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Hold the Beef: Hackney's Black Bean Bonanza

By John DiGilio in Food on Apr 7, 2011 8:40PM


To highjack a line from Elle Woods, the laws of burger alternatives are simple and finite. A restaurant will either make its own or dress up someone else's. Neither option in and of itself is better than the other. We have had some awesome non-beef burger made from scratch on the premises and have been delighted by a restaurant's presentation of a third-party patty. As any good vegetarian will tell you, it is not the nature of the sandwich but rather the magic ... er, taste (you get the picture) ... inside that counts! It is with that bit of veggie wisdom in mind that we set our finicky tastebuds to take on Hackney's Black Bean Burger.

When it comes to comes to cozy little chains with a neighborhood feel, Hackney's is one of those rare gems that really knows how to treat vegetarians. In fact, they offer 7 entrees specifically designed to please the meat-free crowd. One of those is their signature Black Bean Burger. It is a generously large patty of black beans and other veggies, served on your choice of rolls and piled high with lettuce, tomatoes, and onion. We say "other" because Hackney's is fairly tight-lipped about what else is in their recipe. Then again, it may have been that our server just was not sure. When it comes to dining however, we will take mystery over forgetfulness any day.

We ordered our burger on a pretzel roll, with American cheese and all the fixings. It was a heavy sandwich to lift from the plate and every bite was substantial. It was so substantial that we were full about three-quarters of the way into it. With every chomp, we could see the universe of beans that was weighing that burger down. The bean patty itself was soft and flavorful. We did need to rely on condiments to keep it from being a little too dry. But this happens when your burger is bereft of the fat that keeps its meat-based brethren moist. Regardless, it was tasty and very hard to put down. Sadly, we just could not finish it. The bounty of beans bested our hungry bellies.

Our only complaint with Hackney's Black Bean Burger, and a good one to have, is that it was simply too much. The patty was so big and heavy that it fell apart with every bite. Bean burger was oozing out of our bun from all angles. We took a fork to what landed on the plate, but it did make for a bit of a messy experience. Thankfully, it was a tasty mess. Talk about finger licking good! If you are going to go to Hackney's for one of these burgers, go hungry . . . go very hungry.

Hackney's has six locations in the Chicagoland area.

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