10. Vie burger at Vie
Price: $19 with fries
Chef Paul Virant admits that the burger at Vie is straightforward; he just uses the finest quality ingredients he can find to construct it. That means grinding dry-aged beef from CDK Angus, a quality local Illinois beef producer, in the shop, and then serving it on a freshly baked bun that’s plush, yet sturdy. A salty cheddar cheese joins the beef, along with Vie’s own smoked bacon, bread and butter pickles and creamy Dijonnaise. Honestly, this one would have scored much higher if another burger from a Virant establishment hadn’t stolen my heart.
4471 Lawn Ave., Western Springs, 708-246-2082
2. Dry-aged griddled burger at Vistro
Price: $17 with fries
Chef Paul Virant, best known for his passionate embrace of local produce and serious pickling skills, loves bacon cheeseburgers. When he decided to create one for Vistro, his casual bistro in Hinsdale, he delivered a version that hits all the key points of the classic — juicy beef paired with salty pork — while also letting his unique style shine through. That means he uses excellent beef from CDK Angus and bacon that he smokes himself. He also adds onions so caramelized they look nearly black and an absurdly soft bun made by his pastry chef, Angelyne Canicosa. Instead of a simple slice of cheese, the burger is slathered in a smoky pimento cheese created by Dan Compton, the chef de cuisine at Virant’s Vie. On the side you’ll find fermented pickle slices, which on their own might seem too sour. But slide them under that bun, and the acidity helps counter the onslaught of meat and cheese. I realize this might not be the burger for everyone. Each bite attacks with salt, fat and acid, which some might find overwhelming. For me, I couldn’t stop thinking about this burger over the past month and can’t wait to think of an excuse to get back again.
112 S. Washington St., Hinsdale, 630-537-1459