Little Bad Wolf

  • Restaurant: Little Bad Wolf
  • Location: 1541 W Bryn Mawr Ave.
  • Website: Little Bad Wolf
Little Bad Wolf Burger Chicago

The Score – Wolf Burger

BaseBurger qualifier50 pts.
BunWhite bun10/10
Meat3 Beef Patties9/10
ToppingsAmerican cheese, onion straws, house-made pickles,
red onion mayo, and a fried egg.
9/10
TasteHuge mouthful of a burger, but incredible flavor!19/20

Overall rating: 97/100 A; EXCELLENT

Burger notes

Little Bad Wolf has been known to have a great burger in Chicago for years, and it’s definitely a must have if you have a huge appetite. While they have smaller burger options, the Wolf Burger with 3 patties is the #burgerporn you see on the internet. This is what burger dreams are made of.

I have had the burger a few times and it has yet to disappoint. Massively delicious, it doesn’t taste overly meaty which was my concern with a 3 patty burger. Usually, the beef would be overwhelming, but the amount of toppings breaks it up nicely and they all work together for an excellent mouth feel.

While I wasn’t always feeling the American cheese on this one, it is a fairly common combo between everything, except the onion straws which gave it a nice crunch. The gooey over-easy egg is the metaphorical icing on the cake here, just bringing the whole thing together.

https://www.littlebadwolfchicago.com/

Supplementary notes

Atmosphere rating: 👍 It’s intimate, and they don’t take reservations, so get here early, or put your name down and wander around Andersonville while you wait. It’s dark yet has an industrial/historic vibe to it that feels semi-luxurious and cozy.

Value: 👍 $20 Definitely pricier, but not totally out of the world given how much meat is on this thing. It’s something to consider splitting with someone, especially because you want to try their Baos as well.

Final thoughts

I would get this burger more often if it weren’t for the long waits most of the time. You could get it to go, but it’s not the same experience and will sour your opinion on this elite burger. It’s worth at least one visit to try this popular burger. Just get there early or be prepared to wait!

Little Bad Wolf Burger

The Region

The Annihilation Burger at The Region in Roscoe Village Chicago

The Score – Single Cheeseburger

BaseBurger qualifier50 pts.
BunWhite bun8/10
Meat7 ounce smashburger patty9/10
ToppingsOnion, Relish, Region sauce9/10
TasteGreat tang, crispy meat, bun starts to falter17/20

Overall rating: 93/100 A-; SUPERB

Burger notes

The Region is only a few years old, but has topped several “Best Burger in Chicago” lists with their unique smash-burger style burgers that are famous in Northwest Indiana.

I have had this burger a few times, including the Annihilation burger pictured above which is for those with a big appetite and a palate to handle the heat! That one does sit a little heavy, but the single cheeseburger is just the right size.

I loved theflavor of this burger and the numerous textures it has between the crispy smash burger patty, the onion/relish, or jalapenos on the annihilation burger. Their famous Region sauce definitely has a solid tang to it, with a subtle sweetness overall. This is definitely not your standard ketchup/mustard, tomato, lettuce burger. No sir!

Supplementary notes

Atmosphere rating: 👍 Curtis, the owner, is super friendly and willing to chat with all the customers. It’s a very personalized interior featuring music/album decor on the walls as well as a Nintendo classic to play!

Value: 👍 $9.95 Along the same lines as some of your fast burger joints, and I would choose The Region every day, especially if I’m looking for something different.

Final thoughts

I will quote from The Region’s website to round out this post:

Each and every one of our hamburgers is made to order and handcrafted to perfection.  We never have and never will use frozen or pre-formed patties and you’ll hear some seductive clings and clanks coming from the kitchen.  The result is a juicy-on-the-inside, crispy-on-the-edges beauty of a burger that extends beyond the confines of its perfectly grilled bun.  Odds are you’ve never seen anything quite like it! 

The Region Burgers website

Gretel

  • Restaurant: Gretel
  • Location: 2833 W Armitage Ave.
  • Website: Gretel

The Score

BaseBurger qualifier50 pts.
BunSesame, buttered and toasted9/10
MeatTwo griddled patties9/10
ToppingsWhite and yellow American cheese,
red onion, garlic aioli, pickles
8/10
TasteA classic, done to perfection16/20

Overall rating: 92/100 A-; SUPERB

Burger notes

Gretel is the newer sister restaurant to Little Bad Wolf in Andersonville and if you know anything about the burger they make there, you know you’re in for a treat at Gretel.

I tried this burger during the pandemic and got it for take-out so this review may be a off from the burger you get when you sit down in the restaurant. The meat was fantastic, and I believe the bun was slightly steamed from being in foil for the ride home. I don’t mind it as it reminds me of a delicious Chicago Bagel Authority steamwich. However, I don’t think I got the real experience of the burger.

The toppings were delicious with the white and yellow cheddar, garlic aioli, and classic red onion and pickles. But I did detect it to be a bit salty throughout which hurt the overall taste and final score. Regardless, it’s a must try (but I would recommend the fried chicken sandwich first!)

Supplementary notes

Atmosphere rating: 👍 Dark and cozy, although I had to receive takeout as I ordered the burger while that was the only option.

Value: 👍 $12 which comes with fries, but bacon and an egg are extra, fairly standard. When I ordered takeout it was $9, but given the cost of having a wait staff and it still only being $12, this is a great value.

Final thoughts

I will try it again at some point as I think Gretel has one of the best fried chicken sandwiches in the city. I will sit down and update this review at that time, but if the in-person experience is better than the takeout, I can highly recommend this as a successful follow up to Little Bad Wolf (a burger that’s hard to top).

The StopAlong

  • Restaurant: The StopAlong
  • Location: 1812 N Milwaukee Ave.
  • Website: The StopAlong

The Score

BaseBurger qualifier50 pts.
BunBrioche, buttered and toasted10/10
MeatSmash burger style9/10
ToppingsAmerican cheese, caramelized onions, lettuce, tomato,
pickles, 1000 island dressing.
10/10
TasteA classic, done to perfection19/20

Overall rating: 97/100 A; EXCELLENT

Burger notes

The StopAlong isn’t your average burger place, even though the burger may at first seem rather simple. They just happen to do it to perfection.

Located just off the 606 Trail in Bucktown, I can’t think of a better afternoon than a walk or bike along the trail and finishing with a solid burger or pizza at The StopAlong. Definitely one of the best smash burgers in the city of Chicago, it just is so spot on, it is highly recommended.

From their website:

The StopAlong is a neighborhood spot for the kid in all of us, offering pizza, burgers, a full bar, and other good stuff, in a fun & friendly environment.

The StopAlong opened in August 2016, providing the neighborhood with a casual, throwback pizzeria and bar just steps from the 606. The playful and nostalgic atmosphere of The StopAlong harkens back to childhood and puts a smile on the face of young and old alike. We serve the best NY-style, thin crust pizza & griddled burgers around. Everything is made from scratch daily using only high-quality, fresh ingredients. We also offer a nice selection of craft (and cheap) beer, wine and cocktails. 

The family-friendly restaurant channels vintage ‘80s and ’90s pop culture throughout the space with bright colors, arcade games, and a collection of retro toys, lunch boxes, and action figures. Comic book style artwork hangs on the walls featuring pop culture characters like Superman and Darth Vader. Classic arcade games like Ms. Pac-Man, Galaga, and Super Mario Bros can be found in the back game room, and Transformers and Ninja Turtles are other frequent character staples in the interior decor.

Supplementary notes

Atmosphere rating: 👍 I love the nostalgic feel of the place. Bright and vibrant, fun throwback toys everywhere, great for a family.

Value: 👍 $12.50 for this size and taste is an awesome deal. A burger shouldn’t be more than $15-20 at the absolute max, and that’s at a fancy-pants places. So to have one of the top burgers at this price is great value.

Final thoughts

If you aren’t a fan of all the crazy burgers with wild toppings at many Chicago restaurants these days, this is definitely something that may be up your alley. With classic ingredients, they totally nail it. Head over there today!

Willow Room

  • Restaurant: Willow Room
  • Location: Lincoln Park, 1800 North Halsted St.
  • Website: Willow Room
Willow Room – Chicago – Lincoln Park

The Score

BaseBurger qualifier50 pts.
BunBrioche10/10
MeatTwo griddled, greasy patties with quality beef9.5/10
ToppingsDijonnaise, pickles, American cheese, red onion9.5/10
TasteAmazing all around and surpassed expectations19/20

Overall rating: 98/100 A+; ELITE

Restaurant & Burger notes

Willow Room is your upscale restaurant/bar in Lincoln Park, with a darker more romantic theme throughout. While the burger is not the center of the menu by any means, it touts one of the best in the city amongst it’s exquisite menu. You can’t go wrong if you’re looking for a date night where you can split an excellent burger alongside lobster ravioli, steak tartare, and even a champagne & fries appetizer!

From their website:

Willow Room is a historic Lincoln Park restaurant & tavern that celebrates great food and a lively bar. Chef Roldan Flynn pairs simple bistro classics with creative inspirations, all prepared with honesty and respect. Combining a lively bar and great food, Willow is meant to be a celebration of our guests, offering a vibrant, stylish experience filled with fun and humor.

This burger is incredible and with a double greasy patty on brioche bun, it’s like biting into a pillowy goodness that you’d think you’d have died and gone to heaven. Our only very picky note was that it could use more crunch although I think they weren’t putting red onion on at the time we first tried it, so that may have been fixed. I guess I’ll just have to give it another try! 😋

Willow Room Exterior – Lincoln Park

Supplementary notes

Atmosphere: Definitely on the dressier side since it’s not a burger place but a more upscale restaurant. Did not feel awkward at all with the four of us getting the same thing 😂
.
Value: 👍🏽 $16 is good for this level of a burger. We were a little bummed that since it was restaurant week, they weren’t offering the Wednesday $15 burger/beer/bourbon special, but perhaps I’ll have to try another Wednesday! Now THAT is a stellar value.

Willow Room burger

Final thoughts

I have come back to this burger several times as I lived nearby, but also it’s one of the elite, underrated burgers in Chicago. It will melt in your mouth and you won’t regret it for a moment. Just be sure to try other items on the menu as well because everything I’ve had there has been phenomenal.

Small Cheval

  • Restaurant: Small Cheval
  • Location: Bucktown, 1732 N Milwaukee Ave.; Old Town 1345 N Wells St.
  • Website: Small Cheval
Small Cheval Burger – Chicago – Bucktown

The Score

BaseBurger qualifier50 pts.
BunBrioche7/10
MeatSeasoned well, a little on the tougher side9/10
ToppingsDijonnaise, pickles, onions, bacon (extra)9/10
TasteGreat quick burger, but not a WOW17/20

Overall rating: 92/100 A-; SUPERB

Burger notes

When Au Cheval hit the burger scene, it created a frenzy in a city that was still growing as a burger Mecca. Even though they are known for many other types of food, the burger was what it became so well known for. To the point where you had to wait 3+ hours for a table to even get a taste of it!

Then came along Small Cheval: a small shack-like structure serving up a slightly smaller version of the real deal at Au Cheval. However, the wait is almost non-existent on most days due to no wait-staff and the fast casual atmosphere. You can walk up to the register, put in your order, and be scarfing down one of the best burgers in Chicago in a matter of minutes.

This buttery goodness features well seasoned beef, a zingy dijonnaise, and a nice crunch from the pickles and red onion. Placed on a soft brioche bun, this burger just melts in your mouth. While it is secondary to the original at Au Cheval, you can save time and money by coming to one of their few locations for a quick, amazing burger and pair it with fries, beer, shakes and draft cocktails.

Small Cheval in Bucktown

Supplementary notes

Atmosphere rating: 👍 Come when the weather is warm to enjoy the outdoor patio. It feels like a picnic in the city with one of the best burger bangs for your buck.

Value: 👍 $10.95 (including the $2 bacon) You can’t argue with this. $11 for a 92 point burger. Because of the fast casual nature of this restaurant and no wait staff, you can get an incredible burger at a solid price.

Final thoughts

Unless someone in my group is dying to go to Au Cheval, most of the time I would choose Small Cheval to save the wait time. Perhaps you can swing by Au Cheval to see what the wait is like and then take the 10-15 minute drive to one of the Small Cheval locations if the wait is too long. Either way, you can’t go wrong!

Kuma’s Corner – The Yob

The Yob Burger Review

  • Restaurant: Kuma’s Corner
  • Location: 2800 W Belmont Ave
  • Website: Kuma’s Corner

The Score

BaseBurger qualifier50 pts.
BunPretzel Bun9/10
MeatMedium rare, thick, good, a little chewy8/10
ToppingsBacon, roasted red pepper, smoked gouda, garlic mayo10/10
TasteAll working together very well, nothing overpowering19/20

Overall rating: 96/100 A; EXCELLENT

Burger notes

Kuma’s Corner is the OG of massive, delicious burgers in Chicago. They’ve been slinging them since 2005, at the original location of Belmont and Francisco. They have since expanded to multiple locations throughout Chicago and the country.

Music notes

Burger notes

Supplementary notes

Atmosphere rating: 👍 Back patio is great in the summertime, but if you prefer the heavy metal, the inside is an experience. It’s not everyone’s cup o’ tea, but it definitely gives this place an unforgettable character.

Value: 👍 Easily worth the cost. Priced right if you go with a normal menu item. The burger of the month (#BOTM) is generally overpriced. It’s rare to have one that’s better than some of my favorite menu items. Stick to the regular menu for the value.

Final thoughts

This place is the original burger joint in Chicago that changed the game. It is my favorite place to get a burger in the city. I think that’s different than saying it’s the best burger in the city. While it’s one of my favorites, I come back for the atmosphere and nostalgia of the burger. I’ve tried every burger on the menu and you can’t really go wrong.