If there’s one thing that Chicago loves most, it’s meat. I’d put it up there above all of our sports teams and above our phenomenal beer scene. There’s just nothing we love more than a juicy slab of beef. While there are plenty of burger huts to choose from, Edzo’s is a favorite among locals. Okay, Evanston is not technically Chicago, but I’m not going to include this as a post about traveling so suck it. Plus, there’s also a Lincoln Park location, though they lack the famous char burger.
Anyway, this modest counter has no frills, save their illustrated chalkboard menu. When you walk in the door, you may even feel underwhelmed by the tacky tiled floor and fluorescent lights, but you’ll soon discover an upscale approach to the simple burger. While plain, the eatery is smartly laid out: deep enough to handle a long line but not too open as to feel empty on slower days. The staff is very friendly, even as you point a camera in each of their faces. Edzo’s is more laid back than many spots within the city limits.
A burger joint must excel in three simple categories: milkshakes, fries and, of course, burgers.
Their milkshakes are made on an old-fashioned spindle machine, resulting in a unforgettably creamy sip. You can choose from the classic flavors as well as more interesting options like chocolate peanut butter. If you’re looking for something fruity, come in the summer time. Edzo’s only has fruit milkshakes when the season provides the best fruit. The delectable shakes are pretty large and cost $4.75 each. We went for the mint cookies and cream, which was damn fine. The picture below is just half a shake, about all I could handle.
The fries are fresh-cut through out the day. There are tons of options, from truffle to buffalo to garlic. My love of heat steered me towards the angry fries. While I expected a crispy pile of spicy seasoning, I received a mushy pile of giardiniera- and hot sauce-soaked fries. That’s not how I enjoy my fries, so I can’t fairly judge their quality. Next time I’ll keep it simple and go for the twice-fried old fries.
This place gives you a some room for customization. You can build your own burger, beginning with either a 4 oz griddle burger or an 8 oz char burger. From there, you get your choice of whole wheat or white buns and and the usual line up of toppings. You can even choose to upgrade to locally-sourced, humanely raised beef patties for $3 per 4 oz, an option I’m never one to resist.
The griddle burgers are nice and thin, but not greasy nor flimsy. I ordered the Dillo Day ’14, a very special burger with the 4 oz patty split into two crisp, juicy disks made with 28 day dry aged beef from CDK farms sandwiching a parmesan-encrusted patty of Merkt’s Cheddar mac n’ cheese. The beast was studded with piccadilly relish. It was awesomely cheesy, which saved the dry, overcooked patties.
On the other hand, we also ordered the tribute burger, which was animal style. This means that the burger is topped with American cheese, caramelized onions, special sauce and all the other typical fixings. My only other experience with an animal style was at In-N-Out burger so this is what I was expecting:
Unfortunately, the burger I got was flat and even dry. The crazy animal toppings were tame, the patties were overcooked, the tomato was mushy and the lettuce, along with the dense bun, was assaulting the entire dainty sandwich. And why were the pickles at the bottom? Dillo Day made up for Tribute’s shortcomings, but I still felt a little unsatisfied. It’s just not enough food.
I enjoyed my lunch at Edzo’s, but so far my favorite burger shop is Butcher and the Burger in Lincoln Park.