The 9 Best Veggie Burgers In Chicago
By Lisa White in Best Of on Jul 22, 2015 8:00PM
As much as we love a big hunk of beef here at Chicagoist, sometimes meat-free is the way to be. Whether you’re looking for simply a lighter option or just choose not to eat meat, the days of sad, packaged soy patties for your burger option are long gone in the world of meatless “meat.” Veggies, mushrooms, grains and spices are topped with all sorts of delicious options to offer up flavorful, creative alternatives between buns.
Today we share some of our favorite veggie burgers around Chicago. So grab some fries, a shake and dig on in!
Sliders at Mana Food Bar
Four years after renouncing vegetarianism one snowy morning over brunch at The Publican, I haven’t looked back. And yet, Mana Food Bar is still one of my favorite places to grab dinner with friends (and not just the vegan ones). Mana's menu is filled with small plates that are always delicious, but sometimes tough to evenly share. That’s why the sliders are my go-to and I usually insist we order at least one (if not two) for everyone at the table. Their house-made patty with brown rice and mushrooms is served on a soft bun with a crazy-good spicy mayo and a side of delicate pickles—and usually gone in a few bites. Even if beef sliders were on the menu, I’d have to order one of these every time. —Gina Provenzano
Mana Food Bar is located at 1742 W. Division St.
The Bad Apple
The Bad Apple has some of my favorite burgers in the city, full of creative options and offered up with one of the better beer lists as well. Their meat-free option even gets the stamp of approval from rapper, spoken word artist and vegetarian Sage Francis. Francis collaborated with the Lincoln Square restaurant on the Strange Famous burger, a house-made seitan, chickpea, corn and wild mushroom burger topped with red onion, sage (of course) marmalade, goat cheese and spinach. Upgrade your fries to truffle fries for a little extra to add even more funky, earthy flavor to this umami bomb of a burger. — Lisa White
The Bad Apple is located at 4300 N. Lincoln Ave.
Veggie Burger at Dunlays on the Square
The homemade veggie burger at Dunlays on the Square in the heart of Logan Square is a wholly satisfying patty of deliciousness. Made in-house with rice, walnuts and sweet potatoes laced with the perfect edition of soy sauce in the patty, this burger is further complemented with jalapeno mayo. On Mondays, the veggie burgers (and turkey burgers, too, if you're dining with a meat eater) are half price, making Dunlays a great destination to munch away your Monday blues and get amped up to finish the week full-force with veggie power. As an added bonus, their award-winning Bloody Mary (get it without the meat garnish if you're a vegetarian) is an excellent companion to this veggie burger, chock-full of both veggies and spice. —Carrie McGath
Dunlays On the Square is located at 3137 W. Logan Blvd.
Black Bean Burger at Parts and Labor
Parts & Labor keep it simple with their straightforward menu but make sure you don’t overlook their black bean burger when ordering up your combo at this Logan Square neighborhood favorite. Their spicy, thin-griddled black bean patties are served up extra crisp, adding a nice texture and crunch. Top it with cheese if you eat dairy to add an extra richness to your burger. You can also sub in the black bean burger for meat in the combo deal and enjoy it with a side of fries and a beer or shot. Although personally I prefer their fried giardiniera and a black cherry float instead. — Lisa White
Parts and Labor is located at 2700 N. Milwaukee Ave.
House-Made Veggie Burger at Bandera
Two pitfalls can ruin a veggie burger: It’s too dry or it falls apart on the way to your mouth. Bandera’s House-made veggie burger thankfully manages to avoid both. Beets included in the patty gives it a sweeter taste along with a soy glaze. It’s a pricy, but delicious option. Try it with a side of coleslaw. — Casey Moffitt
Bandera is located at 535 N. Michagan Ave.
Veggie Burger at Revolution Brewing
"Sinful" is usually not what comes to mind biting into a veggie burger, but Revolution's brewpub has one that tastes sinful. With a roasted beet, mushroom and smoked black bean patty it packs some serious flavor that rivals their stellar meat burgers. Topped with a red onion marmalade and cheese, the spice of this burger goes perfectly with an Anti-Hero or, on the milder side, their Cross of Gold ale. Their tossed arugula is a great side to add or their garlic mashed potatoes if you want to keep the indulgent streak going. —Carrie McGath
Revolution is located at 2323 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Victor’s Veggie and Fruitarian at Grange Hall Burger Bar
Grange Hall Burger Bar brings country charm to the West Loop with a menu of burgers stacked high with toppings and a menu of country comfort sides. Grange Hall has two options, including a vegan burger, and you can swap your beef for one of these meatless “meats” with any burger. But if you want a tailored option, they’ve got not one but two veg-friendly burgers to choose from. The Victor’s Veggie is a wild rice and veggie burger breaded in panko and topped with grilled green peppers, caramelized onions, chipotle mayo and arugula, and their Fruitarian burger is a vegan spinach and chickpea combo topped with mushrooms and avocado. Grange Hall has suggested beer pairings for all their burgers, but if you really want a sweet treat and don’t mind dairy, grab a spiked milkshake. The Coffee in the Rye with rye whiskey, coffee, almond, ice cream and malt is the perfect way to end your meal. — Lisa White
Grange Hall Burger Bar is located at 844 W. Randolph St.
Cajun Black Bean Burger at Chicago Diner
I’ve never understood the reasoning of trying to make veggie burgers look or taste like real meat. One bite tells you it’s not, and why would vegetarians want something that tastes like meat anyway? Why not highlight the ingredients that are being use? That’s why I like the Cajun Black Bean Burger at Chicago Diner. There is no pretense of it being meat at all; it is its own species. The burger is an elegant black bean patty with sautéed onion, mushroom, spinach and fried jalapeños with a cheddar sauce. I’d rather have cheese or sauce, but it’s pretty good every now and again. — Casey Moffitt
Chicago Diner is located at 2333 N. Milwaukee Ave. and 3411 N. Halsted St.
Veggie Burger at Five Star Bar
At a place with a rock’n’roll mantra of beer, bourbon, burgers and meaty wings, I never expected to order a vegetarian option. This Noble Square motorcycle haven serves one heck of a veggie burger, though. It's a hefty homemade patty topped with lightly-dressed shaved kale, carrots and cucumbers on a potato bun smeared with garlicky Greek yogurt. The balance of bean to vegetable to spice is spot-on, and their fresh-cut fries are salty yet cooked to perfection. Any great burger and fry is worth $11, but on Sundays treat yourself for only $7.— Kristine Sherred
Five Star Bar is located at 1424 W. Chicago Ave.