By Mason Johnson
2900 West Belmont Avenue
Chicago, IL 60618
666 West Diversey Parkway
Chicago, IL 60657
What can I tell you about a burger from Kuma’s? It’ll be big and it’ll be juicy. Nicely salted and pleasantly seasoned, it will have enough substance to please, but doesn’t overpower the great taste of the meat.
Which is what matters, right? The meat.
And it’s on a pretzel bun.
AND they’ve got a Led Zeppelin burger!
There are those who say Kuma’s used to be better. Who say there used to be a different head cook — a shaman or something — who made heavenly burgers with nothing but pure ingenuity! One day this shaman was murdered or fired or quit or returned to Middle Earth or something, and then the quality supposedly dropped. Is this true? Who knows. Does this mean the burgers aren’t good? Not at all. These burgers rock.
They’ve got more than burgers too. They’ve got mac & cheese with bacon in it, they’ve got handcut fries, what more could you want?
Oh, waffle fries? Yeah, they don’t got those anymore.
Personally, I miss them. I get why that would annoy them. They’ve theoretically put effort into finding better, homemade fries for me to stuff into my mouth. Yet here I am, dreaming about the inferior waffle cut fries. Maybe it’s the shape I loved… Who knows. I just don’t care too much about their new fries (“new” might not be the right term since, by my calculation, they’ve been around for over a year).
When it comes to toppings, they’ve got a long list, which provides with a buttload of themed burgers. My favorite is the aforementioned Led Zeppelin (pulled pork, bacon, cheddar and pickles). Pulled pork is no longer a rarity on a bar burger, there’s a handful (like a big handful, like an Andre the Giant handful) of bars where you can put pulled pork on your burger. Regardless, this is the first spot I had it on a burger.
You always remember your first.
The signature Kuma burger keeps it simple: bacon, fried egg and cheddar. Honestly, you can’t find anything wrong with something this simple.
What else can you get on a burger? A pile of fries, garlic pork, mustard braised onion, chorizo, roasted poblano peppers… all kinds of wonderful crap. At this point in Chicago’s burger history, there’s a slew of places that have long insane lists of stuff you can get on your burger. Kuma’s isn’t any different, they’ve got a nice long list, all of it’s quality, well made grub that won’t take away from an already good burger.
As far as beer goes, they’ve got a few good drafts from Great Lakes, Metropolitan, Three Floyds and more, along with a pretty long list of bottled beer. So, you know, you’re not going to go thirsty.
All in all, Kuma’s definitely serves up one of the best burgers in Chicago. The restaurant is cramped and plays music so loud you can’t hear yourself speak, let alone the people you’re with, but who cares about talking to your friends when you’ve got something this delicious in front of you. Plus, the city now has double the Kuma’s now that Kuma’s Too has opened on Diversey. Honestly, I can’t find a single reason for you to NOT go to Kuma’s. So, you know, go.