5 Burgers We’re Craving Right Now

The magic of a freshly grilled burger on a summer night is undeniable. Of course, if you’re like me, a good burger is pretty much a grand slam any day of the year.

And it’s obvious that not all burgers are created equal; America is not a burger democracy. Some are bigger, juicier, more delicious. Some come with fries, for which you would gladly sacrifice your right arm.

Face it: There are times when you just need red meat. Damn the cholesterol; full speed ahead. If you are truly serious about your burgers, here are 5 places that you need to visit STAT!

Prairie Grass

Order the Top Sirloin Burger with Mild Bleu Cheese Topping, a warm slice of beefsteak tomato, and potato wedges on the side. Take a bite. Cry a little for its sheer fabulousness. Repeat.

The Happ Inn

The Mushroom Surprise (horseradish sauce, swiss cheese, BBQ sauce, sautéed mushrooms and onion rings) is a serious commitment. You can do it! And I wouldn’t turn down the Fiesta Burger, laden with Jack cheese, guacamole, pico de gallo and jalapenos. Too much for you? Go with the sliders, you wimp. And splurge for the sweet potato fries. Totally calorie-worthy.

Kuma’s Corner

Consistently appears on the “Best Burger in Chicago” list. It’s a bit of a trek and a long wait once you get there, but definitely worth it. Enjoy a Mayhem (sliced jalapenos, pancetta, pepper Jack, and giardinera mayo), clearly named for the havoc it will wreak on your system. Or perhaps the Metallica (buffalo sauce, bacon and bleu cheese dressing)? There’s a heavy metal theme here that teens will love, and more than 50 beers to choose from. Rock on!

Edzo’s Burger Shop

A return to the burger joints of legend. Nothing too fancy, just American beef, ground fresh each morning, griddled or grilled to your order. Sustainable beef is available for $2 more. The griddled burgers have a crispy edge that I am constantly dreaming about. Hand-dipped shakes (OMG the Mexican chocolate with ancho chile powder and ground cinnamon!) and amazing fries (hand-cut, twice-cooked potatoes are the secret for fry nirvana) are also on hand. Get the Parmesan Truffle Fries and write me a thank-you note.

Hop Haus

There’s almost too much burger choice here. Beef? Turkey? Lamb? Buffalo? Ostrich? But it’s hard to go wrong with a burger this tasty. And the pretzel bun is outstanding —substantial and yummy. Can’t decide? Go with the a la carte Haus Minis and mix and match. And you’ve got to love a burger place that pairs a different beer with each burger.