The double burger with cheese at Edzo's Burger Shop in Lincoln Park (Lenny Gilmore/RedEye )
Burger review: Edzo's Burger Shop
2218 N. Lincoln Ave. 773-697-9909
Rating: !!! (out of 4)
As a fearless seeker of fine burgers, The Great Burgerelli makes a concerted effort to stay attuned to what local burger lovers are buzzing about. It is for that reason that I can say with certainty that one of the most talked-about burgers in greater Chicagoland is Edzo's Burger Shop. Because Edzo's is located in the north suburb of Evanston and my professional burger adventures are focused on the Chicago proper—technicalities, technicalities—it is an unfortunate truth that I have not had the opportunity to dine there. I know I am not alone, as many fellow Chicagoans also found that Edzo's early closing time of 4 p.m. made paying theshopa visit most inconvenient.
Until now, that is. As if a holiday gift from the oh-so-gracious burger gods, a Chicago location of Edzo's Burger Shop, complete with awnings a bright shade of mustard, opened in Lincoln Park last week. After hearing repeat praise for Edzo's burgers, fries and milkshakes, I prepared myself to sample all three.
The burger: Few establishments have the time, capacity or desire to grind beef on-site, but Edzo's is one of those rare few. Craving a bit more sustenance than the single four-ounce griddled burger ($3.89), I chose the double ($5.89) and was rewarded with two sizzling patties, both with the tell-tale ruffled edge that results from a thorough spatula press on a hot griddle. One can upgrade one's choice of meat to all-natural beef from Slagel Family Farm or grass-fed beef from Q7 Ranch, both in Illinois, for an upcharge of $2 or $3 per patty, respectively. I found the basic ground chuck to be juicy and flavorful, with a bit of pink still lingering in the center. I imagine that only the most monstrous of appetites would need to resort to ordering the triple burger ($8.09). Reportedly, Edzo's original location serves an 8-ounce charburger in addition to its stackable griddled burgers; however, that shall remain a thing of burger lore as far as I am concerned, as only the griddled burgers are sold here (due to lack of space for a char grill, I am told).
The bun: This flaky, fluffy bun provides a splendid bread-to-burger ratio—it is not too thin, nor too thick—but after a half dozen or so bites, the bottom bun began to develop a number of cracks. As the structural integrity of the lower bun continued to worsen, my only choice for salvation was to flip the burger over and support the weight using the top bun, which was still very much intact.
The fixings: If you order your burger with "everything," you will receive ketchup, mustard, pickle and onion. The absence of the traditional lettuce leaf and tomato slice could be considered sacrilege in the Burgerelli household; however, once distracted by the crunchy pickle chips and ample cheddar cheese cascading off the patty's edge (75 cents extra), I did not find myself missing them much. I later found that, though they are not listed on the menu, tomato, lettuce or grilled onion can be added for no additional charge. Garlic butter, giardiniera or jalapenos are on hand for 50 cents, while bacon, mushrooms or fried egg cost $1.
The fries: One must only look behind the counter to see how fundamental fries are to the Edzo's operation. No fewer than four fryer baskets were filled with hand-cut pieces of potato and poised above the oil reservoir, awaiting the imminent lunch rush. The choice is not whether you should order Edzo's splendidly crispy fries—the answer to "would you like fries with that?" should always be "Yes"—but rather what kind of fries to order. There are cheese fries ($3.79) laden with rich, thick Merkt's cheddar, or the truffle fries ($5.49) sprinkled with parmesan and truffle salt. Then there are the Taylor Street Fries with sweet peppers, giardiniera and Italian beef gravy ($4.69) and the Angry Fries ($4.29), with buffalo sauce, jalapenos, giardiniera and sriracha. I also must make mention of the twice-fried Old Fries, which are a must for those who prefer their fries crispy. The small order of fries ($1.69) is plenty for one person, though the fries with fancy fixings come in just one (larger) size that is more suited for splitting.
The shakes: The fine folks at Edzo's do have a sense of humor, as evidenced by the reference to one of my favorite burger movies, "Pulp Fiction," on the milkshake menu, which advertises The Five Dollar Milkshake for $4. Traditional flavors include vanilla, strawberry and chocolate, although the case of Nutella stowed beneath the shake station suggested that flavor was also quite popular. Seasonal flavors, such as the salted caramel shake I tried, actually do cost $5; I was satisfied with the flavor (rich), texture (thick, but not overwhelmingly so) and the volume (one paper cup plus leftovers served in the soda fountain-style metal cup).
The bottom line: My dear, dear Edzo's, what took you so long? Quibbles about the bun aside, I found this to be a decent burger indeed. If management decides to extend Edzo's hours to 8 p.m.—which has been talked about but not set in stone—at any point in the future, I expect that it will be embraced even more fully by Chicago's burger lovers. P.S. Though I do not concern myself with anything beyond the noble burger, I must also point out that with the recent shuttering of America's Dog up the street, I would be willing to wager that Edzo's hot dogs, brats and Polish sausages will be met with a warm welcome as well.
Edzo's is open 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. firstname.lastname@example.org.