If you’re constantly wondering what’s with all the f*cking goat references in Chicago, it began here with original owner William “Billy Goat” Sianis. Here are the CliffsNotes - man owns tavern, goat falls off truck and wanders into tavern, man befriends goat, Cubs deny man and goat entry into Wrigley Field, man curses Cubs, Cubs suck at baseball for long time, tavern still awesome, Cubs still trying not to suck.
Maybe you know about Billy Goat Tavern from that lore, or maybe know it from the famous John Belushi “CHEESEBORGER” SNL skit. All of this leads to the question at hand: Is this place any good? Answer: yes. Despite the fact it’s been franchised to Mars and back, the lower Michigan Avenue location is still a special place.
At Billy Goat, it’s all about the burgers (cheezborgers to be exact). Are these the best burgers in town? Of course not. But they are satisfying, and the place itself is great. It’s a legendary dive bar and restaurant, and when you consider all the famous people that have strolled through, you can’t help but wonder how drunk did Bill Murray used to get here.
Yes, it can be touristy and ridiculous. But there are also old guys posted up at the bar who look like they’ve been sitting there since the Cubs last World Series win. Walking into Billy Goat is like stepping into a time capsule, if that time capsule was dark, dirty, crude, and served endless cheap burgers and beer.
CHEESEBORGER CHEESEBORGER CHEESEBORGER. CHEEPS. NO COKE. PEPSI.
NEVER ORDER A SINGLE. EVER.
The patties here are extremely thin, and our biggest problem with the burgers isn’t the meat, but the thick kaiser roll bun. It’s entirely too much bread. Go with the double (triples area acceptable), and expect them to rudely tell you to do so anyway. Burgers comes plain or with cheese and that’s it. Add on pickles, onions, relish, ketchup, and mustard at the adjacent station, and don’t ask for lettuce or tomato because they don’t have it. Pro tip - cash only and the pickles are great.
You know what the kaiser roll is actually good for? A breakfast sandwich. We fully support your decision to get any variation of meat, egg, and cheese. Billy Goat is open daily from 6 am to 2 am, so there’s probably a time where this is a good idea.
Don’t get the ribeye. The meat is entirely too plain, especially on the giant bun.
An acceptable order, but there are other Chicago institutions that do a much better version.
No fries. Cheeps.
No doublecheezborger is complete without at least one if eating there.