Eddie Lakin is an old-school hamburger evangelist with a modern sensibility. He's chosen to close Edzo's, his popular burger joint in downtown Evanston, each day at 4 p.m. in order to spend more time with his children. Eddie commandeers the cash register himself, taking orders for the truffle fries, Nutella milkshakes, and two kinds of patties that Edzo's serves: half-pound char burgers cooked on a grill and quarter-pound smashed burgers cooked on a griddle, both made from chuck ground daily in-house.
When we asked Eddie to share his top five burgers in the city, he selected a sample that represents the ultimate classics as well as some surprising new-school hits. For a multi-napkin extravaganza, check out Eddie Lakin's favorite burgers in Chi-town:
1. Top Notch Beefburgers is an old school diner in Beverly with Naugahyde vinyl booths, waitresses that call you "hon," fresh-cut potatoes fried in beef fat, and thin, griddled burgers made from beef ground on site.
2116 West 95th Street, Chicago IL 60643 (map); 773-445-7218; Yelp
2. Charlie Beinlich's is a slightly old-man-esque bar in Northbrook with a great Wisconsin supper-club feel. They have maybe 5 to 7 items on their menu, but everyone orders their burger, which features really fresh, finely ground meat cooked consistently to the degree of doneness that you ask for.
290 Skokie Boulevard, Northbrook IL 60062 (map); 847-291-0420; charliebeinlichs.com
3. The Bad Apple in Lincoln Square features beef from the famous New York butcher Pat LaFrieda, and you can really taste it. Their burgers have an amazingly deep, beefy flavor as a result of the custom LaFrieda blend they use. Pair that with high quality toppings, house-made ketchup, and a great beer list, and you get a really great neighborhood hang-out.
4300 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago IL 60618 (map); 773-360-8406; badapplebar.com
4. Schoop's serves the thin, smashed-on-the-griddle style burger, but taken to the extreme. They smash it so thin that it massively hangs over the bun with its super-crispy, lacy edges of well-browned beef.
Various locations; schoophamburgers.com
5. Like Edzo's, BopNGrill is an unassuming little hot-dog-stand looking place, but the owner is a culinary school grad who really knows what he's doing. The food is a great mash-up of Korean flavors with American classics. The burger with a fried egg and kimchi is great.
Various locations; Facebook.com/pages/bopNgrill