Kelly the Culinarian: Grand Opening Get Together at The Burger Bar Chicago

Friday, February 20, 2015

Grand Opening Get Together at The Burger Bar Chicago

I was super lucky to snag an invite to  Burger Bar's grand opening festivities earlier this week. It's a joint that been in Chicago for a few years and just opened a brand-new outlet in the South Loop. It was easy to get to as a suburbanite because it's right off Lake Shore Drive and I snagged parking 1/2 block away for $7 on ParkWhiz, which is great because it's -4 in Chicago right now (sadly not joking even a little).

The concept is pretty simple: Burger Bar wants to be the spot you call yours, for catering at work, happy hour, dinner with the kids and late-night sports viewing. What sets this place apart is a globally inspired burger menu with high-quality ingredients and even higher-quality beer. The tap list is extensive and constantly rotating, featuring local brews and signature cocktails. We were super bummed to hear the bloody mary's, which are rather famous on Yelp, are a weekend-only engagement. So we drowned our sorrows in panko-crusted fried pickles, edamame hummus and bacon lollipops. I saw someone with samples of the giant Bavarian pretzel, but sadly, they never crossed my path.

What did get into my clutches were samples of their famed mac and cheese. After extensive research (all for you, dear readers), I can say without a doubt the pork mac and cheese is the best. The crunchy topping and tender pulled pork just send it over the edge and remind me why I decided being a vegetarian was not for me.

However, if you're of the meatless persuasion, Burger Bar does have a few options for you. I loved the vegetarian burger (the one in the middle down there), which comes on a whole wheat bun and is topped with arugula and goat cheese. Other white-meat options include wings (the diablo will burn your face off, fair warning) and a chicken burger, which was the stand-out creation of the night.

They're also famous for their tater tots and sweet potato fries, but I didn't get a chance to put those in my tummy. Instead, I took a stroll around the place to check out the decor, which features local artists:

No meal is complete without dessert, in my opinion, and the shakes at this place look amazing. They're delicious to start with, and then you can add a shot for $3 more. And in weather like this, when the chef asks if I like bourbon, the answer is an enthusiastic yes. We sampled the shake of the month, which is the King Cake Shake. It includes house-made king cake, which was super delicious. I'm usually a chocolate girl myself, but this tasted like a boozy birthday cake with chunks of cinnamon rolls in it (kind of like a blondie version of Portillo's chocolate cake shake).
Burger Bar is part of a larger group of eateries called Good Eats. They have plans to expand nationally, including Austin (my favorite city) and Boston.
In the meantime, I'll just be over here savoring my craft beer and gorging myself on burgers cut into neat little quarters.


Mo said...

Have you ever been to Durty Nellie's in Palatine? Jakre is a mac and cheese connoisseur, and he says that one by far is the best.

Unknown said...

I love their North/Halsted location, which was by my old place. Such good options for burgers, good beers & milkshakes, and a nice patio. Glad to hear there's more of it to share the love!

Zenaida Arroyo said...

Wow, so much delicious food!