Best Burgers: Chicago and the ‘Burbs

It’s funny, isn’t it? Even my skinny-minniest girlfriends love a great burger.

A popular car commercial once touted hot dogs as the All-American comfort food, but for my money, it’s the hamburger. And even though it’s easy enough to toss one on the grill, people are paying good money to satisfy that burger craving when they’re eating out.

And there are definite opinions on the North Shore. Everyone has a favorite burger joint, and a few might surprise you. So whether you prefer yours unadorned or with all the fixin’s, there’s a place on our list where you will find the burger of your dreams… I guarantee it.


Bop & Grill
Gotta go for the Umami Burger (mushroom duxelles, roasted tomatoes and onions, smoked Gouda cheese) and the Kimchi Fries.

DMK Burger Bar
They’re all great, but the Bison (goat cheese, pickled onions and blueberry BBQ sauce) and the Salmon (ginger & scallions, Asian slaw, red Thai curry sauce) burgers will curl your toes.

Kuma’s Corner 

Wild combo burgers saddled with heavy metal band monikers.  The Lair of the Minotaur (caramelized onions, pancetta, Brie, bourbon-soaked pears) is both weird and wonderful.


Tom & Eddie’s
My favorite here is the Islander (sushi-grade ground Ahi tuna, fried wontons, crushed wasabi peas, wasabi mayo, avocado); I feel both healthy and decadent with every bite. Check out their Vernon Hills location, too.


Cross Rhodes
The Rhodes Charburger (Feta cheese, gyro slices, ask for tzatziki sauce) is a heart stopper, but what a way to go. A side of Maria fries, please.

What’s your preference: smashed and griddled, or grilled charburger? I’m all about the Swiss cheese and sautéed mushrooms with a side of garlic fries.


The Pretzel Burger (caramelized onions, provolone, garlic-Dijon mayo, warm pretzel bun) is my choice, unless I’m in the mood for the fantastic Patty Melt.

Highland Park

Great beef makes for a great burger, here dressed with Wisconsin sharp Cheddar and red onion marmalade, served with crispy frites.

Michael’s Red Hots
If you’re lucky enough to have attended a bar mitzvah here, you left happy. Try the Mediterranean Burger in a pita pocket.

Lake Bluff

The Abby Burger, made with Dietzler Farm organic beef, is served on toasted garlic brioche with crispy cheese curds and white truffle aioli. I might need a moment.


Simple and to the point: Tallgrass grass-fed beef, LaBriola bun, tomato, lettuce, onion, pickle. Add Butter Kase cheese if you must.


Charlie Beinlich’s
Cheeseburger. Cheeseburger. Cheeseburger.

Prairie Grass
Bunless! You heard me. Top Sirloin with mild blue cheese topping, warm beefsteak tomato, crispy potato wedges. Wow.


Happ Inn
Do yourself a favor; order the Sunrise Burger (Cheddar, crispy onions, sunny side-up egg, bacon, Tabasco). And the sweet potato fries!


Epic Burger
Double burger, horseradish Havarti, lettuce, tomato, pickle and Epic sauce. That’s the ticket.


Pete Miller’s
Perfectly grilled prime beef. Go with Gruyère or English Stilton.


Their Lamb Burger (Greek herbs, spicy feta-red pepper dressing, ciabatta roll, served with ethereal zucchini chips) is outstanding.