Chicago’s Best Burgers – Zagat 1/2014

ZagatThe title for best burger is a heavily contested one. Contenders range from the lightweight griddled patty to heavyweight grass-feed beef. Whether adorned in bacon jam or tucked between pretzel buns, which burger has the right stuff to rise to the top? We surveyed the city to crown a winner.

#1 Lockdown Bar & Grill
The Lockdown Warden
Made with a Davis Creek Meats bacon-infused blend, the $14 signature burger at this prison-themed joint is “off the chain.” It’s stuffed with Merkts cheddar and covered in fried leeks, shallots and truffle aïoli. Go on a Tuesday to get it (or any other burger) half price. Read more about Lockdown Bar & Grill on Zagat.

Chicago's Best Burgers#2 Bread & Wine
Grass Fed Burger
This “melt-in-your-mouth” burger stars a grass-fed beef patty nestled between brioche buns with bacon, cheddar, house pickles and red onion jam. At $16, it’ll cost you is right too, according to one voter: “For the price, best burger in town!” Read more about Bread & Wine on Zagat.

#3 Fatso’s Last Stand
Whether it’s late-night or afternoon-snack time, these griddled, “scrumptious” patties can be ordered single (for just $4) or double and topped with cheese or a fried egg. Either way, it will always be “perfectly cooked and seasoned” with a “perfect burger to bun ratio.” Read more about Fatso’s Last Stand on Zagat.

#4 Au Cheval
This “more satisfying and better quality diner burger” helped put Chicago’s burger scene on the map. For $10.95, two griddled patties are stacked with cheddar, mild dijonnaise and thin-sliced dill pickles with the opiton of adding bacon and a fried egg. A custom bun from Z Baking is attributed to the burger’s perfect bun-to-meat ratio. Read more about Au Cheval on Zagat.

#5 Leadbelly Burgers
This relative newcomer made a big impression on voters with its beef and smoked pork belly patty, topped with lettuce, tomato, red onion, spicy Sriracha pickles and a choice of cheese. It costs $6.95, and is served on a house-baked bun “so rich in flavor you can eat it alone and it would still be the best burger.” Read more about Leadbelly Burgers on Zagat.

#6 Owen & Engine
Slagel Farm Beef Burger
This $14 beaut is topped with caramelized onions on a house potato bap or English-style bun and served with a side of fries. But it may be the beef from Slagel Farms in Central Illinois that merits hosannas like, “this is one tasty burger!” On Tuesdays, an extra buck will get you a beer and shot of bourbon. Read more about Owen & Engine on Zagat.

#7 DryHop Brewers
The Burger
Designed to pair with the many beers on tap, this $13 burger starts with custom-blended beef and then tops it with a virtual feast of flavors: thick-cut applewood smoked bacon, slightly sweet chile-tomato jam, peppery arugula, pickled onions and raw milk cheddar that melts down the sides of the juicy patty. Bottom line: It’s “insanely good.” Read more about DryHop Brewers on Zagat.

#8 The Bad Apple
The Bad Apple Burger
Although this burger bar offers wild creations dusted with truffle or topped with peanut butter and bacon, the $9 original still reigns supreme. Toppings are basic — lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle and provolone — but it “always satisfies.” That may have something to do with the patty, a blend of three different beef cuts. Read more about The Bad Apple on Zagat.

#9 Three Aces
Ace Burger
Aged cheddar, aïoli and a whole lot of bacon jam “come together in perfect harmony on this heavenly burger.” The “thick, juicy” patty is served on a lightly toasted pretzel roll and comes with a side of fries as well as a garlic-and-hops pickle for $13. Read more about Three Aces on Zagat.

#10 Kuma’s Corner
Kuma Burger
Long lines are the norm at this long-standing staple known for a creative menu of burgers with heavy-metal-inspired names, but it’s “well worth the wait” for the $13 signature burger loaded with sharp cheddar, bacon and a fried egg. “Monstrous and glorious,” says one voter, and a second location means more ways to get your fix. Read more about Kuma’s Corner on Zagat.