But as we’ve discussed before, not all burgers are created equal; juiciness is not an inalienable right.
Into a crowded burger field comes BurgerFi (Fi rhymes with eye), which opened its first Illinois outpost in Glenview. Started in Florida, the franchise has spread across the South (Texas, North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia) and even into hallowed Shake Shack territory in NYC.
The Shake Shack reference is no accident; the menu is practically identical (give or take an onion ring), as is the philosophy of small carbon footprint, all-natural beef, and environmentally sustainable best practices. Given that Shake Shack has yet to infiltrate Chicago and environs, BurgerFi is the default winner.
Your Tiny Carbon Footprint
So pull up an earth-friendly chair (made from recycled Coke bottles) to a compressed, recycled wood table and dig in. Everything is prepared fresh to order; there is no partial cooking in the microwave (yes, some places do this!) or sitting around in the fry basket. All this, and craft beers and wine, too!
The beef is Natural Angus, the highest industry standard, and it’s all-vegetarian fed, with no antibiotics or hormones. So if you’ve got to have a red-meat fix, this is probably your healthiest choice. A word to the wise: Don’t look at the calorie postings, oh-so-thoughtfully provided on the menu. Just don’t. My advice is to order your burger in the “crisp lettuce” rather than the bun if you’re trying to save some calories. Yes, it’s a thing.
This is not a large burger, which is why the signature burgers come as doubles. But it is a moist one, of the griddle smashed, loosely packed variety (again, much like Shake Shack…), and the bun, emblazoned with the “BurgerFi” logo, stands up to the myriad ingredients.
I was a big fan of the Brisket Burger ($9.97), made from two patties of 28-day, dry-aged ground brisket and topped with Swiss and Bleu Cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles and BurgerFi sauce. The B.A.D. (Breakfast All Day) Burger ($6.97), another double stack, sports American cheese, crisp bacon drizzled with maple syrup, hash browns (!), grilled diced onions and a fried egg. All 730 calories of that one disappeared down the gullet of a hungry teen while I watched, awestruck.
The 100% Wagyu Kobe Beef Dog ($4.97) was more than a stunt. Split and griddled, it was served up Chicago-style with all the fixin’s. The requisite poppy-seed bun was too soft for that puppy, but the flavor…uber beefy.
The VegeFi Burger ($6.97), a crisp quinoa burger with white Cheddar cheese, L&T, and BurgerFi sauce on a multi-grain bun, was a worthy and different take on the standard veggie burger. And check out the not-so-“Secret Menu” for still more options, like the Hippie Veggie or the Alternative Burger.
Fry ‘Em Up
Fresh-cut Fries ($2.97/$3.97/$5.97), very potatoey and not oily, are offered with a choice of fry toppings, ranging from Hot Cajun Spices (57 cents) or Parmesan & Herbs (97 cents) to Chili and Cheese Sauce ($1.77). The Crispy Onion Rings ($3.97/$4.97) are GARGANTUAN. To call them “thick cut” doesn’t adequately capture the size of these deftly battered and fried beauties; we’re talking half an onion. They make a statement.
Save room for dessert. Shakes, cones, concretes and sundaes are made with your choice of chocolate or vanilla frozen custard ($3.47-5.97, depending on your order). No one ever said that “all-natural” meant heart healthy, but your stomach will be happy.
1735 Milwaukee Ave.