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South Side Cheap Eats: Scott's Hamburger Heaven

By Chuck Sudo in Food on May 30, 2006 3:00PM

2006_05_scottshh1.jpgScott's Hamburger Heaven is located on the western end of an unforgiving, sun-baked stretch of 35th Street, where only industrial plants and panhandlers thrive. Scott's is a textbook greasy spoon, just the way Chicagoist likes them. They serve breakfast 24/7; the jukebox comes to life, plays that Melissa Etheridge song that sounds like that other Melissa Etheridge song, and you wonder how you got it wrong on the whole "she's a lesbian" thing; the condiment bottles, salt and pepper shakers, and menus are coated with a slight film of grease; a sign at the cash register announces that all orders placed after midnight must be paid for in advance (to prevent mass drunken dine-and-dashing); the television is on mainly to provide background noise; and on hot days like last weekend the air conditioner can't quite keep the restaurant at a comfortable temperature.

But damned if they don't make a good burger. If you walk into a place that calls itself "hamburger heaven" and don't order a hamburger, you deserve to reap the fruits of ignorance.

2006_05_scottshh2.jpgThe burger - listed on the menu as the "one and only" - is fixed quick and perfect. In fact, Chicagoist thinks that ordering the burger took longer than the cooking itself. It's made simple: lettuce, tomatoes, onions (raw or grilled), pickles, and mayonnaise. Cheese and fries are extra. What Chicagoist didn't plan on was seeing a homemade patty in its odd-shaped glory. With the cheese melted atop the misshapen beef, our burger reminded us of a fallout shelter sign. The crispy texture of the shoestring fries made this meal a hillbilly version of steak frites. If Scott's isn't hamburger heaven, it isn't a bad way to spend a few eons in purgatory.

Scott's Hamburger Heaven is located at 1542 W. 35th Street. They're open 24 hours a day. The phone number - for those of you who didn't notice the first photo - is (773) 890-1042.