A burger is often greater than the sum of its parts. It’s what you order after a particularly long day, after a lot of drinking, or (as is often the case these days) after both. And while we can’t say that burgers deliver better than, say, pizza, when you’re in the mood for one, nothing else will do. When this is the case, order from any of the 24 places on this guide.
Since Au Cheval has the best burger in the city, we’re delighted to report that it’s available for pickup and delivery. And in keeping with its perennial status as one of Chicago’s biggest pains in the ass, it’s in high demand and can take a few tries to get one. But when the burger is this good, it’s worth it.
The burgers at The Region are ugly, so honestly eating them in your dark apartment where no one can see you isn’t the worst idea in the world. This is due to their unsightly flat patties that extend past the bun - but it’s those very edges that make the burgers here so special. They’re pressed really thin on a flat-top grill, so the meat gets the maximum possible caramelization, but also somehow stays juicy. This burger spot is offering both carryout and delivery, and you can also get turkey and veggie burgers (which aren’t as hideous).
Maillard Tavern has eight burgers on the menu, including the meat-free Impossible burger), and all are available for takeout and delivery. That said, our favorite is the namesake Maillard burger: two 4oz patties on a toasted potato bun, with crispy onions, bacon and onion jam, cheddar, pickles, and a dijon mayo. But perhaps even more importantly, their exceptional skillet cookie is available, too.
Little known fact: this Logan Square bar has an excellent cheeseburger on its menu. It’s pretty straightforward - a double patty Smashburger with griddled onions and a special sauce. It’s the kind of burger you can eat with one hand while you operate the remote, which is very useful right now.
Little Bad Wolf has some of the low-key best burgers in Chicago, and now they’re available for delivery or takeout. You can get their sliders, double cheeseburger, or triple cheeseburger (made with fried onion straws and a fried egg). All are excellent, but the best one is the more manageable double. It has two patties, with just American cheese, pickles, and mayonnaise. This allows the perfectly cooked and well-seasoned meat - a.k.a. the best part of the burgers here - to shine through.
Mott Street’s delicious burger (made with sweet potato frizzles, hoisin aioli, pickled jalapenos, miso butter, and American cheese) used to only be available during brunch, or while eating at the bar. It was kind of annoying, but in retrospect, not nearly as annoying as not being able to leave the house. At least now you can get it anytime, for takeout or delivery.
Like unicorns, leprechauns, and the “runner’s high” people allegedly get while exercising, the Loyalist burger might seem like a myth. That’s because you can only get it as part of a “Cheeseburger Dinner Pop-Up,” which they do a few days a week. It includes their fantastic smash burger (made from a mixture of chuck, short rib, and bacon with gooey cheese and caramelized onions), salad, chips, and a brown-butter chocolate chip cookie.
The Bad Apple
The Bad Apple is known for having creative burgers that actually taste good. You’ll find things like the Elvis’ Last Supper (with housemade peanut butter and bacon), or the Slow Burn, topped with spicy chilis, sauteed onions, bacon, and white cheddar cheese. And now their long list of burgers is available to-go, along with beer and booze.
Acadia is an upscale South Loop restaurant with a seven-course tasting menu that is 100% available for carryout and delivery. So what the hell are we talking about it here for? Because they serve an excellent burger (with gruyere, bacon onion jam, and a truffle mornay) and you can get it for curbside pickup and delivery.
BopnGrill’s four burgers - from the classic to the truffled-mushroom duxelle to the kimchi - are available for delivery or pickup. But be warned, these burgers are sloppy. And since you’ll be eating them in your house, it’s your responsibility to clean up after yourself. In other words, if you’ve ever considered eating a cheeseburger in the shower, now’s the time.
Small Cheval is not Au Cheval, but it’s not trying to be. While the mothership burger is straight-up decadence with its thick bacon and fried egg, the Small Cheval burger is more like the local diner burger. But the bun, meat, cheese, pickles, and dijonnaise still shine, and make it delicious. And now you can order delivery or takeout from the Wells St. and Milwaukee Ave locations. If you don’t want the classic cheeseburger, you can also get the plant-based burger, as well as fries, shakes, wine, and beer.
Edzo’s classic char burgers are what we imagine our grandparents ate in the ’50s, and are available for pickup and delivery. So order from here, and reflect on the fact that if our country got through the era that brought us Joseph McCarthy and the The Donna Reed Show, we can probably get through anything.
The burger is by far the best thing at La Mejikana. It’s a beef burger with a crispy chorizo patty (that we’d take over bacon any day), fried egg, grilled onions, guacamole, chihuahua cheese, and chipotle mayo. Available for takeout and delivery.
Forbidden Root is a brewery that has a great burger. It comes with giardiniera mayo, aged cheddar, onions, and bread-and-butter pickles on a brioche bun. It’s available for pickup and delivery, along with wine, house-brewed beer, and the rest of their food menu.
This Indian restaurant’s burger is called “The Royale with Cheese,” and it’s almost as fun to order out loud as it is to eat. It has aged cheddar, spicy pickles, diced onion, and aioli. And one of the best things about it is that the fluffy bun holds up to the thick patty - which is very important for maintaining integrity during transit.
Not every burger worth ordering needs to have 78 ingredients, or come from a sit-down restaurant. Sometimes you just want a very very good fast-food burger - like what you get at Shake Shack. The River North and West Loop locations are both offering delivery. Make sure to get some crinkle-cut fries, and a concrete too.
Billy Goat Tavern is one of those classic spots that you know about even if you’ve never actually been. Maybe because of Saturday Night Live, or because it’s been open since 1934. So, if it’s been on your “meaning to check out” list, now seems like a pretty good time to do it. Available for takeout and delivery.
BIG & little's
Big and Little’s has a long menu full of upscale fast food - from soft-shelled crab sandwiches to foie gras-topped fries to ahi tuna tacos. They also have a list of very good burgers (like a Hawaiian burger or a gyro burger). Available for pickup and delivery.
Like most steakhouses worth knowing about, RPM has a respectable burger on its menu. It’s a dry-aged steakburger with cheddar, horseradish cream, frizzled onions, and a side of fries. It’s on the pricier side ($20), so consider wearing a tie while eating it, hunched over your coffee table with Judge Judy on in the background.
Gibsons is another steakhouse that also has a very good burger on its menu. It’s charbroiled, and available with cheese, bacon, mushrooms, and sauteed peppers or onions. Get it for curbside pickup, or delivery.
Maple & Ash
Maple & Ash is located right above 8 Bar, a bar that’s owned by the same team. And this Gold Coast steakhouse is offering 8 Bar’s burger (named the Downstairs burger - get it?) for carryout and delivery. It has cheddar, pickles, red onion, and dijonaise, and comes with an order of fries.
Weber Grill Restaurant
Weber Grill is actually delivering full-blown grill-out packs, which include eight raw burger patties, brioche buns, Wisconsin cheddar, and burger seasoning. Six-pack of beer and cast from King of the Hill not included.
Horse Thief Hollow
If you want more options than just beef and beef blends, consider ordering from Horse Thief Hollow. This Beverly spot has a new carryout menu that includes beef, venison, turkey, lamb, and veggie burgers. Get some wine and beer, too.
This Hyde Park spot has a long menu, and some of the best things on it are their burgers. And all of them - from the bacon and blue cheese to the reuben burger - are available for takeout or delivery.
One reason we really like Old Irving Brewing is that they make their own buns. This includes the onion bun that their signature burger (with cheddar, caramelized onions, and charred onion aioli) comes on, along with their pretzel rolls. Also worth noting - they have an Impossible Burger available with vegan cheese, also for curbside pickup and delivery.