By Kit Graham
Eating at Au Cheval is all about luck and timing. The burger is out of this world amazing, but you need to either get there 30 minutes before they open, go late night on a weeknight, or be very, very lucky to score a table. The Au Cheval burger is the best because the beef patties are just the right size and thickness for stacking, the cheese is perfectly melted over each patty and the dijonnaise, chopped onion, and thinly sliced pickles are the perfect complement to the beef.
You are given the option to add bacon and/or a fried egg on top. It’s everything you ever wanted from a burger. Tip: The single is really a double, and the double is really a triple stack of patties. Similar burgers are available at Au Cheval’s sister restaurant, Small Cheval, in Old Town. 800 W. Randolph. AuChevalChicago.com
Longman & Eagle uses only the highest-quality ingredients; the beef comes from the Slagel Family Farm in Illinois, the sharp cheddar is from Widmer’s Cheese Cellars and the bacon is Nueske’s (both in Wisconsin).
Longman and Eagle
I think that Longman and Eagle’s “Slagel” burger with cheddar and bacon is the No. 2 burger in Chicago. I first tried this burger years ago, and the initial bite was so good that I practically shoved the burger in my boyfriend’s face so he could taste it. L & E uses only the highest-quality ingredients; the beef comes from the Slagel Family Farm in Illinois, the sharp cheddar is from Widmer’s Cheese Cellars and the bacon is Nueske’s (both in Wisconsin).
The burger itself is a half pound of beef, cooked to your temperature preference, and topped, simply, with cheese and bacon. It’s a basic burger done right. And did I mention that it comes with beef-fat fries? Unfortunately, Longman and Eagle doesn’t take reservations, so plan accordingly when heading to Logan Square. Your best bet is to get there as soon as they open. 2657 N. Kedzie. LongmanAndEagle.com
I adore this restaurant, which is a take on a British pub serving a mix of Indian food and pub food. The menu features mostly Indian cuisine, with just a couple classic gastropub additions. It would be easy to overlook the burger, but that would be a mistake. The “Royale with Cheese” consists of one large beef patty. The ingredients mimic those of the Au Cheval burger — it comes topped with finely diced red onion, housemade pickles that are cut very thin, and aged cheddar. 2049 W. Division. PubRoyale.com
Their “Le Cheeseburger Royale” is very similar to the Au Cheval burger. It has two thin patties topped with cheese, onion, dijonnaise, bacon and pickles on a soft brioche bun. They use prime, dry-aged beef, and this helps set it apart from other burgers in Chicago. Cochon Volant is a popular destination for weekday power lunches, but they do take reservations, so you never have to wait for a table to get this burger. It’s pretty easy to walk in for dinner or brunch (yes, the burger is on the brunch menu too). 100 W. Monroe. CochonVolantChicago.com
Kit Graham is the author of TheKittchen.com, a popular food and travel blog where she shares original recipes and travel adventures.