Friday, May 25, 2012

It’s Burger Time! Celebrate National Hamburger Day May 28!

You don’t need a special occasion to enjoy a hamburger, but when National Hamburger Day rolls around on Monday, May 28, it’s time to skip those everyday burgers and go for the real gourmet deal.

111 W. Huron, Chicago
312) 202-9900;

Elate has become one of Chicago’s casual dining treasures. The restaurant is one of the most attractive gathering places in the city and its LEED certified design, comprised of mainly of sustainable, re-purposed materials, is very inviting, stylish and comfortable. But what keeps guests coming back to Elate is its consistently delicious and creative food from Executive Chef Michael Noll. His specialty is contemporary American fare made from primarily locally sourced, organic and sustainable ingredients.

 His Elate Burger doesn’t disappoint—it’s one of the most delicious and generously sized burgers in Chicago. The Elate Burger ($14) is topped with creamed leeks, Applewood bacon and served with a generous portion of hand-cut fries.

 If your food preferences run along vegetarian lines, you’re in good hands at Elate with the very popular Vegetarian Black Bean Burger ($11). It’s topped with whipped avocado/piquillo peppers and served with seasoned fries and house made pickles.

1576 North Milwaukee, Chicago
(773) 770-0184;

Right on the six corners of Wicker Park, Francesca’s Forno offers traditional Italian cuisine with a twist.  Surrounded by the artistic and edgy boutiques, bars and cafes, Francesca’s Forno has been deemed a great place to dine by the locals.  From its weekend brunch to daily lunch and dinner menu items, there is always a tasty and affordable option for every patron.

One of the lunch and dinner favorites just happens to be an American classic with an Italian twist. The Forno Burger ($11) is a grilled prime burger served made to order and is topped with gorgonzola cheese, oven dried tomatoes and served on a pretzel roll with a side of smashed potatoes.  Add pepper corn bacon or a fried egg for an additional $2 each. 

East Bank Club
500 North Kingsbury, Chicago
(312) 527-5800;

 The folks who live in River North and Fulton River District have happily discovered that the main restaurant at East Bank Club, Maxwell’s at the Club, is open to the public. They’ve also discovered that this superb, comfortable restaurant serves some of the best food in the neighborhood, prepared with culinary finesse and customizable to please one’s particular tastes and desires. As you would expect at such a major health club, many of the dishes are nutritious and heart-healthy as well as delicious.

One of the most popular delights at Maxwell’s is Max’s Minis ($10). This trio of sliders includes a mini prime steakburger, a mini Santé Fe chicken burger and a mini Yellowfin Tuna Steak burger, all topped with crispy onion strings. If you would like to customize your minis, simply ask your server for any combination of the three. If you’re in the mood for steak sliders, you’ll enjoy the very popular Mini Tenderloin Sliders ($14), a trio of seared mini filet mignon sliders finished with lemon and basil.

If you’re in the mood for a full-service burger, try Maxwell’s Prime Steakburger ($11), made from ten ounces of prime beef, topped with lettuce tomato, onion and pickle and served with your choice of sweet potato fries, fresh-cut fries or seasonal fresh fruit.

25 E. Ohio, Chicago
(312) 329-9463;

960 Milwaukee Ave., Lincolnshire, IL
(847) 793-0333;

One would expect a great steakhouse to serve a great burger, and Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar doesn’t disappoint. The bar at Fleming’s is always hopping in the after-work and evening hours and one of the attractions is the Prime Burger ($14; available only in the bar area) with Wisconsin cheddar cheese, peppered bacon and their signature onion rings. If you want to enjoy Fleming’s quality at a great price, stop by Fleming’s bar area before 7 p.m. when the Prime Burger is part of their “5 For $6 'Til 7" bar menu. You get a choice of 5 premium cocktails, 5 distinctive wines by the glass and 5 generous appetizers or the Prime Burger, each for only $6 (liquor prices and hours offered may vary depending on state liquor laws). Also, keep in mind that Fleming’s has an amazing wine program, which includes 100 wines by the glass. So this may be your perfect opportunity to try out some new wines while you savor a first-rate burger.

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