Margarita Challenger got her start in the restaurant business running a counter service spot called Holy Guacamole in Glencoe, just across the Kenilworth border. When she decided to transform her concept into in 2008, she kept the space and used it to open with her husband, Mark, in 2011.
Margarita chose the name while thinking of the heights that her business could reach and turned it into the theme for the décor. The space features a mix of exposed brick and paintings of mountains and a stone facade reminiscent of a peak. Walls are lined with old-fashioned ski equipment and Christmas lights dangle from the rafters. The blue booths feature patterning reminiscent of a mountain. Music from Bob Dylan helps add to the mellow feel.
After a year in business she decided it was time for a change. Everest Burger was previously counter service only and while you can still order something to go or grab a ready-made salad or soup if you’re in a real hurry, the restaurant now offers table service. Our server was very nice, happy to make recommendations and tell us what was popular.
The Challengers also changed their beef supplier, moving away from a leaner patty to juicy and hearty grass-fed Angus beef that’s free of hormones, antibiotics or additives. The result is a menu filled with messy, massive burgers. One of the most popular dishes is the chimichurri burger, where the beef is cooked with cilantro, cloves and oregano. It’s topped with a heaping portion of crispy cabbage, a slice of mild cheddar and a creamy lightly spicy sauce. The flavor was quite good but I was disappointed that it came out more medium than the medium-rare I had requested.
We also tried the Glencoe burger, which features avocado spread, lettuce, tomato, red onions, arugula and olive oil mayo. Instead of beef we opted for the walnut burger, one of several alternatives including turkey, black bean, portabella mushrooms and wild salmon. Margarita’s invention mixes the nuts with brown rice, forming a patty reminiscent of couscous. It tastes great, but has such an overwhelming flavor it was hard to appreciate the toppings.
Every burger comes with a side and we opted for the Cajun and sweet potato fries. Both were quite good, with the sweet potatoes thin and crispy while the Cajun fries got a good kick from the covering of seasoning. Adding to the general theme of classic food done healthy, the restaurant also offers a large selection of organic soft drinks and unsweetened iced teas.
An oddity among burger joints, Everest Burger doubles as a bakery. A case of desserts displays the enticing treats including a variety of cookies and cupcakes. We were full from our burgers and fries but got persuaded to take a slice of tres leches cake to go and I was happy we did. The light cake is saturated with milk without being soggy and the slices of strawberries it’s served with nicely contrasts with the sweetness.
Burgers aren’t the bar food they used to be, with a more food-conscious public looking out for food that tastes better and is better for you. If you’re looking for meal that fits both those qualifications, head to Everest Burger.
For more restaurant reviews follow us on Facebook.