Chicago may be famous for its pizza, but the city's best-kept secret may be its burgers. Whether you're more at home with valet parking or driving up to a window, there's a juicy treasure of a burger to please every palate and pocketbook. Come along on a tasty tour of the Windy City's best beefy offerings. You won't find soybean burgers or trendy sprouts on these buns. We're talking about the real thing for real burger lovers. Warning: you might want to loosen your belt.
The first thing you'll think is, "You're asking me to order a burger at a steakhouse?" Trust in the meat: skip the steak and be thankful later. The second thing you'll think is, "Wait a minute. I'm supposed to ask this guy in a tuxedo for a cheeseburger?" Again, just have faith. The Rosebud may be a fancy-looking steakhouse, but they do a down-and-dirty burger, twelve big ounces of it, for a mere nine bucks. What puts it even more over the top is the chewy, pretzel-dough bun. As one diner once quipped: "Seasons change, the economy fluctuates, girlfriends leave and dictators fall -and yet the one constant in our lives is the supremacy of the Rosebud hamburger."
This unassuming-looking fast food facade hides one of the best burgers you ever put in your mouth. Would people wait in their cars in an interminable line otherwise? This burger is one worth waiting for: 1/3 pound, 80% lean chuck, char-grilled to order for a staggeringly low $3.49. You can top it with Wisconsin crock cheddar cheese for thirty cents. Thirty cents! That's like 1950's prices. Be prepared, because Paradise Pup only accepts cash, but with prices like these you can dig it out from under the seats.
You were promised no chi-chi burgers, and this is a rather fine restaurant, but beneath the brioche-style bun and the caramelized onions is a whole half pound of $10 burger that will make you want to throw on a tie just to go eat one right now. The Chicago Tribune named this the second-best hamburger in town, but it's an easy #1 for many. It's only served at lunchtime, so you may find yourself hiding the sandwich and thermos your wife packed in a hedge somewhere.
To balance out the somewhat frou-frou atmosphere at Naha, here's one for the manly-man in us all: 1/2 pound burgers, under $10 topped with anything you want, even if that means a fried egg. You can work out later; why not have the double? In fact, get the fries too. Many folks say that the fries are the best feature but they seem to have experienced some sort of temporary dementia that leads them to forget that they have a half pound egg-topped burger in the other hand. Fries, schmies. The burger is all.
Did you find one to your taste? If not, you're no self-respecting carnivore. Chicago is poised to become the burger capital of the free world, and you can be a part of it.