It’s important to maintain reasonable expectations. You’re not going to lose your sh*t at the bank because they don’t sell dog food, for example. Try to keep this in mind when eating at Son of a Butcher. It’s a neighborhood bar serving some pretty good bar food, and if you don’t expect anything more from it, you’ll probably leave happy.
This place looks and feels like a classic Chicago bar - it’s dark inside, with leather booths and a lot of wood. The space is comfortable, and friendly servers make hanging out here highly enjoyable. But Son of a Butcher also has an extensive food menu, and while some of the things on it are great, others really aren’t. So if you have a long night of drinking ahead of you, prepare by writing the following info on your hand for later.
Like its sister restaurant, Whisk, Son of a Butcher serves a lot of burgers, plus Mexican dishes like tacos and nachos. But unlike Whisk, this is a dinner-only operation (except for weekend brunch, which Chicago law requires all restaurants to serve). If you stick to something involving a hamburger patty, or one of the carbs-covered-in-cheese options (i.e. standard drunk food), you’ll be satisfied. All of the burgers are solid, and options like the Pambazo (with potato and chorizo hash on a guajillo soaked bun) and the Rise and Shine (topped with scrambled eggs and served on French toast) keep things interesting. Equally good are things like nachos, loaded tater tots, and masa steak fries - deep-fried pieces of masa topped with chopped skirt steak, cotija cheese, and guacamole.
But there are definitely dishes you want to avoid, like everything on the “From the Pit” section of the menu. The barbecue here is terrible. Count on fatty brisket, dry wings, and tough ribs covered in a sauce that will remind you of nothing more than a McRib. When it’s a $5 limited edition sandwich, it’s cute, we guess. When it’s a $25 full slab, not so much.
Son of a Butcher is a good neighborhood spot to hit up with a group of friends, on a booze-filled date, or solo (sit at the bar) when you don’t feel like drinking alone with your roommate’s cat. And if you stick to burgers and other bar food classics, you’ll be fine. It’s really all about managing expectations.
The burgers are good, and what you should be eating while here. You can’t go wrong with the Classic, which comes with pork belly and an egg, but feel free to get more creative. The Rise and Shine has scrambled eggs, chorizo, and pepper jack cheese, and is served on two pieces of French toast. If all the alcohol you’ve consumed hasn’t already made you useless, this burger will.
The fries in this dish are (as you might expect from the name) made of masa, and they’re fantastic. They come topped with skirt steak, cotija cheese, and guacamole. We’re fans.
When we see “poblano” and “three cheese sauce” in a description, we expect flavor. This had none. Skip it.
These are perfectly satisfying bar nachos, with a spicy cheese sauce and fresh jalapenos giving them some kick. You can choose the meat (options are brisket, chicken, carnitas, and steak). We like the carnitas.
You should avoid the “From the Pit” section of the menu altogether. If you are going to order something, get the ribs. But the overly sweet sauce will remind you of a McRib. Do with that information what you will.
This is a perfectly fine steak taco. It’s very straightforward - it comes with cheese, pico, and cilantro.
This taco tastes fine, but is a mess to eat - the sauteed shrimp are dressed with a garlic mayo that makes the tortilla disintegrate. So eat fast, or expect it all to end up on your shirt.