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Why isn't Chicago a GREAT hamburger town?

Why isn't Chicago a GREAT hamburger town?
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  • Post #61 - March 9th, 2007, 11:27 am
    Post #61 - March 9th, 2007, 11:27 am Post #61 - March 9th, 2007, 11:27 am
    I was wrong about foster/lawrence for Jefferson Pump. Following from Metromix:

    "Grealy's/Jefferson Pump
    5001 W. Lawrence Ave.
    773-736-5400

    Current/Upcoming Events

    The sign outside is still the same -- the owners are planning a grand opening in March -- but just about everything else about this former dive has changed. It's now an Irish pub featuring a dark wood interior, full menu and live music.

    Hours: 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Sunday through Friday; 11 a.m.-3 a.m. Saturday"
  • Post #62 - March 11th, 2007, 7:32 pm
    Post #62 - March 11th, 2007, 7:32 pm Post #62 - March 11th, 2007, 7:32 pm
    Image

    Now that's what a hamburger is supposed to look like.

    Image

    Having some free time with one son today, I decided to head for Indiana and pursue the authentic, farm country, fresh-meat handmade hamburger. First stop, and as it turned out the only one I needed (I had Miner-Dunn and Schoop's as backups if my first choice was closed on Sunday), was Rene G and Cathy2's find, Johnsen's Blue Top Drive In in Highland. There's little to add: a deeply satisfying old school burger made of fresh meat and grilled to crispy edges, a wonderful Googie-meets-Wisconsin-hunting-lodge interior, and a darned nice root beer float:

    Image

    Which my companion seemed to like:

    Image

    * * *

    This might seem like a mere restaurant report that more properly belongs in the Johnsen's thread linked above, so let me expand upon it to achieve deeper sociological meanings.

    Burgers must be hot at the moment; we had Time Out's 55 best last week and in this weekend's Wall Street Journal (not available online except to subscribers, alas) the venerable food writer Raymond Sokolov has a roundup in which, the headline promises, he "takes a cross-country, artery-clogging journey to find burger perfection."

    Well, that he took such a journey is undeniable; it doesn't say he found perfection. Sokolov goes all over the map both literally and burgerologically, trying everything from foie gras burgers to In-N-Out, but one gets the sense that after flying to a few major cities (including Chicago) and trying some high end burgers, he had a queasy sensation that all he'd achieved was a stack of three-figure receipts for burgers he hadn't really liked. He passes condemnation on the excesses of the Daniel Bouluds and Laurent Tourondels of New York (and, along the way, on Rosebud here, whose pretzel-like bun he finds overkill):

    I do not love these "gourmet" burgers made by men who wear toques blanches instead of T-shirts. Their fancyburgers are as awkward and condescending as pop songs recorded by opera stars... other chefs around the country grind up precious Kobe beef for burgers that just ooze fat and melt weirdly in your mouth. I don't want truffles either...

    As I ate burgers from coast to coast, I realized that my passion in this area is a simple, id-driven lust. I love a burger just like the burger I got from dear old Dad. Or with him, in a "bar and grille."


    Admirable sentiments; Sokolov is clearly more sensible than his preposterous fellow master of the expense account John Mariani, whose list of great burger joints would undoubtedly include Boulud's truffle burger if not the one at the men's grill at the Raffles in Singapore. One suspects, though, that by this point the budget is dwindling, the deadline is looming, and Sokolov is having to squeeze burgers in on trips to major cities. The map of burger joints he finds something worthy at is bounded by Red Mill Burgers in Seattle and In-N-Out in California on its west end, Primanti Brothers in Pittsburgh and DB Bistro Moderne on its east end, Nick's Tavern in Lemont (!) and Miller's Bar in Dearborn on its north side, and Dirty's in Austin and Ann's Snack Bar in Atlanta (which turns out to be his best in the US) on its Southern edge.

    And in the middle, like a 19th century map of Africa, there appears only a big black spot to indicate unexplored territory. That's right; even Sokolov seems to think he's covered burgers in America while barely visiting the parts of the country in which cattle are actually raised. (He did go to Texas, true, but he visited the most tofu city in the state.) Let me radio a dispatch from Planet Cluestick to the next journalists to write a piece on the best burgers in America: cattle are raised in states with names like Kansas, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Montana, Wyoming, Missouri and, yes, Indiana. You might want to check some of them out and see if they know a thing or two about eating the meat that they raise, though admittedly, they probably don't have any truffles on hand.

    They used 'em up on the last guy's root beer float.

    * * *

    Image

    My companion and I excited a little interest with our picturetaking, our non-smoking, and our general not-from-around-here-ness, and as I snapped a few last shots, one of the guys from the counter was walking through the lot and asked me if I was looking to buy the place. I laughed and explained no, just loved the old time look and feel of these kinds of places. We chatted for a few moments and he expressed some concern-- how much based in actual knowledge, I don't know-- that the Blue Top might not be around forever, given the near-retirement-age proprietors and so on.

    So don't wait for the national media to discover where the great burger joints are. They're in every direction from Chicago, wherever cattle are raised. Get in a car and check them out. You'll be happier than Raymond Sokolov was after a dozen truffle and foie gras burgers from a dozen famous chefs.

    Johnsen's Blue Top Drive In
    8801 Indianapolis Blvd (Route 41)
    Highland IN
    219-838-1233
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  • Post #63 - March 11th, 2007, 9:20 pm
    Post #63 - March 11th, 2007, 9:20 pm Post #63 - March 11th, 2007, 9:20 pm
    One of the best posts I've read. They should thank you when we all go over there to try a great burger.
  • Post #64 - March 12th, 2007, 4:28 am
    Post #64 - March 12th, 2007, 4:28 am Post #64 - March 12th, 2007, 4:28 am
    EvilUs wrote:One of the best posts I've read. They should thank you when we all go over there to try a great burger.

    Evil,

    I've already Mapquested the address, that burger looks quite good.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #65 - March 12th, 2007, 6:39 am
    Post #65 - March 12th, 2007, 6:39 am Post #65 - March 12th, 2007, 6:39 am
    G Wiv,
    When should we go?
  • Post #66 - March 12th, 2007, 10:01 am
    Post #66 - March 12th, 2007, 10:01 am Post #66 - March 12th, 2007, 10:01 am
    Yes, let me know too - schedule probably won't work, but that looks like a good burger and charming place. The bride would enjoy a burger-quest, even if it is not my favorite.

    Nice post, Mike. I get your point even if I do not think what you imply about Sokolov's article is quite to the point. Let me explain.

    In direct response to your criticism, he writes:

    I can't pretend to have sampled every good burger in every Hamburger hamlet and town... So this is a necessarily subjective report on a vast territory...


    In fact, he picked most of the places to support certain narratives and themes. DB to attack the haute cuisine burger; three places to sample the locales that claim to be the origin of the burger; In N Out and McD to comment on the fast food burger; Atlanta, because he thinks it has the best burger that he tried. And my guess is that his territory is more defined by his readership than anything else.

    Most of his burger attention was focused in the end on Detroit, where he enjoyed burgers in Miller's Bar (Dearborn), The Hunter House (Birmingham) and Slow's Bar BQ, which seems to be his favorite. Why Detroit? Cause that is where Ray hails from originally.

    And before you hurry down to Lemont to sample Nick's burger, don't bother. Seems like it was included primarily because it serves a 1lb burger, but Ray found it steamed and without much flavor.

    No surprise that Sokolov's clear definiton of what a perfect burger should be warmed my heart, I suppose. He rejects deconstructing the burger, insisting it should be enjoyed in its entirety, sensible tho I do not entirely agree, then goes on to say it should be made of chuck, thick enough to char while keeping moist within, with a lightly toasted sesame bun.

    I wonder, then, if the headline, The Best Burger and the accompanying map do not misprepresent his intentions (which seems pretty standard for the WSJ) - his attempt may have been more to define the best burger and sample some burgers to support that discussion than to claim which burger is the best in the country.

    But for the record, his preferred burger is from Ann's Snack Bar in Atlanta. 1615 Memorial Drive, 404-687-9207.

    Anyone been there?
    d
    Feeling (south) loopy
  • Post #67 - March 12th, 2007, 10:30 am
    Post #67 - March 12th, 2007, 10:30 am Post #67 - March 12th, 2007, 10:30 am
    True, I simplified his narrative rather than summarize the whole piece in detail-- and I did mean to convey that I don't think it's a bad piece, certainly more down to earth than the types who if you asked them for a great PB&J sandwich would start by examining the menus at Rules and Taillevent. My uber-point, though, is that so much food writing focuses on a few major cities with major airports-- which makes a lot of sense if you're looking for haute cuisine, less if you're looking for humble food; thirty years on the Sterns still stand out for actually looking for ordinary American food in, you know, America.

    Anyway, anyone who wants the real antidote to that approach should get Edge's book, which is full of interesting burgers from non-major cities. Even if he did skip Kansas....
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  • Post #68 - March 12th, 2007, 11:03 am
    Post #68 - March 12th, 2007, 11:03 am Post #68 - March 12th, 2007, 11:03 am
    Hi,

    Yesterday, Rene G and I were also driving out and about in NW Indiana.

    We had lunch at Three Floyds Brewing Co and Brewpub. As we were preparing to leave, I saw someone's getting served a really great looking hamburger. Their menu advises it is the "Royale with Cheese: 1/2 pound Black Angus sirloin burger on brioche, with choice of cheddar, stilton or muenster cheeses. If I had seen it first, it might have derailed my lunch selections.

    Three Floyds does not give brewery tours on Sundays despite what the automatic answering system stated.

    Three Floyds Brewing Co and Brewpub
    9750 Indiana Parkway
    Munster, Indiana 46321
    219/922-4425
    www.ThreeFloydsPub.com
    www.ThreeFloyds.com
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #69 - March 12th, 2007, 11:08 am
    Post #69 - March 12th, 2007, 11:08 am Post #69 - March 12th, 2007, 11:08 am
    And I agree with that point completely - the best food is often off the beaten path and mostly neglected by food writers.

    But I feared your post gives the impression that Sokolov's approach is similar to that if the NYT reviewers. What I like about Sokolov's writing, in stark contrast with a lot of the stuff in the New York Times, is that he does not say explicitly or implicitly: "We know the best stuff can all be found in New York City, or Westchester County if you must. But in August when you need to get out of town here is the best you can hope to find elsewhere."

    He says, "Here is what I think a good burger is and here are a few places I found that had some decent ones, and by the way, here are some thoughts about burgers and their history you might find interesting.

    It is akin to the attitude of the WSJ wine reviewers who say that the wines they taste are just the wines they found at the store and tasted, your preferences will differ and you probably will not be able to find the same wines anyway, so don't worry about it, but we did try enough to get a sense of the general quality of the [fill in the blanks] currently available in stores.

    I really like this rather low-keyed editorial approach, as well as the depth of information provided.
    d
    Feeling (south) loopy
  • Post #70 - March 12th, 2007, 11:17 am
    Post #70 - March 12th, 2007, 11:17 am Post #70 - March 12th, 2007, 11:17 am
    AlexG wrote:And oh for the day Five Guys continues its expansion and makes it to Chicago. Pittsburgh is the closest current location.


    AMEN! I had a Five Guy's Burger and Fries right down the street from work back in CT. It is a great quick food (i.e. NOT fast food) option. Burgers always made from fresh meat, bacon is deep fried, cajun fries actually had seasoning, and lastly but definatly not least, they had red birtch beer! On of the oddest things is that their dogs were more like a CT style dog than anything else, split with cheese and either bacon or chile in them, and they are a Mid-Atlantic chain. While it is a far more substantial burger than a diner style sammy, it is still a gloriously greesy meal.
  • Post #71 - March 12th, 2007, 12:05 pm
    Post #71 - March 12th, 2007, 12:05 pm Post #71 - March 12th, 2007, 12:05 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:Hi,

    Yesterday, Rene G and I were also driving out and about in NW Indiana.

    We had lunch at Three Floyds Brewing Co and Brewpub. As we were preparing to leave, I saw someone's getting served a really great looking hamburger. Their menu advises it is the "Royale with Cheese: 1/2 pound Black Angus sirloin burger on brioche, with choice of cheddar, stilton or muenster cheeses. If I had seen it first, it might have derailed my lunch selections.

    Three Floyds does not give brewery tours on Sundays despite what the automatic answering system stated.

    Three Floyds Brewing Co and Brewpub
    9750 Indiana Parkway
    Munster, Indiana 46321
    219/922-4425
    www.ThreeFloydsPub.com
    www.ThreeFloyds.com


    So what did you have there? And how was it?
  • Post #72 - March 12th, 2007, 2:08 pm
    Post #72 - March 12th, 2007, 2:08 pm Post #72 - March 12th, 2007, 2:08 pm
    Mike G wrote:Now that's what a hamburger is supposed to look like.


    Yes, and on those increasingly rare occasions when I don't give a whit about the provenance and purity of my ground meat, I suppose that too is what a burger is supposed to taste like.*

    At any rate, the place is truly a treasure.

    Just be sure to stay away from the dogs:

    Image
    photo - 01.27.07

    E.M.

    * Blue Top's burger reminds me of a childhood favourite, the Prince Castle burger.
  • Post #73 - March 15th, 2007, 4:55 pm
    Post #73 - March 15th, 2007, 4:55 pm Post #73 - March 15th, 2007, 4:55 pm
    Give me a Schoop's Mickey and life is good.

    I don't understand the Billy Goat thing, a huge keiser roll with a small patty, I have had veggie burgers with more meat :D

    I am glad no one mentioned Hamburger Mary's, was the worst burger experience of my life.
  • Post #74 - March 16th, 2007, 1:29 pm
    Post #74 - March 16th, 2007, 1:29 pm Post #74 - March 16th, 2007, 1:29 pm
    Mike G wrote:We chatted for a few moments and he expressed some concern-- how much based in actual knowledge, I don't know-- that the Blue Top might not be around forever, given the near-retirement-age proprietors and so on.


    Your comments on White Palace just reminded me: Blue Top does have preservation status. It may disapeer but it isn't going to be fast nor easy.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #75 - March 16th, 2007, 1:58 pm
    Post #75 - March 16th, 2007, 1:58 pm Post #75 - March 16th, 2007, 1:58 pm
    jones-n wrote:Give me a Schoop's Mickey and life is good.


    I'm with you, except that I find their buns to be insipid pieces of white bread-like crap and not very good unless you insist on getting it toasted. And when I say insist I mean insist, because if you simply ask you've only got a 50-50 shot at actually getting a toasted bun delivered to your table.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #76 - March 18th, 2007, 5:50 am
    Post #76 - March 18th, 2007, 5:50 am Post #76 - March 18th, 2007, 5:50 am
    re schoop's...

    does anyone else remember their lone outpost at the corner of irving and lincoln, some (sheesh) two decades, or so ago?

    it didn't last long and wasn't quite up to indiana standards, but it sure was a tasty alternative to the chicago burger scene.
  • Post #77 - March 18th, 2007, 6:59 am
    Post #77 - March 18th, 2007, 6:59 am Post #77 - March 18th, 2007, 6:59 am
    jellobee wrote:re schoop's...

    does anyone else remember their lone outpost at the corner of irving and lincoln, some (sheesh) two decades, or so ago?

    it didn't last long and wasn't quite up to indiana standards, but it sure was a tasty alternative to the chicago burger scene.


    Yep. The Michigan born Chow Poodle insisted that we beat a path to their door as soon as it opened. You're right, it wasn't as good as other Shoops that I have been to. That location is a Blockbuster now.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #78 - March 25th, 2007, 2:03 pm
    Post #78 - March 25th, 2007, 2:03 pm Post #78 - March 25th, 2007, 2:03 pm
    EvilUs wrote:
    Cathy2 wrote:We had lunch at Three Floyds Brewing Co and Brewpub.

    So what did you have there? And how was it?

    We tried a pork schnitzel sandwich with red cabbage on a pretzel roll, a Scotch egg, and smoked brisket chili. I thought the sandwich and egg were both good, definitely better than the usual cookie-cutter brewpub menu items. I didn't care as much for the underseasoned, overly-tomatoey chili. A pint of Brian Boru, an Irish Red overhopped in the usual Three Floyd's fashion, was very nice indeed. They serve a few 3F brews I wasn't familiar with plus a well chosen selection of guest beers. I liked the brewpub a lot and would visit often if only it was closer.

    Image

    Image
  • Post #79 - March 27th, 2007, 6:12 pm
    Post #79 - March 27th, 2007, 6:12 pm Post #79 - March 27th, 2007, 6:12 pm
    are there ANY great 'hamburger towns'?

    American beef, has gone the way of the supermarket tomato.

    sure... anyone can griddle 'em up in a bath of flavorful trans fatty grease, or shower them with chem-farm seasonings and/or char-broil them into a (past) post-mortem state of flavorful rigor mortis.

    dustbowl memories aside...

    what 'you' lament today... is at least forty years removed, from ANYONE'S fond recollections.
  • Post #80 - March 27th, 2007, 7:00 pm
    Post #80 - March 27th, 2007, 7:00 pm Post #80 - March 27th, 2007, 7:00 pm
    jellobee wrote:are there ANY great 'hamburger towns'?


    L.A.

    Oh yeah.
    Dominic Armato
    Dining Critic
    The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com
  • Post #81 - February 10th, 2008, 4:55 pm
    Post #81 - February 10th, 2008, 4:55 pm Post #81 - February 10th, 2008, 4:55 pm
    Earthshattering South Side Hamburger Discovery

    I did not expect to be compelled to add an addendum to this thread, or any thread, when I accompanied Pigmon and Rene G on an expedition through the south side for a project on which they will post in due course. However, along the way we made a south side hamburger discovery of such momentous importance that when the history of hamburgers in Chicago is written, this day will rate an entire chapter, with footnotes and glossary.

    Image

    As Huysmans said of his foray into Satanism, "thus did the Devil with his hooked claw draw me back toward the Cross," and so too did our hamburger discovery begin with that storied, if not exactly gloried, antithesis of the conceptually tight and composed hamburger, the gloppy, gutbomby Mother-In-Law. It takes nothing away from Rene G's justly-admired research on that bargain-priced regional foodstuff to note that it is interesting in every way... except as something you'd actually want to eat. So considering the other fine things we'd already sampled that day, including doughnuts and two separate versions of chicken and waffles, the idea of stopping for one at a place called Leo's did not rank high on my list. Nevertheless, we indulged Rene G as he told us that Leo's was an old M-i-L place which had long been on 51st street until its recent move much further south.

    Image

    As we went in I was more impressed by signs saying that a local TV station had declared Leo's the best hamburger in town. Rene reminded us that that was the result of the TV station visiting only places that declared themselves the best at something. Nevertheless, I was intrigued by the claim that Leo's made their burgers from fresh meat, not a frozen burger puck, and so I ordered one while Rene quizzed the guy in charge about M-i-Ls, which he proved to be quite knowledgable about, having started working at Leo's around 1970 (when he must have been still in his teens). (There's an old thread which references this place here. On 51st it seems to have been called Leo's Castle, but it's definitely Leo's Beef now, same as the one in Alsip-- and the guy in charge confirmed that this was the same business as was formerly on 51st.)

    Image

    How was the burger? Well, I don't know about best in Chicago. But it was a very respectable burger, well-balanced assortment of toppings that didn't overwhelm the meat (as happens so often at "Greek" burger places, where you get a huge hunk of lettuce and half a tomato and a dozen pickle slices and so on). As for the mother-in-law... when Pigmon finished it he looked at me and said, "You think less of me now, don't you."

    Image

    Being still in burger mode, despite having now finished our fourth meal of the afternoon, Rene then called our attention back to another sign we had observed on the way south, one proclaiming "Handmade Burgers." Now I knew we had to go and try them; that two places serving fresh beef were extant on the black south side, when such hardly exist at all in the Chicago area, and only on the far white south suburban side (e.g. Top-Notch in Beverly or the Schoop's just this side of Indiana in Calumet City), was a momentous discovery that stood ready to shake the very foundations of the paradigm discussed earlier in this thread, by which freshmade burgers are a product of predominantly white midwest beef-raising farm culture, while black rural culture in this area, of course, comes from the South and manifests itself in pork, chicken and catfish. Yet here was a business, proudly declaring itself black-owned in the window, nevertheless every bit as dedicated to fresh-made beef burgers as any Indiana or Kansas or Oklahoma drive-in-- and what's more, calling attention to the fact in a way that strongly implied that it had reason to believe that predominantly black customers would have a preference for freshmade hamburgers, too. For all the historical racial divides between the far south side white and black populations, it seemed that here, on the subject of fresh burger meat, was where they came together.

    Image

    Excitedly we went inside and perused the menu, a black customer asking if he could go ahead while we considered our options. "Best burgers in town," he said as we pondered. There were various enticing options-- the Hip Hot burger with jalapenos, for one-- but we settled on a classically simple burger with the holy quartet of mustard, ketchup, pickle and onion.

    Image

    5 oz. balls of meat were set on the grill and mashed into shape. We were asked if we wanted something on our fries; we didn't really care about fries so Rene G said "mild sauce."

    Image

    About ten minutes later we got our burger (seen here with the owners). When we saw that the fries were fresh-cut, we were a little sorry we'd asked for them to be drenched in sauce, though we were less sorry when we actually tasted the sauce, which wasn't the sticky-sweet Chicago BBQ sauce you might have expected but had some vinegary bite to it, and would do genuine credit to any barbecue joint that chose to offer it.

    Image

    Another shot of the burger, showing the rough edges of the genuine freshmade patty:

    Image

    Going into Hand-Burgers was a bit of a lark at the end of a long day but after only a few bites we were looking at each other with the knowing yet hesitant look that says, "Are you tasting what I'm tasting, a great burger and fries when I'm already too stuffed to eat, let alone like, another bite?" A few nods back and forth and we were ready to say it: Hand-Burgers is an important discovery, a rare-in-Chicago place run by committed, hands-on owners with a vision of what the hamburger should be and the commitment to serve it up right for the dirt cheap price of $2.75, very good freshcut fries included. I hesitate ever to call something the "best burger in Chicago" because there are so many different kinds out there, but I'd be hard pressed to think of a serious rival for the best burger in town at this price point, which after all is a full $2 less than even a modest place like Top-Notch (which, if forced at gunpoint to name one, would probably be my choice). If even that is not enough to get you to 113th and Halsted for a cheeseburger, let me remind you that Old-Fashioned Donuts is barely three minutes away. A shot down the Dan Ryan to grab Saturday lunch at Hand-Burgers and an apple fritter for Sunday breakfast at Old-Fashioned is one of the most profitable uses of an hour and a half and a $5 bill I can imagine in Chicago.

    Leo's Beef
    734 W. 111th
    (773) 285-9133

    Hand-Burgers
    11322 S. Halsted St.
    773-468-4444
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  • Post #82 - February 10th, 2008, 5:31 pm
    Post #82 - February 10th, 2008, 5:31 pm Post #82 - February 10th, 2008, 5:31 pm
    Earthshattering South Side Hamburger Discovery


    Thank you for a promise kept in your title. If it wasn't so dang cold today, then I might be tempted to jump into the car.

    It almost deserves a thread of its own.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #83 - February 10th, 2008, 5:55 pm
    Post #83 - February 10th, 2008, 5:55 pm Post #83 - February 10th, 2008, 5:55 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:If it wasn't so dang cold today, then I might be tempted to jump into the car.

    Just in case anyone else has similar ideas, let me mention that Hand-Burgers is closed on Sunday.

    Hand-Burgers
    11322 S Halsted St
    Chicago
    773-468-4444
    Mon-Sat 11-7
  • Post #84 - February 10th, 2008, 5:55 pm
    Post #84 - February 10th, 2008, 5:55 pm Post #84 - February 10th, 2008, 5:55 pm
    Closed Sunday.

    Also note, "everything" includes lettuce, tomato, and mayo. I strongly urge going minimalist with KMOP, on the straight burger. You're on your own with any of the other creations.
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  • Post #85 - February 10th, 2008, 8:25 pm
    Post #85 - February 10th, 2008, 8:25 pm Post #85 - February 10th, 2008, 8:25 pm
    Good post on a good place! I prefer That's-A-Burger personally (the patty is looser and crisper around the edges), but have only had one Hand-Burger, so a revisit and more data points are needed, and this is enough to revive my interest.
  • Post #86 - February 10th, 2008, 10:09 pm
    Post #86 - February 10th, 2008, 10:09 pm Post #86 - February 10th, 2008, 10:09 pm
    Excuse me, did you not read the words "momentous discovery"? Did you not read how this day will go down in Chicago culinary history? How can that be if someone has been there before? C'est impossible! C'est une absurdité.
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  • Post #87 - February 11th, 2008, 9:48 am
    Post #87 - February 11th, 2008, 9:48 am Post #87 - February 11th, 2008, 9:48 am
    Now, that just made my achingly cold day...I can't wait to try out Hand Burgers, and less than 2 miles away. Might have to have a really big lunch one of these days and stack a Hand-Burger up against a Top Notch burger. Also, nice to see that the Hand-Burger seems to be a pretty good value as well. Thanks for the find!
  • Post #88 - February 11th, 2008, 2:21 pm
    Post #88 - February 11th, 2008, 2:21 pm Post #88 - February 11th, 2008, 2:21 pm
    Is there no love for Fuddruckers?
  • Post #89 - February 11th, 2008, 3:13 pm
    Post #89 - February 11th, 2008, 3:13 pm Post #89 - February 11th, 2008, 3:13 pm
    Seeing the activity on this thread over the past few days has really made my body ache for a properly made cheeseburger. Or else it was the mild fever and tonsils so swollen that they were touching, morphed into one tonsil. That latter fact was probably the cause of my aching, but I nonetheless wanted a decent burger. I don't often have this craving, as my predilections tend toward our east-asian neighbors. I had to wait this craving out, as I couldn't swallow for the past few days, darnit. But, alas, Amoxicillin is a glorious thing, in moderation.

    Anyhow, I made my way to Cross Rhodes in Evanston today, a short walk from my office. I'm surprised it hasn't been mentioned here, yet. These Charburgers are top-notch in my book. Hand made, charred, properly cooked to order, and a fine half-pound slab-o-meat. Lettuce, raw onion, tomato and pickle spear on the side. I do regret not having a camera with me - I promise to return soon for pics if anyone doubts my sincerity.

    Below my Charburger this day were greek fries. One could order rice, or dry fries... but don't bother. The greek fries are well fried potatoes that are super crispy, and then lightly covered with a bit of greek salad dressing - essentially a mix of what I believe to be olive oil and red wine vinegar. You might think that this would make the fries soggy. Nope. They're still crispy on the outside, but the inside is soft, almost a mashed potato consistency. Go ahead - imagine mashed potatoes inside a container of a crispy potato. Mmmmm.

    Sidenote: These fries remind me of how I would eat Girl Scout Thin Mints cookies. I'd nibble just a portion of the outer covering, then I'd dunk it in milk. The inside cookie would absorb the milk. Then, biting into the cookie, the outside shell would be crispy and the inside would be milk-soaked cookie yumminess.

    Anyhow... I digress. I do think Cross Rhodes also has a real fine hamburger.

    Cross Rhodes
    913 Chicago Ave.
    Evanston
    Did you know there is an LTHforum Flickr group? I just found it...
  • Post #90 - February 16th, 2008, 9:41 pm
    Post #90 - February 16th, 2008, 9:41 pm Post #90 - February 16th, 2008, 9:41 pm
    Hi,

    I had lunch today at Hand-Burgers today. I had the single hamburger with Mike G's recommended dressings of grilled onions, ketchup, mustard and pickles. Was it the very best burger of my whole entire life? No, though it was an honest, straight forward rendition of hand formed burger on a toasted bun. I had the fries with the medium sauce on the side and a Hawaiian Punch. When I asked for a glass with ice, they gave me a real glass and ice cubes from the freezer. They were very accomodating offering something they were not really prepared to offer.

    Thanks guys for recommending this place.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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