183 Thurman Ave., German Village
The Thurman Cafe has recently received some high-profile press, including a segment on the Travel Channel's Man vs. Food. So, yeah, the nation is finally discovering what the hometown crowd has known for years: The German Village standby serves delicious burgers in a cozy, vintage setting.
In fact, from the outside, the Thurman looks like a perfect place to grab a quick bite after strolling through Schiller Park. But those who make their first trip there on this recommendation should be warned: You don't mess with a Thurman burger.
I mean it. This isn't a value-menu imposter or some gimmick famous for being served with gourmet cheese. Since 1942, the Suclescy family has served burgers made for burger people, by burger people.
Currently, there are 17 burgers on the menu, including unique concoctions like the Jaeger Burger and the Hot & Spicy Salsa Burger. Each is a three-quarter-pound patty topped with quality trimmings. They're too delicious to leave behind, too big to finish, so consider fasting and cancel your appointments.
If you're feeling especially adventurous, try something called The Thurmanator. It's two regular patties with bacon, sauteed onions, mushrooms and other fixings. When assembled, this boom king weighs about three pounds.
Runners up: Max & Erma's, Northstar Cafe