Abigail’s American Bistro
493 Roger Williams, Highland Park. 847-780-4862
Contemporary American. The long wait here pays off, especially if you order the cheeseburger topped with Wisconsin sharp cheddar and red onion marmalade with fab fries on the side. Then have sticky toffee pudding cake.
L Tue–Fri, D Tue–Sat.Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, free dinner parking, outdoor dining, high noise level. $$
1639 S. Wabash. South Loop. 312-360-9500
Contemporary. Ryan McCaskey, the Saigon-born chef, pulls out all the stops with lobster, truffles, and other luxurious foodstuffs. That’s cool, but so is sitting in the bar and ordering the Acadia double patty burger with double crème Gouda.
D Tue–Sun. Br Sun. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, outdoor dining. $$$$
800 W. Randolph. West Loop. 312-929-4580
American. At Brendan Sodikoff’s diner-style charmer, craft brews go with the fried bologna sandwich and the most gigantic pork porterhouse imaginable. Cheeseburgers are in. May as well get a fried egg on top.
L Mon–Fri, D nightly. Br Sat, Sun. Wheelchair accessible, BYO (up to $5 corkage; if you BYO, you must share one glass with another table), high noise level, will seat after 11 p.m. $$
1039 N. Western. Ukrainian Village. 773-395-2483
American. Adjoining the Empty Bottle, this amiably hip hangout possesses some serious cooking chops. Garlic-scented roast chicken is a treat, as is any of the pan-seared seafood. Terrific burgers and fries too.
B, L & D daily. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, BYO (up to $5 corkage), high noise level, will seat after 11 p.m. ¢
1227 W. 18th. Pilsen. 312-526-3851
American. Jared Wentworth’s smart menu covers a lot of ground, from the American South to the Farthest East of Asia, including a take on the Twin Cities tradition of two burger patties sealed to conceal scorching melted cheese: the Juicy Lucy.
D nightly. Br Sat, Sun. Wheelchair accessible, outdoor dining, will seat after 11 p.m. $
The Gage •
24 S. Michigan. Loop. 312-372-4243
Contemporary. Prime digs near Millennium Park and ritzy comfort food such as vindaloo mussels, locally crafted sausage, and a prime burger keep this gastropub abuzz.
L & D daily. Br Sat, Sun. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, outdoor dining, high noise level, will seat after 11 p.m. (Fri, Sat). $$$
1747 N. Damen. Bucktown. 773-489-1747
American. There’s no reason not to have one of James Beard Award winner Mindy Segal’s desserts after her showstopping hamburger: juicy Slagel Farm beef with smoky bacon and cheddar cheese and (for $2 extra) a fried farm egg. Or at least split with a friend.
L Wed–Fri, D Tue–Sun. Br Sat, Sun. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, high noise level, will seat after 11 p.m. (Fri, Sat). $$
2119 S. Halsted. Pilsen. 312-526-3385
American. This adventurous kitchen thrives on spontaneity, tweaking the menu almost daily, except for its namesake cheeseburger piled with two patties, eight-year cheddar, and an onion ring. Good thinking.
D Mon–Sat. Br Sun. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, outdoor dining, high noise level. $$
Park Grill •
11 N. Michigan. Millennium Park. 312-521-7275
American. Right inside Chicago’s best park is the city’s largest patio in summer and coolest ice rink in winter. Whether polar or solar outside, PG’s American Kobe Gorgonzola burger with balsamic grilled onions remains destination worthy.
L & D daily. Br Sun. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, outdoor dining. $$
Prairie Grass Cafe
601 Skokie, Northbrook. 847-205-4433
Contemporary American. George Bumbaris and Sarah Stegner deliver stylish comfort food at their packed place. And these days, what’s more stylish than a charbroiled sirloin burger topped with Amish blue cheese and a warm beefsteak tomato? Maybe Mom’s seasonal pie.
L Mon–Fri, D nightly. Br Sat, Sun. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, free dinner parking, BYO (up to $5 corkage; Mon only). $
R.J. Grunts •
2056 N. Lincoln Park West. Lincoln Park. 773-929-5363
American. In 1971, Lettuce Entertain You launched its empire, Chicago’s first salad bar, and the Gruntburger, gussied up with fried onions and blue cheese.
L & D daily. Br Sat, Sun. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, will seat after 11 p.m. (Mon–Sat) ¢
1321 W. Taylor. Little Italy. 312-243-1577
American. The gems at this rock-’n’-roll-themed tavern are Matt Troost’s seasonal dishes, a showcase of local farms, featuring lovely housemade pastas, sophisticated meaty entrées, and a burger dripping with aged cheddar and bacon jam.
D nightly. a (in winter) Wheelchair accessible, outdoor dining, will seat after 11 p.m. ¢