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Oak Park Burger Crawl (12-11-18)

Oak Park Burger Crawl (12-11-18)
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  • Oak Park Burger Crawl (12-11-18)

    Post #1 - December 13th, 2018, 11:39 am
    Post #1 - December 13th, 2018, 11:39 am Post #1 - December 13th, 2018, 11:39 am
    Hamburger Mary's
    155 S Oak Park Ave, Oak Park

    This is the restaurant the prompted the crawl.

    When I saw them mention on their Facebook page that they were going to revamp their menu and bring new life into the service at the restaurant I was skeptical. I even replied that it was the kitchen staff.

    A friend of mine recently started working there and sent me a message asking what was wrong and I replied that they could never get my hamburger right. "If they have 'Hamburger' in the name they better get it right!".

    He encouraged me to come back again and give them another try. I was still skeptical, but...

    I decided to put together a Burger Crawl with My Bride and a friend. Places on the list...

    Goldie's (The Stalwart)
    Portillo's ("They get everything just right" and my personal favorite)
    Big Guy's (The Sentimental Favorite)
    Michael's (New kid on the burger block)

    Places that were considered but didn't make the list...

    Burger Antics (Too far)
    Cigars and Stripes (Winner of the Berwyn's Best. Too far)
    Obsessed Kitchen (I don't know, we should of gone)

    1st Stop
    Goldyburgers $10 @ 1/2 lb w/ fries
    7316 Circle Ave, Forest Park

    2323F591-902F-46CB-A4D9-988269837D46.jpeg

    It's been there for a long time (since 1926) and have been slinging awesome burgers all along. They serve several different burgers (including the 3/4 lb 'Big Daddy') but to make things simpler our target was 'minimum of a 1/2 lb cheeseburger with standard toppings'. We should of gone with the 3/4 lb as several places had only 2/3 to 3/4 lb offerings.

    F3C9405C-2DAD-4928-B3AA-C357FBFFA681.jpeg

    It was a good start to our crawl! We were the only people in there so we were concerned how they would do but everything was fine. Nice thick patty with a good char. Great beefy flavor to the meat but without any seasonings from the kitchen. Pretty much a standard burger at the upper end. Toppings fresh. Hit medium well on the button.

    Portillo's Hot Dogs $10 @ 2/3 lb
    7740 W Roosevelt Rd, Forest Park

    Portillo's seems to do nothing wrong. It seems that everything they make is 'spot on'. This was my latest favorite and was eager to see how it stacked up. Placed our order and sat to wait for the order. As usual they were busier than a crutch and there was a wait. Not quite sure what the wait was though as several people that ordered behind me got their orders first.

    13C622DC-A3EB-41E1-9E76-8F21CF86F08C.jpeg

    Stood up and waited for my order and spotted the staff taking the burgers as they were coming off of the burger conveyor and throwing them back in, stabbing them with the tongs making the grease flare up the flames. Sure it might of added some additional flame flavor but I am sure the conveyor is designed to produce the perfectly cooked patty.

    0142014B-F6A5-4099-A2D1-B789357DD5BE.jpeg

    476C6FEF-1287-4590-9808-52A40C9CEC3F.jpeg

    Strike One (damn kids, playing with my food).

    Finally my order was called and it actually wasn't too bad! Not nearly as dry as I feared but not nearly as juicy as it could of been. Overloaded with lettuce (not bad) and the addition of mayo is always a plus. Double 1/3 lb patties with no option for medium rare but not over cooked.

    Big Guy's Sausage Stand $12 @ 3/4 lb
    7021 Roosevelt Rd Roosevelt Road, Berwyn

    As I mentioned this was a sentimental favorite. We with Brendan all the best of success and admire his vision. I have had some great burgers here but there have been a few misses mostly involving overcooking the patty. Today there was some new staff on duty with none of the regulars in attendance. Asking about Brendan the gal mentioned he was at home exhausted from all of the Thanksgiving catering they had done. Good for him.

    B1EDD14E-B1CC-4FFA-BC2E-DF454A10194A.jpeg

    They were pretty busy when we arrived with only a pair of stools available. Took a little while for the 2 person staff to get to our order out but when it was ready things had settled down and the gal actually brought our food out to us. Awesome burger with the greatest amount of flame char. Fresh toppings but the tomato was not fully ripe. My friend mentioned that he learned to trim away the unacceptable and only serve the good.

    3D6636A3-00E7-4BE4-9DF6-39DB9974DAB0.jpeg

    Brendan did stop by with 2 gifts of a 'Chicken Tikka meal pack' that was not used on a catering order. Yep! Even without knowing what was up he was bribing the judges. :) Just being kind ot his friends.

    My bride took off points for it being stools and window counters. I mentioned to her that that wasn't one of the categories for voting and she replied "Well I took off points anyway :) ".

    Michael's Beef House $6.50 (!) 2/3 lb
    6747 W North Ave, Oak Park

    I have been enjoying their Merkts Cheddar Burger and was sad that it was not in the cards today. Pretty strongly a hotdog stand burger. The shredded lettuce, grilled onions (even though I asked for raw) all merged together into a solid, wet mass (think Big Baby). Two thin patties without a hope for medium rare but, once again not over cooked. I have actually had some thin patties that had a sliver of pink down the center.

    458F29B6-0825-4467-BFE8-0D065189C4E4.jpeg

    After all of the great burgers already down the gullet this one was a bit of a let down. Mostly missing was the nice crunch of a fresh lettuce leaf and the nice tomato (reminiscent of a backyard BBQ). Flavor was ok but it was still a mucky mess.

    BCFE0D11-C7CD-49FC-96E0-65A5EE1B53D8.jpeg

    503E4494-D808-4FD5-9726-2F365B655600.jpeg


    Continued...
    Last edited by Panther in the Den on December 13th, 2018, 1:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.
    "Make Lunch, Not War" ~ Anon
  • Post #2 - December 13th, 2018, 1:22 pm
    Post #2 - December 13th, 2018, 1:22 pm Post #2 - December 13th, 2018, 1:22 pm
    Continued from the last post...

    Hamburger Mary's $15 (!) 1/2 lb w/ seasoned fries

    I was saving this for last (we would be full, tired of burgers?) partly because I was still mad at the inferior burgers I have had in the past and the disappointment of the dashing of my high hopes.

    6C24751D-32CD-4C35-83CC-E1CB75A30B81.jpeg

    On the menu it mentioned "Big and Juicy!" and at that I scoffed. How can a 1/2 lb burger meet up with that? (still dissing the place) Well when the burger came it was indeed "Big and Juicy!"! A thick patty, cooked to a good (on the side of rare) medium. Just pink throughout with out any blood. Making it a smaller diameter patty (similar to Goldie's) allows it to be thicker which I think works well. Talking with the waiter he mentioned there were changes in the kitchen as I did not see many on the menu, Maybe in the appetizers or small plates.

    70782DB2-2973-41B5-8232-B045557AB1CB.jpeg

    Arugula greens, better than average cheese, good bun with a swipe of some sauce.

    993D9C78-885E-4C1A-9366-903AA844C850.jpeg

    All in all the best burger of the crawl. Congratulations on the big improvement.

    Results?
    #1 = Hamburger Mary's. Thick, good tasting. Most expensive by far.
    #2 = Big Guy's. Big, well charred and tasty patty. Missed medium rare.
    #3 = Goldies. Thicker patty cooked perfectly. Good toppings.
    #4 = Portillo's. A big surprise to me at the low ranking. Couldn't stand up with the others.
    #5 = Michael's. The standard hotdog stand burger couldn't compare to the other fresher ones. The value leader.
    "Make Lunch, Not War" ~ Anon
  • Post #3 - December 13th, 2018, 2:41 pm
    Post #3 - December 13th, 2018, 2:41 pm Post #3 - December 13th, 2018, 2:41 pm
    And the annexing continues...
    I kid, I kid. Some of those places were actually in Oak Park. Almost half of them!!! :D

    Great job researching, Panther!

    I'm almost embarrassed at how long it's been since I've been to Goldies, but I think that might be due to the decent burger spots that have popped up.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #4 - December 14th, 2018, 12:19 am
    Post #4 - December 14th, 2018, 12:19 am Post #4 - December 14th, 2018, 12:19 am
    Awesome! But I do have to admit I was quite disappointed when I realized this wasn't a thread for an upcoming event :mrgreen:
  • Post #5 - December 14th, 2018, 8:29 am
    Post #5 - December 14th, 2018, 8:29 am Post #5 - December 14th, 2018, 8:29 am
    For whatever reason(s), when Burget Mooooooooooooovement first opened, and it was called something else then, it did not seem to impress me. Luckily, I gave it another try, and I've since grown quite fond of it. They have a zillion toppings, and I pretty much come up with a new burger every time I go. Is it the world's best, no, but very stellar for the area. Work it into your next crawl!

    As to Goldy's, my experience is that it is one of the most maddening inconsistent places ever. Some days it is just astoundingly great and others, it's like bad diner burger.
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #6 - December 14th, 2018, 9:32 am
    Post #6 - December 14th, 2018, 9:32 am Post #6 - December 14th, 2018, 9:32 am
    For me, the burgers at Exit Strategy hit all the right buttons - and washing it down with a good micro only helps the cause. I know Burger Antics is outside the range, but as a destination burger place, it's top stuff. Their special burgers can be very imaginative and downright sinful.
  • Post #7 - December 14th, 2018, 10:01 am
    Post #7 - December 14th, 2018, 10:01 am Post #7 - December 14th, 2018, 10:01 am
    zoid wrote:Awesome! But I do have to admit I was quite disappointed when I realized this wasn't a thread for an upcoming event :mrgreen:

    I did strongly consider making it an event but it was somewhat last minute and during the week. I am always thinking of event themes.

    Vital Information wrote:For whatever reason(s), when Burger Mooooooooooooovement first opened, and it was called something else then, it did not seem to impress me. Luckily, I gave it another try, and I've since grown quite fond of it. They have a zillion toppings, and I pretty much come up with a new burger every time I go. Is it the world's best, no, but very stellar for the area. Work it into your next crawl!

    I gave it a try when it first opened and wasn't too impressed. I'll give it another try.

    Zillion Toppings

    They do add a few to the already long list at 5 Guys.
    Standard - Carrots
    Premium - Guacamole, Crispy Onions, Egg
    Sauces - Honey Mustard, Spicy Chipotle, MOOV Sauce, Carolina Gold BBQ, Buttermilk Ranch
    Cheeses - Cheddar, Swiss, Pepper Jack, Bleu

    In hindsight we should of included 5 Guy's too (Quick! Before they close the Oak Park location!)

    Next time through, although on the crawl we were only going for the standard cheeseburger.
    Vital Information wrote:As to Goldy's, my experience is that it is one of the most maddening inconsistent places ever. Some days it is just astoundingly great and others, it's like bad diner burger.

    I have had good luck there. I think once, way in the past it was somewhat mediocre but has been good consistently for a while.

    I can see another solid crawl in the near future...

    Burger Moovement
    5 Guys
    (Cermak)
    Cigars and Stripes
    Burger Antics
    Obsessed Kitchen


    ... and of course we would have to revisit the reining champ...

    Hamburger Mary's
    Last edited by Panther in the Den on December 17th, 2018, 8:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
    "Make Lunch, Not War" ~ Anon
  • Post #8 - December 14th, 2018, 11:40 am
    Post #8 - December 14th, 2018, 11:40 am Post #8 - December 14th, 2018, 11:40 am
    My favorite local burger is GNR Carnivore's bacon / beef patty with local bun and greenery. I agree with Panther that Portillo's and Big Guy's are otherwise at the top of my default list. There is really something special about the scorched salty tallow flavor of the Portillo's burger on its super-soft bun with lots of pickles - kind of its own animal.
  • Post #9 - December 14th, 2018, 4:36 pm
    Post #9 - December 14th, 2018, 4:36 pm Post #9 - December 14th, 2018, 4:36 pm
    Citrine has a great (expensive) burger. So does (or at least did) Fat Duck/Duck Fat. And yeah, Obsessed Kitchen. And if you were going further afield, absolutely Burger Antics (and Lavergnes). Won't go back to Hamburger Mary's, because the last time I went (which was the last time I went) they couldn't get the burger *or* beer right, and there are enough local alternatives on both fronts that I figured why bother.

    Not a big fan of the Carnivore burger, oddly enough. Do love Big Guys, though I have been going much, much less frequently ever since they simplified the menu. They deliver for free to Kinslahger, iirc.

    Sad Five Guys is closing, since I like their burgers, but I also like Culver's, which will do in a fast-food pinch.

    Best thing about Goldy's is when Scott Ligon is playing. Otherwise, I'd just as soon them serve the meat patty with nothing else, since everything else (bun, toppings, fries) is pretty sad. Then again, one of my favorite times a year is tomato season, because I can have a fresh one ready to replace the pitiful burger tomatoes that are unfortunately pretty standard across the board.
  • Post #10 - December 14th, 2018, 5:42 pm
    Post #10 - December 14th, 2018, 5:42 pm Post #10 - December 14th, 2018, 5:42 pm
    Many area places serve burgers, most notably the steak houses and even the Greek places but most of the places I’ve listed are noted for their burgers in one way or another. For instance I never knew Citrene was noted for their burgers.

    I had a pretty good burger at George’s once. :)

    One, what might be considered an exception would be Obsessed. We all know he worked really hard to get his burger just right.

    For the second round a few more commercial places have appeared but only because of a superior product.
    "Make Lunch, Not War" ~ Anon
  • Post #11 - December 15th, 2018, 1:01 pm
    Post #11 - December 15th, 2018, 1:01 pm Post #11 - December 15th, 2018, 1:01 pm
    I could see a different crawl...

    Citrene
    Golden Steer
    Carnivore
    ...
    "Make Lunch, Not War" ~ Anon
  • Post #12 - December 17th, 2018, 8:34 am
    Post #12 - December 17th, 2018, 8:34 am Post #12 - December 17th, 2018, 8:34 am
    BTW, Five Guys is already closed
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #13 - December 17th, 2018, 8:36 am
    Post #13 - December 17th, 2018, 8:36 am Post #13 - December 17th, 2018, 8:36 am
    Vital Information wrote:BTW, Five Guys is already closed

    Wow! Thanks.

    Updated location.
    "Make Lunch, Not War" ~ Anon
  • Post #14 - December 17th, 2018, 10:43 am
    Post #14 - December 17th, 2018, 10:43 am Post #14 - December 17th, 2018, 10:43 am
    I guess if Burger Antics in Brookfield is too far afield, then so is the Cordial Inn?The Cordial doesn't even really have a kitchen, but it serves up a pretty tasty burger.
  • Post #15 - December 17th, 2018, 12:56 pm
    Post #15 - December 17th, 2018, 12:56 pm Post #15 - December 17th, 2018, 12:56 pm
    SaltCreekSmoker wrote:I guess if Burger Antics in Brookfield is too far afield, then so is the Cordial Inn?The Cordial doesn't even really have a kitchen, but it serves up a pretty tasty burger.

    Thanks for the heads up on another burger to try!

    Many area bars serve great burgers and in that area...

    Sweet Spot
    2531 Desplaines Ave, North Riverside
    We had visited during a sports final and they also had a burger and chili special. Awesome burger!

    Zubar and Grill
    8436 Brookfield Ave, Brookfield
    I have a friend who's son was working there and said they put a lot of effort into making an awesome burger.

    ... but most of the places I’ve listed previously are noted for their burgers in one way or another.

    One, what might be considered an exception would be Obsessed. We all know he worked really hard to get his burger just right.[/quote]
    "Make Lunch, Not War" ~ Anon
  • Post #16 - December 17th, 2018, 7:54 pm
    Post #16 - December 17th, 2018, 7:54 pm Post #16 - December 17th, 2018, 7:54 pm
    Sweet Spot
    2531 Desplaines Ave, North Riverside
    We had visited during a sports final and they also had a burger and chili special. Awesome burger!


    Sweet Spot? I live a block from there and have never had one....although I don't really get in there very often. Gotta try one now!
  • Post #17 - December 17th, 2018, 9:34 pm
    Post #17 - December 17th, 2018, 9:34 pm Post #17 - December 17th, 2018, 9:34 pm
    I have to admit to a soft spot for Micky's - the Big Mickey just scratches an itch I get all too often.
  • Post #18 - December 18th, 2018, 3:30 pm
    Post #18 - December 18th, 2018, 3:30 pm Post #18 - December 18th, 2018, 3:30 pm
    zoid wrote:Awesome! But I do have to admit I was quite disappointed when I realized this wasn't a thread for an upcoming event :mrgreen:


    I thought the same thing, then said to myself, man that stinks that I didn't know about it and missed it.

    It's nice to have some decent burger options available close/in Oak Park. I also enjoyed an occasional Five Guys, though getting pricey, and am sorry its closing.
  • Post #19 - December 18th, 2018, 5:27 pm
    Post #19 - December 18th, 2018, 5:27 pm Post #19 - December 18th, 2018, 5:27 pm
    In case anyone didn't know, there is another Five Guys location at Cermak and Harlem (right by the very good City BBQ). I think this Berwyn location of Five Guys outperforming the OP location lead to the closure, though I don't know where I heard that.
  • Post #20 - December 18th, 2018, 10:38 pm
    Post #20 - December 18th, 2018, 10:38 pm Post #20 - December 18th, 2018, 10:38 pm
    I don't know where it would rate, but my kids really enjoyed the cheeseburgers they got at the Grill Stop. Griddled patties, simple prep. This place has limited aspirations but they do have a vertical broiler for their gyros and a nice array of cut, fresh toppings behind the counter for their sandwiches, sausages and dogs. The sport peppers looked tasty.

    I got the buffalo chicken cheese steak (hold the mushrooms) and it was quite tasty, though it is not to be confused with the "real thing". We'll definitely be back. Next time, I'll give the burger a go.

    Grill Stop
    6623 Roosevelt Rd, Berwyn, IL 60402
  • Post #21 - December 18th, 2018, 11:00 pm
    Post #21 - December 18th, 2018, 11:00 pm Post #21 - December 18th, 2018, 11:00 pm
    bobbywal wrote:Grill Stop
    6623 Roosevelt Rd, Berwyn

    In...

    Berwyn Towne Sq
    6623 Roosevelt Rd, Berwyn

    I didn’t even know the...

    SUBWAY® Restaurant
    Permanently Closed
    6623 Roosevelt Rd, A, Berwyn

    ... had closed!

    Must be recent?
    "Make Lunch, Not War" ~ Anon
  • Post #22 - December 18th, 2018, 11:06 pm
    Post #22 - December 18th, 2018, 11:06 pm Post #22 - December 18th, 2018, 11:06 pm
    Vitesse98 wrote:In case anyone didn't know, there is another Five Guys location at Cermak and Harlem (right by the very good City BBQ). I think this Berwyn location of Five Guys outperforming the OP location lead to the closure, though I don't know where I heard that.

    We never liked the Lake St location.

    We went when they first opened and every time someone came in the staff would shout “THROUGH THE DOOR!!!”. Maybe a training exercise?

    My Bride never quite recovered and I could not get her to return. The parking issues didn’t have me trying too hard. :)
    "Make Lunch, Not War" ~ Anon
  • Post #23 - December 19th, 2018, 8:50 am
    Post #23 - December 19th, 2018, 8:50 am Post #23 - December 19th, 2018, 8:50 am
    Pretty sure the "door" cry is a Five Guys trademark!
  • Post #24 - December 19th, 2018, 10:36 am
    Post #24 - December 19th, 2018, 10:36 am Post #24 - December 19th, 2018, 10:36 am
    Vitesse98 wrote:In case anyone didn't know, there is another Five Guys location at Cermak and Harlem (right by the very good City BBQ). I think this Berwyn location of Five Guys outperforming the OP location lead to the closure, though I don't know where I heard that.


    There is also a Five Guys in Winston Plaza.

    I'm sure the closing was due to a bunch of factors. High rents, enduring years of nearby construction which reduced parking, high prices, lots of local competition for similar fare. I would guess that the performance of the Berwyn and Melrose Park locations have little to do with shuttering Oak Park, but you never know.
  • Post #25 - December 22nd, 2018, 2:32 pm
    Post #25 - December 22nd, 2018, 2:32 pm Post #25 - December 22nd, 2018, 2:32 pm
    Panther in the Den wrote:
    bobbywal wrote:
    Grill Stop
    6623 Roosevelt Rd, Berwyn

    In...

    Berwyn Towne Sq
    6623 Roosevelt Rd, Berwyn

    I didn’t even know the...

    SUBWAY® Restaurant
    Permanently Closed
    6623 Roosevelt Rd, A, Berwyn

    ... had closed!

    Must be recent?

    F6D5251A-6A5C-4755-9A25-8FAFA558F711.jpeg


    Menu

    http://grillstoponline.com/GrillStop.pdf
    Last edited by Panther in the Den on December 22nd, 2018, 10:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    "Make Lunch, Not War" ~ Anon
  • Post #26 - December 22nd, 2018, 6:25 pm
    Post #26 - December 22nd, 2018, 6:25 pm Post #26 - December 22nd, 2018, 6:25 pm
    And for those of us who also are value-concerned, Big Guys' burger is only $5 on Mondays.

    --mhl
    "If I have dined better than other men, it is because I stood on the shoulders of giants...and got the waiter's attention." --Sir Isaac "Ready to order NOW" Newton

    "You worry too much. Eat some bacon... What? No, I got no idea if it'll make you feel better, I just made too much bacon." --Justin Halpern's dad

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