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Pick The Best Burger Spot In Chicago In Our 2017 Burger Bracket (Part 1)

By Anthony Todd in Food on Jul 13, 2017 5:23PM

Burger at Red Hot Ranch. Photo by Michael Gebert.

It's time for another of our famous bracket challenges. We've done beer and pizza, and literally tens of thousands of you have weighed in on who should be the champions. And if there's something that Chicagoans love almost as much as beer and pizza, it's gotta be burgers, right?

We've put together a list of our top 32 favorite burger joints in Chicago, and they're ready to go head-to-head. Some of these are dives, some are super fancy. Some are North Side, some are South Side, and a couple are in the 'burbs. Some are famous for their burgers (including one that is supposedly one of the ten best burgers in America) while some are restaurants that just happen to have a really amazing burger on their menu. With the help of Mike Gebert of Fooditor, our resident burger expert, we've come up with a pretty comprehensive list, though since we only had 32 spots, we probably left out one of your favorites. Sorry.

Now for the technicalities. This is a 32-seat single elimination tournament, with all seeds randomly assigned. One a restaurant is out, it's out. Is it scientific and fair? No. But it's awfully fun to eat burgers and rank them, isn't it?

For this first half of the first round, we've got 16 burger spots pitted against each other in 8 challenges. A brief description of each restaurant is below, in case you're not familiar with it—keep scrolling down for the actual polls. The second half of round 1, with the remaining 16 burger joints, went up last week, and this round of voting will remain open until Tuesday, July 18 at 10 p.m.

Start voting!

Unusual toppings at a place that not only grinds its beef but bakes its buns.

Butcher & The Burger
Pick your meat, seasoning and toppings at this Lincoln Park hole in the wall.

Au Cheval
The long lines at this West Loop spot mean that many people think their burger is the very best, but being at the top can also inspire some dislike...

Owen & Engine
English pub does a loosely-packed, thick patty of beefy beef worthy of Beefeaters.

Red Hot Ranch
This hot dog stand also serves single-patty symphony in greasy, salty excess.

BIG & little’s
Eclectic place serving everything from tacos to shrimp po’boys does a mean hand-patted burger too.

Paradise Pup
Northwest siders and suburbanites line up for the char and Merkt’s cheese on these burgers.

Kuma's Corner
The OG fancy burger place, now a cult classic - the only thing louder than the patrons clamoring to get in is the music on the speakers.

Top Notch Beefburger
Vintage south side burger restaurant grinds its beef fresh every day.

Neighborhood steakhouse’s burger is a thick monster with top sirloin flavor.

Ravenswood burger and dog stand has a small town feel and tasty, all-American burgers.

Fatso’s Last Stand
Lettuce, tomato, 1000 Island-ish sauce… you’ll want to go In-N-Out for this burger.

This Michelin-starred spot is famous for seafood-heavy tasting menus, but the sleeper hit has always been the burger on their bar menu.

Small Cheval
Slightly different from it's older cousin Au Cheval, this spot only does the burger and the fries - and some experts swear it tastes different from the original.

Old Irving Brewing
A rosemary-scented bun is the fillip on this classically thick, juicy bacon burger.

Billy Goat Tavern
Is there a more iconic Chicago burger spot than this? But that doesn't necessarily mean the best...