re going to talk about the goat burger. It’s the only burger on the menu, and it’s made with minced goat, a spicy masala sauce, cheddar, arugula, onion, tomato, and a brioche bun. It comes with a side of fried potatoes and a sweet and spicy ketchup that we repurposed as a dip for the burger. Which you should do, too.