Chicago Tribune Burger Contest

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danimal15
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2005/06/14 17:23:22 (permalink)

Chicago Tribune Burger Contest

The Chicago Tribune recently held a contest for best burger in the Chicago area, and the top-five were Rosebud Steakhouse, Naha, Park Grill, Select Cut Steakhouse and Paradise Pup. (see article below)

The only real roadfood kind of place in the top five was Paradise Pup, in Des Plaines, where a burger cost just $3.49. I haven't been there, but would love to try it out.


Dining Guide

CHICAGO'S BEST BURGERS; 100 burgers. 34 judges. 4 rounds of competition. We have a winner (and runners-up)!

By Phil Vettel, Tribune staff reporter
2,091 words
14 June 2005
Chicago Tribune
Chicago Final
18
English
Copyright 2005, Chicago Tribune. All Rights Reserved.

There were times when I felt like a doofus for ordering a cheeseburger, taking a few bites and calling for the check.

But when you're eating four burgers in a single day, portion control is crucial.

Actually, I did that four-burgers-in-a-day thing twice. With just one day of rest in between.

And by most reckoning I had the easy job.

My 33 fellow colleagues, after all, were the ones who, over the course of one month and three rounds of judging, winnowed 100 burgers down to the elite eight finalists I was enjoying. They were the ones who filtered out the overcooked, underflavored and soggy also-rans.

Not that there were many outright rejects. A majority of the reader-nominated burgers were pretty darn good, according to the judges' reports. Chicago, known for deep-dish pizza, salad-on-a-bun hot dogs and the Italian beef sandwich, is one great burger town as well.

The last time we named Chicago's best burgers was in 1995. Not surprisingly, the results today are considerably different than they were then. Of this year's Top Five burger places, for instance, only one was in business when we conducted our 1995 search. And several of the top finishers from 10 years ago weren't around to compete this time.

What hasn't changed is the high level of competition. As was the case in 1995, some well-loved burger purveyors were eliminated in the very first round -- this time it was names such as Boston Blackie's, Charlie Beinlich's, Country House, Moody's Pub and the 1995 defending champion, Pete Miller's Steak House.

How did we pick? The main criteria were flavor and texture. We looked for burgers that had a good, beefy taste, were properly seasoned (judicious amounts of salt and pepper and not much else) and came with a bun that was both tasty and sturdy (buns that disintegrated because of the burger juices lost points).

We allowed our judges to order cheeseburgers or plain hamburgers, and permitted some leeway on preferred doneness, so long as they ordered each burger the same way. And we paid close attention to the accompaniments, including fries, which were judged separately. (More on fries and other discoveries from the first three rounds of judging are in the accompanying story on page 21.)

Judges were instructed not to be influenced by atmosphere. Frankly, I would have been just as happy if all our top burgers had originated from little mom-and-pop shacks. As it happened, four of our five top burger spots are more "high end" spots; possibly because restaurants that pay attention to the niceties of the table pay attention to food quality as well.

A number of our judges found even the first round -- in which they picked the one or two best burgers from a sampling of just four -- a difficult chore. More than once, a judge's written report would include words to the effect of, "I'm promoting [X and Y], but [Z] was sooooooo good!"

And when only eight burger places were left standing, I got the seemingly easy job of selecting a Top 5. I say "seemingly easy," because every burger in the final eight had been judged superior in three consecutive rounds. And always by a different judge.

So I got the job of splitting hairs, of determining the most pleasing tastes and textures from a field of excellent candidates. The early judges did nothing to make my job easy; every burger was very good.

But you have to land somewhere, and I did. Here, in order, are Chicago's Top Five burgers:

Rosebud Steakhouse

If you can get past the eerie feeling of ordering from a tuxedoed captain, this Streeterville steakhouse is Burger Heaven. The burger is a massive 12 ounces, and so juicy the kitchen should consider issuing bibs. The burger, cooked precisely to order, arrives on a soft but chewy pretzel-dough bun that handles the juicy meat without falling apart, and the flavor --with or without melted cheese -- is sensational. All this in an upscale steakhouse atmosphere that is superior in every way except attitude; you're treated the same here whether you order one of the $30 steaks or the $9 burger. And if you dine solo at the bar (perfect when you want to watch the ballgame), the bartender sets your place with a tablecloth -- actually an oversized napkin, but what a cool touch.

Naha

The second-best burger in town can be found in a restaurant that nobody considers to be a burger destination and that offers the burger only at lunch. But, says Naha owner and chef Carrie Nahabedian, "Even a fine-dining restaurant can put out a great burger," and indeed Naha does. The half-pound of Angus beef is cooked over wood (hickory and cherry) and arrives on a soft and sweet toasted onion-brioche bun. The flavor and texture are outstanding. And Nahabedian puts a lot of effort into the accompaniments; cheese aficionados can top their meat with such exotic choices as Hudson Valley camembert, Spanish manchego or Great Hill bleu (along with the more-familiar varieties). Tomatoes range from good Romas (now) to heirloom varieties (late summer). And the fries! Hand-made every morning from huge Idaho potatoes and tossed with sea salt and chopped parsley.

Park Grill

As if there weren't enough reasons to visit Millennium Park already this summer, now add the Park Grill burger to the list. Another half-pound vision of ground-beef Nirvana, this one wrapped in a soft multi-seed bun and packed with Angus-beef flavor. Various cheeses are available, though the signature choice is the Herkimer, a white cheddar from upstate New York, whose sharp flavor is a perfect complement to the beef. The fries, cooked in beef fat ("the right way," says chef Bernie Laskowski), are crisp and delicious. FYI: In the dining room, the burger is available at lunch only; at dinner there's a fancier (and much pricier) Kobe beef burger that, frankly, we like less than we do the lunch version. But when the outdoor restaurant, Park Grill on the Plaza, is open (i.e., if it's not raining), the regular burger is available lunch and dinner.

Select Cut Steakhouse

I've driven by this Lincoln Park restaurant a dozen times without ever stopping by, which is probably why the excellence of the burger was such a surprise. True to steakhouse tradition, owners Tony and Gail Munoz make their burgers from the trimmings that materialize from the hand-cut ribeye, New York strip and filet mignon steaks. The result is a burger that's a smidge leaner than most and has a distinct steaklike flavor; I even detected a little bleu-cheese tang to the meat, suggesting aging. Carpeted floors and cloth napkins add a little formality to a double dining room equipped with plenty of TVs for sports fans.

Paradise Pup

If the weather is merely decent, the line snakes out to the parking lot of this tiny Des Plaines burger shack, which has been run by brothers George and Anthony Manos for 22 years. There's plenty of parking but precious little room to sit; there's counter seating for 11 cramped people inside, and a few large picnic tables outside. And yet people line up, cash in hand (which is all Paradise Pup accepts) to order a char burger with various toppings, though the signature version is slathered with Merkt's, a cheddar crock cheese from Wisconsin. The operation is as low-frills as can be, but the burger, heavily charcoaled and cooked to about medium (no one asks how you'd like your burger cooked) has great flavor and is plenty juicy. And under $4. Seasoned or crinkle-cut fries cost a little extra, but if you're feeling adventurous, try the fries layered with Merkt cheddar, sour cream and bacon; it's like somebody exploded a stuffed baked potato.

THE 5 BEST

1. Rosebud Steakhouse

2. Naha

3. Park Grill

4. Select Cut Steakhouse

5. Paradise Pup

OTHER TOP CONTENDERS

Here are 11 other restaurants whose burgers made it to our third round of tastings.

Bristol Tap, Bristol

Candlelite, West Rogers Park

Hackney's, Palos Park and other locations

Hunker Down Steaks, Alsip

Jake Moran's, Mundelein

Medici, Hyde Park

Nick's Tavern, Lemont

Rockwell's Neighborhood Grill, Ravenswood

Silver Palm, River West

Square Kitchen, Lincoln Square

Wollensky's Grill, River North

1. Rosebud Steakhouse

192 E. Walton St.

312-397-1000

Name: Hamburger

Burger available: Dinner Mon.-Sun., opening at 3 p.m.

Price: $8.95

Size: 12 ounces

Meat: 80 percent lean prime ground beef

Bun: Pretzel roll

Comes with: Lettuce, wide tomato slices, pickle slices on the side, plus thin, crispy fries

Options: American, swiss, cheddar or bleu cheese ($1), sauteed mushrooms ($1), bacon ($1)

Flavor: Like a buttery steak

Texture: Medium-firm

Burger perfection.

Comments: So juicy you'll want a bib.

2. Naha

500 N. Clark St.

312-321-6242

Name: Angus beef burger

Burger available: Lunch only, Mon.-Fri.

Price: $10

Size: 8 ounces

Meat: 80 percent lean Certified Angus Beef

Bun: Onion brioche

Comes with: Caramelized onions, soft lettuce, tomatoes, house-made fries tossed with sea salt and chopped parsley

Options: More than a half-dozen cheeses (no charge), applewood-smoked bacon (no charge)

Flavor: Rich, beefy, juicy; perfectly seasoned

Texture: Dense

Comments: Fine cheeses and top-quality tomatoes make this burger the gourmet's choice.

3. Park Grill

11 N. Michigan Ave.

312-521-7275

Name: Park Grill Burger

Burger available: Lunch only indoors, lunch and dinner in outdoor plaza, Mon.-Sun.

Price: $9.95

Size: 8 ounces

Meat: 80 percent lean Black Angus ground chuck

Bun: Poppy- and sesame-seed brioche

Comes with: Lettuce, beefsteak tomato slices, grilled red onion, pickle spear and fries

Options: Cheese ($1), bacon ($1), balsamic grilled onions ($1), sauteed mushrooms ($1)

Flavor: Luxurious and robust

Texture: Firm; good "bite" to the meat

Comments: The signature Herkimer white-cheddar cheese is not to be missed.

4. Select Cut Steakhouse

2808 N. Halsted St.

773-244-1500

Name: Half-pound steakburger

Burger available: Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sun.

Price: $7 lunch; $7.95 dinner

Size: 8 ounces

Meat: 85 percent lean mix of steak trimmings, ground in the kitchen

Bun: Sesame seed, from MaryAnn Bakeries

Comes with: Lettuce, tomato slice, pickle spear, steak fries

Options: American, swiss, cheddar or mozzarella cheese (50 cents).

Flavor: Very beefy, with a tang reminiscent of bleu cheese

Texture: Thick and firm; uniform consistency

Comments: Who needs steak with a burger this good?

5. Paradise Pup

1724 S. River Rd., Des Plaines

847-699-8590

Name: Char burger

Burger available: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat.

Price: $3.49

Size: 6 ounces

Meat: 80 percent lean ground chuck

Bun: Egg challah with sesame seeds

Comes with: "Everything" includes lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard

Options: Grilled or raw onions; Merkt's crock cheddar, American or mozzarella cheese (30 cents); crinkle-cut or Cajun fries ($1.29-$1.69)

Flavor: Plenty of exterior char

Texture: Soft and very juicy

Comments: If you love a real charcoal taste, this is your burger.
#1

16 Replies Related Threads

    chicagostyledog
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    RE: Chicago Tribune Burger Contest 2005/06/14 18:22:24 (permalink)
    Danimal, if you want a great burger, go to Whole Foods in Deerfield and purchase a couple of their ground sirloin patties. Cook them fresh, not frozen. Add your favorite cheese(I prefer Merkt's sharp cheddar).If I'm wrong, I owe you. The finest greasy cheeseburgers are just north of you in Kenosha & Racine: The Spot Dive-In in Kenosha and Kewpee's Sandwich Shop in Racine. None Better!

    CSD
    #2
    michaelgemmell
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    RE: Chicago Tribune Burger Contest 2005/06/14 19:17:02 (permalink)
    I saw that Trib article in living color on our very nice monitor this morning. It has been bothering me since. Wasn't that cruel of them to put that picture on the main page of their website?

    My brother took me to Boston Blackie's about 5 years ago. I remember not being totally satisfied. Wasn't it Michael's Red Hots in Highland Park that had the great cheeseburgers with Merkt and cheddar fries?

    I will be back again this August. What about this Candlelight in West Rogers Park?
    #3
    jeepguy
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    RE: Chicago Tribune Burger Contest 2005/06/14 19:40:42 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by danimal15

    The Chicago Tribune recently held a contest for best burger in the Chicago area, and the top-five were Rosebud Steakhouse, Naha, Park Grill, Select Cut Steakhouse and Paradise Pup. (see article below)

    The only real roadfood kind of place in the top five was Paradise Pup, in Des Plaines, where a burger cost just $3.49. I haven't been there, but would love to try it out.


    Dining Guide

    CHICAGO'S BEST BURGERS; 100 burgers. 34 judges. 4 rounds of competition. We have a winner (and runners-up)!

    By Phil Vettel, Tribune staff reporter
    2,091 words
    14 June 2005
    Chicago Tribune
    Chicago Final
    18
    English
    Copyright 2005, Chicago Tribune. All Rights Reserved.

    There were times when I felt like a doofus for ordering a cheeseburger, taking a few bites and calling for the check.

    But when you're eating four burgers in a single day, portion control is crucial.

    Actually, I did that four-burgers-in-a-day thing twice. With just one day of rest in between.

    And by most reckoning I had the easy job.

    My 33 fellow colleagues, after all, were the ones who, over the course of one month and three rounds of judging, winnowed 100 burgers down to the elite eight finalists I was enjoying. They were the ones who filtered out the overcooked, underflavored and soggy also-rans.

    Not that there were many outright rejects. A majority of the reader-nominated burgers were pretty darn good, according to the judges' reports. Chicago, known for deep-dish pizza, salad-on-a-bun hot dogs and the Italian beef sandwich, is one great burger town as well.

    The last time we named Chicago's best burgers was in 1995. Not surprisingly, the results today are considerably different than they were then. Of this year's Top Five burger places, for instance, only one was in business when we conducted our 1995 search. And several of the top finishers from 10 years ago weren't around to compete this time.

    What hasn't changed is the high level of competition. As was the case in 1995, some well-loved burger purveyors were eliminated in the very first round -- this time it was names such as Boston Blackie's, Charlie Beinlich's, Country House, Moody's Pub and the 1995 defending champion, Pete Miller's Steak House.

    How did we pick? The main criteria were flavor and texture. We looked for burgers that had a good, beefy taste, were properly seasoned (judicious amounts of salt and pepper and not much else) and came with a bun that was both tasty and sturdy (buns that disintegrated because of the burger juices lost points).

    We allowed our judges to order cheeseburgers or plain hamburgers, and permitted some leeway on preferred doneness, so long as they ordered each burger the same way. And we paid close attention to the accompaniments, including fries, which were judged separately. (More on fries and other discoveries from the first three rounds of judging are in the accompanying story on page 21.)

    Judges were instructed not to be influenced by atmosphere. Frankly, I would have been just as happy if all our top burgers had originated from little mom-and-pop shacks. As it happened, four of our five top burger spots are more "high end" spots; possibly because restaurants that pay attention to the niceties of the table pay attention to food quality as well.

    A number of our judges found even the first round -- in which they picked the one or two best burgers from a sampling of just four -- a difficult chore. More than once, a judge's written report would include words to the effect of, "I'm promoting [X and Y], but [Z] was sooooooo good!"

    And when only eight burger places were left standing, I got the seemingly easy job of selecting a Top 5. I say "seemingly easy," because every burger in the final eight had been judged superior in three consecutive rounds. And always by a different judge.

    So I got the job of splitting hairs, of determining the most pleasing tastes and textures from a field of excellent candidates. The early judges did nothing to make my job easy; every burger was very good.

    But you have to land somewhere, and I did. Here, in order, are Chicago's Top Five burgers:

    Rosebud Steakhouse

    If you can get past the eerie feeling of ordering from a tuxedoed captain, this Streeterville steakhouse is Burger Heaven. The burger is a massive 12 ounces, and so juicy the kitchen should consider issuing bibs. The burger, cooked precisely to order, arrives on a soft but chewy pretzel-dough bun that handles the juicy meat without falling apart, and the flavor --with or without melted cheese -- is sensational. All this in an upscale steakhouse atmosphere that is superior in every way except attitude; you're treated the same here whether you order one of the $30 steaks or the $9 burger. And if you dine solo at the bar (perfect when you want to watch the ballgame), the bartender sets your place with a tablecloth -- actually an oversized napkin, but what a cool touch.

    Naha

    The second-best burger in town can be found in a restaurant that nobody considers to be a burger destination and that offers the burger only at lunch. But, says Naha owner and chef Carrie Nahabedian, "Even a fine-dining restaurant can put out a great burger," and indeed Naha does. The half-pound of Angus beef is cooked over wood (hickory and cherry) and arrives on a soft and sweet toasted onion-brioche bun. The flavor and texture are outstanding. And Nahabedian puts a lot of effort into the accompaniments; cheese aficionados can top their meat with such exotic choices as Hudson Valley camembert, Spanish manchego or Great Hill bleu (along with the more-familiar varieties). Tomatoes range from good Romas (now) to heirloom varieties (late summer). And the fries! Hand-made every morning from huge Idaho potatoes and tossed with sea salt and chopped parsley.

    Park Grill

    As if there weren't enough reasons to visit Millennium Park already this summer, now add the Park Grill burger to the list. Another half-pound vision of ground-beef Nirvana, this one wrapped in a soft multi-seed bun and packed with Angus-beef flavor. Various cheeses are available, though the signature choice is the Herkimer, a white cheddar from upstate New York, whose sharp flavor is a perfect complement to the beef. The fries, cooked in beef fat ("the right way," says chef Bernie Laskowski), are crisp and delicious. FYI: In the dining room, the burger is available at lunch only; at dinner there's a fancier (and much pricier) Kobe beef burger that, frankly, we like less than we do the lunch version. But when the outdoor restaurant, Park Grill on the Plaza, is open (i.e., if it's not raining), the regular burger is available lunch and dinner.

    Select Cut Steakhouse

    I've driven by this Lincoln Park restaurant a dozen times without ever stopping by, which is probably why the excellence of the burger was such a surprise. True to steakhouse tradition, owners Tony and Gail Munoz make their burgers from the trimmings that materialize from the hand-cut ribeye, New York strip and filet mignon steaks. The result is a burger that's a smidge leaner than most and has a distinct steaklike flavor; I even detected a little bleu-cheese tang to the meat, suggesting aging. Carpeted floors and cloth napkins add a little formality to a double dining room equipped with plenty of TVs for sports fans.

    Paradise Pup

    If the weather is merely decent, the line snakes out to the parking lot of this tiny Des Plaines burger shack, which has been run by brothers George and Anthony Manos for 22 years. There's plenty of parking but precious little room to sit; there's counter seating for 11 cramped people inside, and a few large picnic tables outside. And yet people line up, cash in hand (which is all Paradise Pup accepts) to order a char burger with various toppings, though the signature version is slathered with Merkt's, a cheddar crock cheese from Wisconsin. The operation is as low-frills as can be, but the burger, heavily charcoaled and cooked to about medium (no one asks how you'd like your burger cooked) has great flavor and is plenty juicy. And under $4. Seasoned or crinkle-cut fries cost a little extra, but if you're feeling adventurous, try the fries layered with Merkt cheddar, sour cream and bacon; it's like somebody exploded a stuffed baked potato.

    THE 5 BEST

    1. Rosebud Steakhouse

    2. Naha

    3. Park Grill

    4. Select Cut Steakhouse

    5. Paradise Pup

    OTHER TOP CONTENDERS

    Here are 11 other restaurants whose burgers made it to our third round of tastings.

    Bristol Tap, Bristol

    Candlelite, West Rogers Park

    Hackney's, Palos Park and other locations

    Hunker Down Steaks, Alsip

    Jake Moran's, Mundelein

    Medici, Hyde Park

    Nick's Tavern, Lemont

    Rockwell's Neighborhood Grill, Ravenswood

    Silver Palm, River West

    Square Kitchen, Lincoln Square

    Wollensky's Grill, River North

    1. Rosebud Steakhouse

    192 E. Walton St.

    312-397-1000

    Name: Hamburger

    Burger available: Dinner Mon.-Sun., opening at 3 p.m.

    Price: $8.95

    Size: 12 ounces

    Meat: 80 percent lean prime ground beef

    Bun: Pretzel roll

    Comes with: Lettuce, wide tomato slices, pickle slices on the side, plus thin, crispy fries

    Options: American, swiss, cheddar or bleu cheese ($1), sauteed mushrooms ($1), bacon ($1)

    Flavor: Like a buttery steak

    Texture: Medium-firm

    Burger perfection.

    Comments: So juicy you'll want a bib.

    2. Naha

    500 N. Clark St.

    312-321-6242

    Name: Angus beef burger

    Burger available: Lunch only, Mon.-Fri.

    Price: $10

    Size: 8 ounces

    Meat: 80 percent lean Certified Angus Beef

    Bun: Onion brioche

    Comes with: Caramelized onions, soft lettuce, tomatoes, house-made fries tossed with sea salt and chopped parsley

    Options: More than a half-dozen cheeses (no charge), applewood-smoked bacon (no charge)

    Flavor: Rich, beefy, juicy; perfectly seasoned

    Texture: Dense

    Comments: Fine cheeses and top-quality tomatoes make this burger the gourmet's choice.

    3. Park Grill

    11 N. Michigan Ave.

    312-521-7275

    Name: Park Grill Burger

    Burger available: Lunch only indoors, lunch and dinner in outdoor plaza, Mon.-Sun.

    Price: $9.95

    Size: 8 ounces

    Meat: 80 percent lean Black Angus ground chuck

    Bun: Poppy- and sesame-seed brioche

    Comes with: Lettuce, beefsteak tomato slices, grilled red onion, pickle spear and fries

    Options: Cheese ($1), bacon ($1), balsamic grilled onions ($1), sauteed mushrooms ($1)

    Flavor: Luxurious and robust

    Texture: Firm; good "bite" to the meat

    Comments: The signature Herkimer white-cheddar cheese is not to be missed.

    4. Select Cut Steakhouse

    2808 N. Halsted St.

    773-244-1500

    Name: Half-pound steakburger

    Burger available: Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sun.

    Price: $7 lunch; $7.95 dinner

    Size: 8 ounces

    Meat: 85 percent lean mix of steak trimmings, ground in the kitchen

    Bun: Sesame seed, from MaryAnn Bakeries

    Comes with: Lettuce, tomato slice, pickle spear, steak fries

    Options: American, swiss, cheddar or mozzarella cheese (50 cents).

    Flavor: Very beefy, with a tang reminiscent of bleu cheese

    Texture: Thick and firm; uniform consistency

    Comments: Who needs steak with a burger this good?

    5. Paradise Pup

    1724 S. River Rd., Des Plaines

    847-699-8590

    Name: Char burger

    Burger available: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat.

    Price: $3.49

    Size: 6 ounces

    Meat: 80 percent lean ground chuck

    Bun: Egg challah with sesame seeds

    Comes with: "Everything" includes lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard

    Options: Grilled or raw onions; Merkt's crock cheddar, American or mozzarella cheese (30 cents); crinkle-cut or Cajun fries ($1.29-$1.69)

    Flavor: Plenty of exterior char

    Texture: Soft and very juicy

    Comments: If you love a real charcoal taste, this is your burger.

    Danimal, next time you know you'll be down in Des Plaines around lunchtime or Sat, let me know! Actually they'll cook your burger not so charred if you want. Good guys, fun place! I work in downtown DP so it's a no brainer. Thanks for posting that article!
    #4
    BuddyRoadhouse
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    RE: Chicago Tribune Burger Contest 2005/06/14 20:09:28 (permalink)
    Danimal and jeepguy, if you're serious about a bite at Paradise Pup, count me in! I live and work about thirty seconds from their place. Having enjoyed many of their burgers (and hotdogs, and fries, and polish, and...well you get the idea) I was truly pleased by this well deserved ranking.

    I drove past this afternoon about 1 o'clock and, thanks to the article, the line seemed to be longer than usual. If you really want to stop in, let me suggest waiting a couple weeks. And even then we'll want to arrive early, before the crowd starts lining up.

    Keep me in mind if you go. My e-mail is BuddyRoadhouse@hotmail.com
    #5
    chicagostyledog
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    RE: Chicago Tribune Burger Contest 2005/06/14 23:36:22 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by michaelgemmell

    Wasn't it Michael's Red Hots in Highland Park that had the great cheeseburgers with Merkt and cheddar fries?


    It's Poochie's in Skokie on Dempster that has a great cheeseburgers & cheddar fries made with Merkt's cheddar cheese.
    #6
    BuddyRoadhouse
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    RE: Chicago Tribune Burger Contest 2005/06/15 20:54:34 (permalink)
    Although, Michael's makes a fine product too.
    #7
    danimal15
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    RE: Chicago Tribune Burger Contest 2005/06/16 09:37:09 (permalink)
    I'm actually not that much of a hamburger person. Can't remember the last time I had one. But that article got me in the mood. Maybe I'll head over to Des Plaines sometime soon.

    Dan
    #8
    Sundancer7
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    RE: Chicago Tribune Burger Contest 2005/06/16 10:04:19 (permalink)
    Danimal: Very good write up and I will bet a East Tennesse dollar that you enjoyed the judging. We in East Tennessee do not have the diversity in product that you have in Chicago. We have our best in the area but I am sure that it will not compete to the likes of the big city.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #9
    twodales
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    RE: Chicago Tribune Burger Contest 2005/06/20 17:45:31 (permalink)
    I stopped in to Paradise Pup today because the line looked more reasonable than it has been lately thanks to the Tribune article. I asked how the new "celebrities" were doing and George said he really earned his day off yesterday! I drove by twice last week and have never seen the lines so long. According to one of the owners, folks were waiting 1 to 1 1/2 hours last week. Today my wait was 30 minutes. I know jeep guy and myself have touted this place a few times here and I have hoped that Michael Stern and you other roadfooders will try it and like it. (Try the three way fries if you go [sour cream, bacon and Merkt's cheddar] it's okay to share.) I have mixed feelings about the new found celebrity status though and hope that it stays as good as it has been for many years.
    Today I went for the grilled chicken breast and the elusive Black Cherry drink. My daughter went for the cheddar burger with an Oreo shake. I saw a few out-of-state plates and the parking was nuttier than usual but the quality hasn't faltered.
    #10
    ChiTownDiner
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    RE: Chicago Tribune Burger Contest 2006/10/28 16:41:50 (permalink)
    Finally got around to paradise, Paradise Pup that is. My oldest son and I just returned from suburban DesPlaines and a roadfood adventure to Paradise Pup. The line was out the door and up to the back parking, about 20 minutes worth I'd say. As it was our first visit, we went straight for the traditional stuff. We each had a 1/3 pound Cheddar Burger. The burger was fantastic and reasonably priced. Great char flavor and done to perfection. It comes with ketchup, mayo, lettuce, tomato and grilled or raw onions. We did a minus ketchup with grilled onions. The burger was so juicy, and the Merkt's Wisconsin cheddar was thick and flavorful. Consumption was marked by total silence and awe! Automobile dining at its finest.

    Next up, we split the Paradise Dog with the usual Chicago toppings. Paradise does include pickle spear, tomato and cucumber slice in addition to the usual stuff. The dog was pretty good, and by itself might have been even better. Next up in this triple crown of dining, came the Cheddar Dog, again with a fine (and substantial) layer of Merkt's cheddar. We added raw onions and mustard to this one. Great mix of flavors. Once again, fantastic.

    My son is a traditional french fry guy, so he had the regular fries. Me - I was a Merkt's mission and finsihed it off with some Merkt's cheese fries. Black cherry, still listed on the board was now wild grape, and two larges to wash it all down it was. The tab - $21.40, about 2/3 the cost of Super Dawg last month.

    With a much more diverse menu than say a Gene & Jude's, we've got a lot more trips in us to Paradise Pup. Folks in the line were really friendly and everyone had their recommendations. The shakes looked great, can't wait to try the Very Rasberry. The Three Way Fries sound awesome, but every order will start with the Merkt's Burger. I am surpised this is not a full Roadfood recommendation as I'm not sure there is any clearer definition of Roadfood than this.

    Give me 24 hours and I'm ready to go!
    #11
    phatphil
    Double Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 669
    • Joined: 2005/09/25 18:41:00
    • Location: loxahatchee, FL
    • Status: offline
    RE: Chicago Tribune Burger Contest 2006/10/30 17:43:54 (permalink)
    CSD ONLY YOU WOULD KNOW WHAT KIND OF CHEEZ IS IN THAT JUG ON THE EDGE OF THE GRILLE AT POOCHIES...BUT ITS THE WAY ITS SPREAD ON AND NOT MELTED ON THE BURGER THATS AWESOME
    #12
    chicagostyledog
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 3300
    • Joined: 2003/09/10 16:13:00
    • Location: Hot Dog University Chicago, IL
    • Status: offline
    RE: Chicago Tribune Burger Contest 2006/11/16 19:46:26 (permalink)
    I had a char cheddar burger with grilled onions at Paradise Pup for lunch today. On a scale of 1-10, it was on top. Bun was fresh and soft. Burger was absolutely excellent, char grilled medium rare. The grilled onions were outstanding and the Merkt's cheddar cheese was perfect. This burger was so good, if I were to become a regular customer, I'd probably have a heart attack in front of the grill and go directly to hamburger heaven holding that crock of Merkt's cheese in my hand.

    CSD
    #13
    BuddyRoadhouse
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 4211
    • Joined: 2004/12/10 20:06:00
    • Location: Des Plaines, IL
    • Status: offline
    RE: Chicago Tribune Burger Contest 2006/11/16 20:17:36 (permalink)
    ...And you didn't call to say hello while you were in the neighborhood??? I'm a little hurt.

    But I'll manage.

    Buddy
    #14
    chicagostyledog
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 3300
    • Joined: 2003/09/10 16:13:00
    • Location: Hot Dog University Chicago, IL
    • Status: offline
    RE: Chicago Tribune Burger Contest 2006/11/16 22:34:08 (permalink)
    Buddy,
    What can I say? It was a spur of the moment thing. My first stop in Illinois was Vernon Hills. Second stop was Restaurant Depot in Des Plaines to pick up a Vienna Beef lean corned beef for Thanksgiving dinner. We eat so much turkey during the year, we decided to have corned beef. While at Restaurant Depot, I ran into Gus from the Wiener & Still Champion. While crusing north on River Road, I happened to discover by Paradise Pup. I never knew where the place was and always thought it was on Mannheim. It was 11:30. There was parking in the lot and I was hungry. Didn't have your number or would have called.

    Happy Thanksgiving.

    CSD
    #15
    Luvstoeat
    Hamburger
    • Total Posts : 88
    • Joined: 2004/07/21 13:32:00
    • Location: Morton Grove, IL
    • Status: offline
    RE: Chicago Tribune Burger Contest 2006/11/16 22:44:42 (permalink)
    CSD
    Musta been the day for it....I was standing in line outside of "PP" at 12:30 today!
    Sssshhhh.....don't tell Mrs. Luvstoeat...
    #16
    BuddyRoadhouse
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 4211
    • Joined: 2004/12/10 20:06:00
    • Location: Des Plaines, IL
    • Status: offline
    RE: Chicago Tribune Burger Contest 2006/11/16 23:15:09 (permalink)
    Geez, if you'da called me, all we'd need is tsores to come down from North Chicago to reunite the original Great Chicagoland Italian Beef Tour organizing committee.

    Missing youse guys,

    Buddy
    #17
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