The Other Thirty Best Burgers In Chicago

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The Billy Goat burger: we love it, Jeff Ruby doesn't.
The Billy Goat burger: we love it, Jeff Ruby doesn’t. Photo: cshimala/Flickr

Earlier this month we brought you The Chicago Burger Register, our take on the city’s 30 most notable burgers. We won’t be so arrogant as to assume that we gave Chicago Mag the idea (dead-tree media and their long-lead deadlines! Adorable!), but we’re mighty interested to see where our opinions overlap with or differ from those of ChiMag’s Jeff Ruby, who just posted his 30-strong list of “The Best Burgers in Chicago.” Like: we eschewed partisanship in favor of listing the burgers alphabetically, while Ruby unashamedly ranks them by preference. Or: His favorite (also one of ours) is the burger to be found at Northbrook’s Prairie Grass Cafe.

As it happens, out of the two lists of 30 best burgers, we and ChiMag disagree on more than half. We’re a little shocked to note the total absence of the Rosebud Steakhouse burger from Ruby’s list — his corporate compatriot Phil Vettel has, after all, declared it “the city’s best.” The case for it not even being in the top 30 is especially curious since Ruby seems partial to burgers of the bar-and-steakhouse variety, favoring thick patties over the thin-n-crispy style seen at Schoop’s (on our list; not on his). Also notably absent: some of Chicago’s most nationally famous burgers — those from the Billy Goat Tavern, Jury’s, and Sola.

Still, we’re not surprised by how many burgers the two lists don’t share in common — if anything, we’re pleased that Chicago has so many burgers that it can support this kind of opinioneering without becoming repetitive.

Jeff Ruby’s complete list, in order of preference
burgers that don’t overlap with the Grub Street Chicago Burger Register are in bold
1. Prairie Grass Cafe
2. HotChocolate
3. Kuma’s Corner
4. Custom House
5. Marc Burger
6. Naha
7. Abigail’s Bistro
8. Top Notch Beefburgers
9. David Burke’s Primehouse
10. Cortland’s Garage
11. That’s-A-Burger
12. Bull & Bear
13. The Capital Grille
14. Hop Häus
15. District Bar
16. Zak’s Place

17. Duchamp
18. Small Bar
19. Flub a Dub Chub

20. Erwin
21. Cross-Rhodes
22. Nightwood
23. Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab
24. Paradise Pup
25. Yoshi’s Cafe
26. Bin 36

27. Five Guys
28. Moody’s Pub
29. Epic Burger
30. The Assembly

The Best Burgers in Chicago [Chicago Magazine]

The Other Thirty Best Burgers In Chicago