10 Bucket-List Burgers in Chicago

The Dearborn's saucy option | Credit: Neil Burger
The Dearborn burger

Deep-dish pizza and loaded hot dogs might be what the Windy City is known for, but Chicago knows how to make a damn good burger. The city is jam-packed with restaurants presenting their takes on the ground meat sandwich. Think Venteux’s chuck patty topped with raclette and crispy shallots, Adorn’s dry-aged prime beef burger, or Blue Door Farm Stand’s vegan quinoa burger with mango chutney. Here are the best burgers you do not want to miss in Chicago.

The Dearborn (The Loop)

Sisters Clodagh and Amy Lawless team up with executive chef Aaron Cuschieri to create a burger with versatility and numerous customizations to make it your own. The base of the burger is an 80/20 (80 percent lean meat and 20 percent fat) blend of local CDK Farm Angus beef, topped with Wisconsin cheddar, special sauce, dill pickles, and bibb lettuce on a brioche bun. The special sauce is a mix of mayonnaise and ketchup, cornichons, red onions, dijon mustard, onion, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and lemon juice. Cue the add-ons: caramelized onions, Baker’s bacon, wild mushrooms, and a lavish $21 foie gras option. 

Dining at the restaurant: The classic American tavern is decked out with red leather couches and caged drop lights for a part rustic, part cozy dining room. Part of the restaurant’s French doors open up to the streetside patio dining on West Randolph. 

Takeout: Both delivery and takeout are available.

Dusek’s Tavern (Pilsen)

Dusek's burger
Credit: Dusek’s Tavern

The old-school tavern’s griddled double cheeseburger is a winner, landing a spot on Chicago magazine’s best burger list. The double patty is a blend of dry-aged chuck, short rib, sirloin, and round, all from Slagel Farms, all smothered in “special sauce” consisting of mayo, ketchup, garlic powder, diced white onion, diced pickles, and hot sauce. It’s topped with American cheese and lettuce and served with a side of fries. Wash it down with one of Dusek’s draft beers. 

Dining at the restaurant: The exposed brick and chandeliers give this gastropub an edgy feel. It’s the perfect spot to grab a bite before a show at Thalia Hall.

Takeout: Both delivery and takeout are available.

Adorn Bar & Restaurant (Gold Coast/Magnificent Mile)

James Beard award-winning chef Jonathon Sawyer takes the reins at the stunning internationally inspired new American restaurant in the Four Seasons hotel. He whips up two stellar burgers: a dry-aged prime beef burger and a vegan option. The beef option comes with crispy bacon, American cheese, and secret sauce on potato buns with double-cooked fries on the side, while the lunchtime-only vegan burger takes Beyond Meat patty and tops it with house pickles, American cheese, and the same secret sauce also on a potato bun. Pair either with one of four Adorn signature cocktails or choose from an extensive wine list.

Dining at the restaurant: Sleek minimalism is the theme at this sophisticated hotel restaurant, with a shimmering crystal chandelier over the bar.  

Takeout: The restaurant does not do takeout or delivery. 

Kinzie Chophouse (River North)

Known as a River North staple steakhouse that has been around for 30 years, Kinzie Chophouse whips up a mean burger for lunch. The burger patty consists of a secret recipe of freshly ground beef, topped with vine-ripened tomatoes, red onions, lettuce, and a choice of cheddar, Swiss, mozzarella, or Monterey jack, served with thick-cut fries. For dinner, grab a dry-aged steak or try the signature 30th anniversary cut of 21-day dry-aged lamb chops. 

Dining at the restaurant: In classic steakhouse fashion, white tablecloths class up the cream-toned interior. The outdoor patio is lined with plants and bistro-style chairs under the shade of trees. 

Takeout: Both delivery and takeout are available.

Venteux (The Loop)

Venteux burger
Credit: Neil Burger

Paris meets Chicago at Venteux, meaning “windy” in French — a nod to the city’s infamous nickname “Windy City.” The brioche burger by executive chef Donald Young, the youngest chef in Chicago to run a MICHELIN-star kitchen during his time at Temporis, is an 80/20 chuck blend (80 percent lean meat and 20 percent fat) — the ratio equivalent of a sweet spot for a moist, juicy burger. Raclette cheese is melted atop the patty, finished with fried crispy shallots, pepper butter, charred leek relish, and a herb mix of mint, Thai basil, and cilantro for a kick of flavor. If that’s not enough, add bacon for extra texture and smokiness. 

Dining at the restaurant: Dining at the French brasserie, with its dramatic 40-foot high ceiling at the Pendy Chicago’s 1920s Art Deco Carbide and Carbon Building, is truly spectacular. Outdoor seating mimics café style seating along Michigan Avenue. 

Takeout: Both delivery and takeout are available.

Beatrix (Multiple locations)

A Lettuce Entertain You restaurant — the gold standard of Chicago hospitality — with four locations and a fifth opening in spring 2022, Beatrix consistently churns out top-notch food, burgers included. At breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you’ll find the prime burger with house-made giardiniera (Italian pickled vegetable relish), and your choice of aged white cheddar, Wisconsin swiss, or havarti cheese. Plus, get it on whole-grain toast or a burger bun. Find the vegetarian option at lunch or dinner, made with a mushroom and quinoa patty, Swiss cheese, baby kale, and sriracha aioli. Both burgers come with Kennebec potato fries.

Dining at the restaurant: All locations of Beatrix offer indoor dining in a simple, casual dining room, as well as outdoor patio dining.

Takeout: Both delivery and takeout can be ordered on the website.

River North

Fulton Market


Oak Brook

3 Arts Club Café (Gold Coast)

RH burger
Credit: RH

The interior store RH (formerly Restoration Hardware) makes sure everything in its historic 3 Arts Club, set in the 1914 women’s club landmark building of the same name, is immaculate. That includes its classic, straightforward burger, made with a beef patty, sharp American cheese, pickles, onion, dijonnaise, and the option to add avocado or thick-cut pork belly bacon to the mix. RH recently opened up a second Illinois location in Oak Brook, with a rooftop restaurant and wine bar that has the same ritzy feel as all of its dining establishments. The Oak Brook menu mirrors that of the 3 Arts Club, RH burger included.

Dining at the restaurant: At both locations, the upscale indoor dining ambiance makes you feel luxurious while sitting beneath dazzling chandeliers inside a glass atrium around a fountain surrounded by olive trees. 

Takeout: 3 Arts Club Café does not offer takeout or delivery.

Au Cheval (West Loop)

Au Cheval’s burger has reached celebrity status. From Hogsalt restaurant group, also of Aster Hall, Ciccio Mio, Gilt Bar, and more, Au Cheval has made its mark in the West Loop neighborhood that is brimming with restaurants and opened several Small Chevals, its fast-casual sister restaurant, plus a New York outpost. The signature Au Cheval burger comes with two 4-ounce beef patties, American cheese, pickles, onions, and dijonnaise on a brioche bun — and it’s one saucy affair. Add egg and bacon to give it that extra oomph. Quirky note: A single cheeseburger here means two patties, while the double means three. 

Dining at the restaurant: Au Cheval operates on a first-come, first-serve basis inside its always-packed dining room where you can watch the chefs flip burgers in the open kitchen. Outdoor seating sprawls out onto the street corner at Halsted and West Randolph.

Takeout: Takeout and delivery is only available Monday through Thursday. 

Willow Room (Lincoln Park)

Tucked away in the historic neighborhood of Lincoln Park, Willow Room is a new American restaurant led by chef Roldan Flynn. He serves a no-frills, but popular burger with a double patty, American cheese, bread and butter pickles, red onion, and dijonnaise between brioche buns with a side of fries. On Mondays, catch the burger on a three-course menu with your choice of a salad and dessert. 

Dining at the restaurant: The large, industrial-chic space is complete with exposed brick and framed art. Private enclosed outdoor tents are set up to brave Chicago’s winter. 

Takeout: The restaurant offers takeout but not delivery.

Blue Door Farm Stand (Lincoln Park)

Walk through the eponymous blue door to find farm-to-table dishes at this Lincoln Park restaurant. The farmstand burger is a standout with an Angus beef patty, caramelized onions, housemade pickles, cheddar cheese, and hand-cut fries. But don’t sleep on the veggie burger, made from quinoa, beans, breadcrumbs, and a mix of spices and accompanied by mango chutney, crushed avocados, arugula, spicy garlic aioli, and a salad of mixed greens with apple cider vinegar. 

Dining at the restaurant: The two-story airy restaurant emulates dining in a chic barn house. Large window panes allow sunlight to stream in, with the downstairs French doors opening out to the street. You can’t miss the all-white exterior with the blue door. 

Takeout: Both delivery and takeout are available.

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