A Squared: Recent Chicago Restaurant Visits: Burger Bars

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Recent Chicago Restaurant Visits: Burger Bars

Today's restaurant roundup is dedicated to one of America's favorite foods: the burger.

Like donut shops and farm-to-table restaurants, Chicago has seen an abundance of burger bars pop up in the past year or two. I have told you about a handful of them in previous posts: Butcher & the Burger, DMK Burger Bar (Lombard), Grange Hall Burger Bar, and Kuma's Corner. Recently though, Alex and I have been on a bit of a burger kick and have visited several other burger joints. Who knew there were so many here?! Here are three more burger places in three different neighborhoods, so you can grab a great burger no matter where you are...

Burger Bar
Lincoln Park

Burger Bar is one of my favorite places to eat in the North/Clybourne shopping area of Lincoln Park. I generally consider this area to be a bit of a restaurant desert, so when we're up here and doing some shopping we make a point of stopping in at Burger Bar.

Burger Bar has an excellent selection of craft beers and an even better selection of creative burger combinations. There is most definitely something for everyone on the menu here. It's one of the few restaurants that we go to regularly and I don't order the same thing every time-- there are just too many good options! They have tons of options here: an elk burger, a shrimp burger, and a bison burger that I love called the Wild Bill. It's topped with arugula, goat cheese, and tomato chutney all on a pretzel roll. That's pretty much all of my favorite items inside of a pretzel bun. And it's good. This time around, I went a little lighter and ordered one of their "Alt Burgers": A light and crunchy grain-based veggie burger served with arugula, goat cheese (noticing a pattern here?), avocado, tomato, chipotle mayo. I don't often order a veggie burger, but I was craving something a bit lighter for lunch that day and it was exactly what I wanted. 

I don't know that we have ever had anything bad here. The mac and cheese is rich and delicious, the fried pickles are amazing, and the sweet potato fries are my go to side. They are super crispy and tossed in a little cinnamon and sugar. I love them!
Burger Bar on Urbanspoon

Rockit Burger Bar

Rockit Burger Bar is the Wrigleyville-based burger focused sister spot to River North's always busy Rockit Bar & Grill. I have been here a handful of times before, but this was my first time since Rockit has gone full burger bar and I was pleasantly surprised. Normally you get overpriced drinks and mediocre bar food in the Wrigleyville neighborhood, but we actually had a really great dinner here.

Rockit serves a variety of burger options: from the traditional to the inventive (like their ridiculous Mac Attack-- a burger with fried mac and cheese patties in place of buns) and from vegetarian to all beef, they have an option for every burger lover out there. Alex ordered The Farmhouse burger, which was piled so high with pulled pork, bacon, and a fried egg that he had to eat it with a fork and knife... but he sure did enjoy it! I went for the Johnny Appleseed burger with a turkey patty. The burger a really generous size and super moist-- especially for a turkey burger. And the toppings were so delicious! Neuske's bacon, diced apples, melty brie cheese, and a really tasty pecan aioli were all piled on top (another fork and knife-worthy burger) and this burger was served with Billy Dec's signature sweet potato fries. I didn't even have to order them! Although, I still would have... Like Burger Bar, this sweet potato fries were tossed in cinnamon and sugar for a perfect touch of sweetness.

So, if you find yourself in Wrigleyville and in search of a great meal, look no further than Rockit Burger Bar. Tasty burgers, a great drink selection, and a fun atmosphere-- the perfect spot for
 a laidback date night, drinks and snacks with friends, or a pre-Wrigleyville party meal.
Rockit Burger Bar on Urbanspoon

25 Degrees
River North

Last, but not least, is a restaurant that I have already told you a little bit about: 25 Degrees. The fanciest of the 3 burger bars I am featuring here, 25 Degrees has a trendier River North vibe versus the more laidback atmospheres of the other two northside restaurants. It's still a burger bar, so we aren't talking white tablecloths, but the restaurant is dimly lit with chic bordello-inspired decor so it feels a little more bar and less burger bar.

That said, the burgers here are fantastic. 25 Degrees has four burgers that they've created on the menu in addition to a variety of interesting items available a la carte to create your own burger. Normally I take the a la carte route in a situation like this, but burger #2 looked so good that I didn't even feel the need to create my own! This burger was served with roasted tomatoes, burrata, crispy prosciutto, and pesto on a soft brioche bun. I did edit it slightly by adding sweet caramelized onions and subbing in a turkey burger, but wow, was it good! The burgers are huge and juicy and all of the ingredients are good quality so no matter how you customize yours, it will be really tasty. Alex went with BBQ sauce, jalapeno bacon, a fried egg, and habanero jack on his spicy burger.

Sides are all served a la carte here as well, which makes them perfect for serving. The fries are good, but the onion rings are definitely my favorite-- they're coated in a delicious crispy batter with generously cut rings of sweet onion inside. And don't forget a spiked milkshake! Alex and I split one of these ice cream cocktails for dessert and it was kind of amazing. They have a variety of flavor combinations available, but we went with the Night Owl: a combination of Trader Vic's, Godiva Dark Chocolate Liqueur, and chocolate ice cream. It was really rich, chocolatey, and the perfect sweet way to end our meal.
25 Degrees on Urbanspoon

P.S. Have you checked out my new Restaurant Guide page yet? Find all of my Chicago restaurant posts and reviews arranged here by neighborhood and cuisine for your convenience!

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  1. I'm not a big burger person, but you better believe my husband is. I am sending him this right now, so he can plot his next guy's night. They went to Kuma's last night.

    1. You know, I'm more of a turkey burger girl, myself. And that's the nice thing about all 3 of these places-- great options for non-beef and non-meat eaters are available at all of them!

  2. Sweet potato fries tossed in a cinnamon..... mmmmmmmmm I've got a new place to check out when I'm in town :)

    1. As if sweet potato fries could get any better... the cinnamon/sugar does it!

  3. I went to Grange Hall last night- it's a must visit!!! Bad Apple is another must- with an amazing beer list!

    1. I love Grange Hall! Did you have their pie of the month? So good.

      Haven't tried Bad Apple yet, but it is most definitely on my list!

  4. Oh , I'm drooling! Nothing beats a good burger, especially in this weather, am I right?
    PS: I've just discovered your blog, and I'm loving it.
    xoxo, Alex

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Alex-- so glad you're enjoying the blog!

      And could not agree more-- burgers, fries, and general comfort food... perfect for this weather!

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