The Feed: Burgers

Got a craving for a certain kind of food? Wilmette-Kenilworth Patch continues it's new series on where to feed your need around town.

Sometimes you get a craving for one type of food, and it almost doesn't matter where you get it. The Feed takes a look at local restaurants that all serve a single food in common with one another. This week The Feed takes a close look at one of America's all time favorite foods, the cheeseburger.

It isn't one of Wilmette's traditional restaurants, but that doesn't stop people from eating there. Even in the off-season, when the club's restaurant is open only for lunch, locals will stop by for modern American food classics, camaraderie and, we can imagine, to stare longingly at a snow covered golf course. The staffer we caught, when we, well...grilled him about the burger situation told us that the best burger in the house was the Vaca burger. "It's a half pound burger with a Mexican flavor," he told Patch. "It has avocado, salsa, pico de gallo and pepperjack cheese." With fries, the hamburguesa deliciosa is $9.75.

Billing itself as "Wilmette's Only Nightlife!" this bar and eatery has been rocking the North Shore for more than 20 years. C.J.'s draws in a crowd with it's policy of never charging a cover and with its menu of better-than-average pub grub. The nightspot even boasts a sandwich called the "Lars Ulwich," created by Lars Ulrich of Metallica. Sadly, the dish is less about existential horror and the darkness of the human condition, than it is about avocados and jack cheese—that may be why Ulrich sticks to drumming. As for the burgers here, there are 14 different varieties, like the Ranchburger with guacamole, swiss cheese and ranch dressing. What really caught our eye was the Breakfast Burger. Filling a vital niche in a burgerless gap, the Breakfast Burger comes with bacon, American cheese and a fried egg on Texas toast. The brilliant finishing touch? It's served with hash browns for $10.

We wrote about this restaurant and it's pizza fairly , and in that piece gently teased them for their out-of-date website, but it looks like they've upgraded! The menu options are now a lot more clearly displayed, revealing options we didn't even know they had, like a vegan pizza and a bevy of sandwiches. As for burgers, this is yet another place in town with interesting options. We count about eight or 9 choices including a veggie burger and a patty melt, but we were instantly drawn to the Monster Burger.' Aptly named, this burger features two patties, either a quarter of a pound apiece, or a half pound apiece, making for a possible massive one pound burger. If that weren't enough, NML also jams in a fried egg, bacon, chili, cheese and two types of hot peppers. The half pound version is $7.99, and the true monster-sized one pound burger is $10.99.

It's...a little scary. When people talk about the Chuck Wagon, they do so with a near religious fervor. Frequent customers say that some of the sandwiches are so good here that they're "sinful," and others say that the fries are "to die for." Yet another goes so far as to say that if God himself came down and asked for a bit of heaven on Earth, the first stop would be the Chuck Wagon. All of that is big talk for what's essentially a mom and pop hot dog eatery. But Chuck Wagon, of course, is much more than that. In business for more than 35 years, this fast food joint catches the attention of both everyday Wilmette residents and serious foodies over at the LTH Forum. The eatery serves up very photogenic sandwiches; chief among them is the Niki Special. The burger justifies the rhapsodizing: it's a hand-formed patty, perfectly cooked to your liking, and topped with gyro meat and melted cheese. The regular price is $5.95, or make it a double for a dollar more. 

Red Sam Rackham February 12, 2011 at 04:10 PM
You're doing a list of great burgers and fail to mention Hackney's? Okay, it's not in Wilmette but is in nearby Glenview!
Bill Burman February 13, 2011 at 04:19 AM
Yep, strictly a Wilmette list here. I guess I'll just have to do one for Glenview too. Thanks, Red.
Bill Wallace February 14, 2011 at 07:44 PM
You overlooked Ridgeview. Irvings (even though it a basic hot dog greasy spoon burger) JP McCarthy's near 4th and Linden...whatever Marie's is called these days in the same neighborhood. Five Guys (a really good burger chain) is about to open or just opened at Edens Plaza. That will be the best burger in town. Baker's Square is another chain...I have not had one of their burgers since the 90's. Just oustide town is Hot Dog Island, Ubaa, Mustards Last Stand, Hackneys and Happ Inn (a really great burger).
Bill Burman February 14, 2011 at 07:54 PM
Hey Bill! Thanks for the thoughtful response. This list was by no means meant to be comprehensive, just a few of the more interesting highlights. I have a few other pieces about burgers on the Skokie Patch site. Take a look!


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