First Look: Butcher and the Burger
By Molly Durham in Food on Oct 28, 2011 3:00PM
Many people likely don't want to think about their meat being butchered while they're eating it. Even if you're not a veggie, it's a disturbing idea. But the newly opened burger counter Butcher & the Burger shoves the idea in your face.
This burger joint from chef Al Sternweiler has been in production for what seems like forever. After several rumors of opening dates in the past few months, the doors finally opened Tuesday. It's half burger shop, half old-fashioned butcher. Their cut-in-house meats are available in burgers but also can be brought home in patties, specific cuts or by the pound for home cooking.
One corner of the place looks like a torture chamber, with what looks like slaughtering equipment and hooks dangling. Ok, we get it- slicing and dicing of animals happens here. The interior is wood-heavy with several vintage fixtures. In stark contrast with the wood interior, employees were taking orders on iPads while people wait in line. This was 1) cool, and 2) could possibly reduce wait times if they get the procedure down pat.
The wait wasn't long for our custom burger. We got the grass-fed sirloin on a pretzel bun with simple spice mix, cheddar cheese, griddled onion, lettuce, tomato, Dijon mustard and truffle mayo. It's juicy. It's the kind of burger where juice will fly everywhere. Burger on your shirt. But if it's as delicious as these, it's worth it, right? It was also huge without being the jaw-unhinging, too-tall-for biting kind.
While the menu is (appropriately) burger-heavy, meaty sandwiches aren't their only offering. Their breakfast menu includes beignets, breakfast sandwiches and Cafe du Monde coffee. Burgers will be available during that time too, with a complimentary fried egg on any. We'd be lying if we said we've never craved a burger at breakfast time, so this sounds pretty great.
Our only suggestion? Serve beer to wash down the burgers. (UPDATE: The restaurant IS BYOB, but they unfortunately can't get a liquor license because they are too close to a church. Oh well.) Still, we're looking forward to going back and trying other burger combinations, as well as breakfast. Make sure to go to their website and join their mailing list to get a coupon for free fries when you visit during their first month, which also includes a charitable promotion. Their name may sound like a few other new Chicago eateries (The Burger Joint, Burger Joint, Grange Hall Burger Bar), but so far we're looking forward to seeing how (and if) they stand out from the rest.
Butcher & the Burger is located at 1021 W. Armitage Ave. Check out the full menu below.