Celebrate National Burger Month in Steakhouse Style
Chicago is a burger-loving city. From high-end restaurants with exceptional bar menus to steakhouses and fast-casual standbys, quality burgers can be found in every corner of the city, especially at steakhouses. With May being National Burger Month, it’s an apt time to round up some of the best steakhouse burgers across a wide spectrum of dining styles.
The Grillroom Chophouse & Wine Bar: One of the most underrated steakhouses in Chicago is also home to one of the most underrated burgers in the city. The Grillroom burger is divine in its simplicity, with just enough flair and decadence to nudge it over the top. That’s all thanks to the unabashedly hearty pretzel bun and the double-cut pork belly resting atop the succulent beef patty, alongside blue cheese, lettuce and tomato.
Sam and Harry’s: The best way to gild the lily during lunch at Sam and Harry’s is by crowning your burger with a fried egg. Or even better, a fried egg and bacon, giving the Angus burger a distinct breakfast touch. It’s a highlight of the midday menu, which features a beefy burger heaped with lettuce, onions, tomato and choice of cheese (Swiss, blue or cheddar) atop a buttery brioche bun.
Chicago Prime Steakhouse: Elsewhere in Schaumburg, Chicago Prime Steakhouse is a burger Mecca in and of itself. The lengthy, eclectic menu features the iconic Americana creation in two different forms: sliders and prime. The mini burgers come three to an order, served with onion straws and three different “crusts”: Cajun, maple-horseradish and Gorgonzola. Then there’s the Chicago prime burger, which can be ordered fairly classic, or “Oscar-style” with a portion of crab and bearnaise sauce on top.
STK: If it's a daintier burger you're after, you won't do any better than the famous "lil' BRGs" at STK. One of the most renowned items on the menu at this national chain of sexy, sociable steakhouses, the slider burgers are fan favorites for good reason. They may be tiny, but they pack a sizable punch of flavor, thanks to the use of Wagyu beef, "special" sauce, and pillowy, buttery sesame seed buns. For additional cost, you can add truffles and/or foie gras.
Rosebud Steakhouse: It can be hard to resist the Italian specialties here, especially the lunchtime sandwiches like eggplant Parmesan and that mighty meatball sub. But Rosebud’s rendition of the all-American burger holds its own. The key is in the butter bun, which boasts a pleasant chew, mild sweetness and richness that compliments the 12-oz. beef patty just so. It’s capped off with refreshing additions of lettuce, tomato, red onion and a pickle.
Tavern on Rush: Utilizing the same cuts of meat on-hand for steak preparations, Tavern on Rush offers a handful of different burger options, all of them exceptional. These things are big and juicy, but no so much that you need to unhinge your jaw to chew it, which is always nice. The prime steak burger features a blend of short rib, brisket, and chuck, while the rib-eye version comes with caramelized onions, mushroom, fontina, and chipotle mayo. There's also an Angus burger, along with a vegan option and a housemade turkey burger, which isn't bad either. Tavern has also been known to add seasonal burger specials to the menu, like bison burgers with Cabernet onions and black cherry jam.
Harry Caray's Italian Steakhouse: The aptly named "steakhouse burgers" at Harry Caray's are what you need when your next burger craving hits. The sheer inventive variety is enough to appease a burger fanatic, let alone the incomparable flavor and unique combination of ingredients. The signature "Holy Cow!" burger contains a 10-oz. sirloin patty outfitted with candied bacon, five-year Gouda, lettuce, Harry's steak sauce, and a brioche bun. Or you can go exotic with the Spicy Thai burger, featuring a grass-fed patty along with pickled carrots, radishes, fresh jalapeno, cilantro, Sriracha mayo, and a brioche bun. The Wagyu burger is great too, since it sort of resembles and tastes like steak au poivre, what with its peppercorn crust, Brandy, Gorgonzola, and watercress, all heaped on a chewy pretzel roll.
Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab: There should be an addendum at the end of this restaurant's name, because the classic cheeseburger at Joe's is equally deserving of tentpole status along with those stone crabs and steaks. It may seem basic, but it's the all-American nostalgia and the refreshing simplicity that sets this burger apart. It's one of the best versions of the classic Americana burger we've had the pleasure of tasting, featuring a time-tested formula of beef patty, shredded lettuce, thick beefsteak tomato, onions, and a side of fries.