We Can’t Figure Out Why This Is Illinois’ Best Burger
Not because the best burger in Illinois doesn't come from Rockford.
I mean, we have some pretty good options when you think about it.
It's not even a few standard "best of" Illinois burgers like something from Au Cheval in Chicago or Kuma's Corner in Schaumburg.
Both of those have been named by a few different publications as the "Best Burger" in Illinois.
Actually, it's a place I've never heard of until today.
Maybe it's due to my lack of complete and total south side of Chicago ignorance, but I was stunned to see Top Notch Beefburgers named as having Illinois' Best Burger according to Food & Wine.
Top Notch Beefburgers has been in Chicago since the 1940s so you know it's got to have something going for it. Food and Wine describe the setting as "fashioned like a classic old coffee shop, with a long counter and spacious booths, little league teams on summer nights, and politicians holding court at election time."
Sounds quaint, but we're not there for the ambiance. We're cruising to the south side for the food, namely, the burgers.
Instead of a regular burger, which comes on a floppy, sesame bun that simply doesn't do the meat justice, opt for a classic patty melt, your choice of a quarter-pound, half-pound, or even three quarters if you're that hungry, stuffed between slices of crispy, buttery rye with loads of grilled onions and American cheese.
Even Food and Wine kind of took a shot at what they called the "best" in Illinois. The pictures don't do it justice either. Top Notch has one social media picture, and it's this one, from 8 years ago:
I just don't know about it. Maybe it's the onions, but I'm an onion guy. I like onions.
Maybe it's just the lighting. Take a look at this Instagram shot of a Top Notch burger.
This one looks so good it's almost mouth-watering. So yeah, it's definitely the lighting. Either way, I'm in, I'll just have to bring a flashlight.
Top Notch Beefburgers is located at 2116 West 95th Street in Chicago. Open daily, except Sunday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.