Whether you like yours relatively plain or stacked with several patties, oozing with cheese and onions and smothered in a tangy sauce, food critics largely agree that “the best” burger places build signature versions that stand out from the crowd. That's exactly what the following four burger establishments near North Aurora and Romeoville do best.
Take a big, broad hint from the name: Gillerson's Grubbery shuns fussy, fancy food in favor of burgers you need to pick up with both hands, “knowing the juice will run down your chin.” Gillerson's buys only local ground beef to create “handcrafted” burgers of the highest quality, crowns them with some creative toppings. The Buddha Burger (with blue cheese and beer-braised onions and bacon), Momma Duke's (with sharp cheddar and Cajun mayonnaise) and The Gavinator (with cremini mushrooms and roasted sweet peppers) are three of their popular signature burgers, all served on pretzel buns.
Step into M Burger and prepare to be overcome by a bit of nostalgia. These meaty burgers stand proudly on their own, but try pairing them with a homemade milkshake, malt or float, or wedge fries tossed in sea salt. The prices will inspire double-takes, as even the Double M Burger costs just under $7. In fact, all the burgers on the menu are available as singles or doubles. The Hurt Burger—with homemade barbecue sauce, pickles, onion and pepperjack cheese—might be too tempting not to order.
He was a big, beefy defensive tackle for the Superbowl-winning Chicago Bears, so naturally you'd expect Steve “Mongo” McMichael to serve similar style burgers at his namesake restaurant in Romeoville. Decide if you're ready to take the “Mongo Challenge” by eating a 1-pound Angus beef burger topped with cheese, bacon and onion straws. If you polish it off in one sitting, you'll win an autographed T-shirt from McMichael himself.
Otherwise, take your pick from the full list of “Da Burgers” on the menu, including the Black and Blue Burger, the Mongo Honey Bear Barbecue Burger and the Big Steve Burger. You're reading the signs right—Mongo McMichael's caters to big appetites.
Downtown Lemont is one of those places you visit for the ambiance, and Nick's Tavern is one of the establishments that unrolls one of the plushest welcome mats of all. Since opening in 1945, the dark-paneled walls and high-top bar have remained virtually unchanged, and the comfort is exceeded only by the comfort food served in ample quantities.
Three standouts are favored among locals: the Nickburger, Nickcheeseburger and the smaller, Little Nickburger. Nick's Tavern also is home to a savory patty melt, topped with grilled onions and served on rye as dark and rich as the aura of Nick's itself.
After feasting on a 1/4-, 1/2- or even one-pound burger, you'll want to switch from “comfort food” mode to relaxing in comfort at your Springs Apartments home.