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Kuma’s isn’t the easiest place to get to. It’s in Chicago but not anywhere near the city center. And once you get out there, you’ll have to wait for your table. And waiting at (or near) the bar is exquisite torture because there’s a line up of folks at the bar chowing down on the best hamburgers and macaroni and cheese you’ll ever come across.


While in Chicago, my daily dining options have come down to this: Mexican, or burgers.

I was very fortunate because when we got to Kuma’s, we didn’t have to wait as long as the few hours that sometimes is necessary since the place is so popular. Even so, a sturdy Jack Daniel’s on the rocks made my wait a little easier. But truly it was hard to see everyone eating around us while I sipped my little glass of whiskey and wait for a table to open up.

macaroni & cheese

When the magic moment arrived and we slid into our table, the waitress handed us menus with a long list of burgers, plus a list of ingredients to customize your mac and cheese. Because once you see both on the other tables, you’d be a fool not to order both. We knew we were in for a lot of meat and carbs, so it was decided that in addition to smoked bacon, we’d get peas with our macaroni and cheese. (None of those new-fangled sun-dried tomatoes for us.)

It turns out that was a good call and we dove into the enormous mound of pasta elbows cooked in soft, rich, creamy cheese with a dusting of crusty bread crumbs and scallions on top like it was a drug, digging our spoons in repeatedly, unable to stop – even though we knew what was coming up next.

Hippies use back door whiskey

I had made up my mind and was all set to order the Mastodon, a hamburger stacked with bbq sauce, melting cheddar cheese, bacon, and “frizzled” onions on a pretzel roll, but did my usual last-moment switch. (I have an odd habit of making up my mind definitively, then when it comes time to take my order, I invariably switch everything at the last possible second.) But really, when my friends were getting recommendations from our amazing waitress, I heard the two magic words tumble out of her mouth – “Patty Melt” – and changed my order to Solace, a 10-ounce burger served with caramelized onions with bacon and Gruyère on toasted rye bread.

patty melt

The picture (or pictures) here didn’t come out so well, but I also have a few excuses.

1) It was pretty dark in there, and 2) My hands were otherwise occupied, grasping the burger because it was one of those kinds of burgers that a) You can’t put down or it will fall apart, and b) It was so good I couldn’t stop eating it.

I’ve had chips. And I’ve had waffle-cut fries. But whatever they’re doing to their waffle-fries at Kuma’s, it makes them impossible to stop eating. And another thing I don’t understand is how they seem to regenerate on their plate. I swear, I ate as many as I could. But when I looked down, the pile next to my hamburger seemed to be getting bigger and bigger.

(As an aside, to most normal people, bathrooms aren’t the highlight of a restaurant – and the men who eat here need to work on their aim – but it’s a must to stop to see all the artwork and graffiti on the walls.)

employees must wash their...

According to their website, “Death to Miller and Budweiser… they are over-produced and inferior products that prevent passionate craftsmen from sharing their gifts with all of us.” They get no arguments from me regarding supporting the little guys (and local pals) so expect a lengthy list of interesting beers on tap or by the bottle.

mac and cheese

When I ordered another Jack on the rocks, the waitress suggested that I might want to sip one of the whiskeys on tap. I don’t recall what it was, but it was mighty tasty.


We tumbled out of the restaurant into the frosty night air of Chicago, bits of freezing rain and snow mingling as they pelted us on the sidewalk. In my head, I was vowing that I would never to eat again, as in, for the rest of my life. However when I woke up today, over my bowl of lowfat granola and plain yogurt, I couldn’t stop thinking about the waffle fries and my patty melt—and I just may need to go back

Kuma’s Corner
2900 West Belmont Avenue
Tel: (773) 604-8769

(Kuma’s does not take reservations.)

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Where to Find a Great Hamburger in Paris

L’Hippo Burger

Joe’s Cable Car Restaurant

Serpentine Burger


    • Kathryn

    I have just said to my boyfriend that we need to go to Chicago NOW just so we can have burgers and mac and cheese. Slightly problematic as we’re in London but hey, I bet it would be worth it.

    • Anjali

    Isn’t it the best? AND the waitstaff IS awesome, AND next time you’re there take a look at how tiny the cookspace is – they use all the space they have, which isn’t much, to turn out some ridiculously good food. I think they wash the dishes downstairs, which makes the waitstaff even more amazing for being warm and friendly despite the fact that they’re going up and down stairs all the time!

    • Doug

    Your blog has made me happy and hungry. Again.

    • Barrett

    You were also just around the corner (OK, two blocks away) from Hot Doug’s – the Encased Meats Emporium and Sausage Superstore that features the usual fare plus, specials like (this week) Caribbean Goat Sausage with Spicy Passion Fruit-Mango Cream, Crispy Fried Onions and Smoked Cumin Gouda Cheese, Cognac-Infused Lamb and Pork Sausage with Fig Goat Butter and Aged Centenol Cheese, and Apple and Cinnamon Pork Sausage with Sweet Curry Mustard and Velours Brie-Blue Cheese.

    Definitely a good area for artery-clogging.

    • Jess “klutzy chef”

    Yay, Kuma’s. They make burgers a religious experience.

    Hats off to you for tackling mac and cheese AND a burger. Try as I might I couldn’t make it through more than half my burger. You definitely need to head back. But next time, make sure to head back in the warm summer months so you can linger over beers, whiskey and burgers in the garden out back.

    • Cris

    What? You are in Chicago? How did I miss that this is happening? Damn this temp job that is taking up way too much of my blog reading time. Seriously – I check you daily and the one week I stop, you come to Chicago.

    Isn’t our weather wonderful?

    • Mark – The Urban Eater

    That looks very interesting and a fun place to visit. Will search it out the next time I am there. Don’t worry about the pics, I have the same problem. I seem to get excited about the food to, or maybe it’s the low blood sugar that makes me shake…. : )

    • Chrissy @

    What a dodgey looking dive. It looks fantastic! I would voluntarily suffer through the worst hangover in the history of the world and wait in line all day for that burger and mac and cheese!

    • meg

    Went to Kuma’s while I was in Chicago last spring for a conference. OMG so delicious plus awesome tunes and metal-inspired burger names! Lucky that you didn’t have to wait, but totally worth it even if you do.

    • Fallon

    Looks great!! Please keep us Chicagoans in the loop on where you eat here. Always love to hear where out of towners like to go….

    • latenac

    As if I needed another reason to miss Chicago.

    • Sam

    Jack on the rocks! Oh David, I need some butch lessons from you. This place looks awesome. Will definitely check it out if I ever get Oprah tickets.

    • Collette

    I love Kuma’s. We went for the first time about 4 years ago and then started going regularly. My son even went when he was almost 2. (They loved having him there and we sat outside to save his ears!) But now it’s too freaking hard to get into there and waiting with him is not an option. AND the Mastadon is my absolute favorite. You may have talked me into going back…in the middle of the day…in the middle of the week…when I’ve got time to kill. ;-)

    Mexican? One of Bayless’s like Frontera Grill or Xoco? Or Nuevo Leon in Pilsen? (Get the nachos–they’re different. They dress them individually–beans, cheese, avocado, crema. Oh man.) Tacqueria Los Camales in Little Village??? (Delicious Mexico-city style tacos.)

    Okay, I’m stopping. I’m killing myself. I’m sorry I can’t come to see you today at the Allegro–doctor’s appointment. Have a fabulous time in Chicago!

    • Marilyn

    Would you please try to get or create the recipe that makes theirs the best mac & cheese? I have not been happy with my mac & cheese recipes lately, and I want MY kitchen to be the source for the best mac & cheese. Besides, I am no where near Chicago nor do I expect to ever be.

    Thanks for your very entertaining blog.

    • Tupper

    A 10 oz. burger? Hell yes, I’d do it!

    • Derrick Tung

    Avid follower, first time commenter.

    Kuma’s was an excellent selection for great burgers in Chicago. The wait is often prohibitively long, but when you can swing it, very worthwhile. My wife and I were just at Hot Chocolate last night where the burger was rumored to be top notch in Chicagok, but it wasn’t quite up to par with Kumas. (Though it may be because my wife is a medium burger eater, as opposed to the appropriate medium rare to rare.)

    As mentioned in previous posts, Hot Dougs is around the corner and worth a visit if you haven’t been. Innovative and tasty.

    As for Mexican, depends on the level of food you’re looking for. If you’re staying to Sunday, the Maxwell Street Market turns out some of the best and most authentic Mexican food in the city. If not, see if you can get into one of Rick Bayless’ places for a fancy but delicious Mexican meal.

    If you’re looking for something slightly different, I would highly suggest checking out Birreria Zaragoza. Homemade tortillas, great fiery salsa they make in front of you, and slow roasted goat that’s fall of the bone delicious… not gamey at all. They end it by creating a vegetable consomme to pour over the meat, which make it shine with flavor. Very worthwhile to check out, and the service is super friendly.

    Enjoy your time in Chicago! And next time, don’t bring the snow with you… ;)

    • Colleen

    I just got back from Chicago on Monday. I was in a continuing education class at The French Pastry School from 7 a.m until 4 p.m. every day, so I didn’t get a lot of time for recreation, but I did go to Xoco one night and it was great. I also made a trip to The Girl and The Goat (fabulous!!!!) the night before I left. Wish I had known about this place! Maybe next time I’m in Chicago (which seems to be about once every 10 years, unfortunately).

    • Meagan @ Scarletta Bakes

    I am suffering from a serious Mac and Cheese craving now. Woe.

    Thanks so much for the post. I can’t wait to try Kuma’s next time I’m in Chi Town.

    • Afton Montgomery

    Oh, I’m so jealous. We went to Chicago and tried to go to both Kuma’s and Hot Doug’s, but Kuma’s is closed every holiday (including St. Patty’s!) and Hot Doug’s just closes so early we never made it… Now I’m going to have to go back, just to try again!

    • Hannah

    Kuma’s is great but please promise you’ll go to Hot Doug’s next time you’re in town! It’s life-changing.

    • Crister DelaCruz

    I’m so glad you’re enjoying Chicago (my lovely city). Each time I read your posts and tweets, I’m envious of your daily life in Paris – I was there exactly a year ago and fell in LOVE with it! It’s fantastic to read about Chicago (and our restaurants) through your eyes.

    Looking forward to your book event!

    • sundevilpeg

    So glad you liked Kuma’s. Their mac & cheese is epic – if you visit again, try the combo of scallions & sweet corn. Talk about summer on a plate!

    To others on this blog, the unabashedly blue-collar ‘hood that Kuma’s is in is called Avondale, and it is also home to the best hot dog place in the universe, Hot Doug’s, as another tremendous and very sophisticated Asian fusion restaurant called Urban Belly. You can literally eat yourself bow-legged in Avondale. Not close to downtown, but so worth a visit!

    • Kristy

    Not Italian beef?? Zut Alors!

    • Kasia

    David, I loved this post! Chicago certainly has some amazing food! I definitely need to try this place next time I’m there. I love that you drink Jack on the rocks. Have you tried adding a little soda water? It’s light and refreshing for warmer weather. I love the hippies sign. The mac ‘n cheese look amazing and funny enough, I have the same odd habit about ordering. Cheers, enjoy the rest of your trip to the windy city!

    • David
    David Lebovitz

    We wanted to hit Hot Dougs but they’re only open during the day. Plus I think it’s not possible to eat at both Kuma’s AND anywhere else within the next 24-48 hours!

    • Chihiro

    I just had a burger (in Paris) with some homesick New Yorkers, but these look so much better!

    • Food o’ del Mundo

    WE LOVE KUMA’s and make it a point to go often. It used to be a bi-weekly excursion, until our bellys started expanding. Now it’s less frequent, but even more cherished than ever. We’ve had almost all of their burgers and that Solace is way up there on the top of our list! If you’re interested I have a burger tab on my site and there are two Kuma’s burger there: the Agenda of Swine and the Eyehate God – they only ever offered them as monthly specials. Dang they’re grrreat!
    Thanks for showcasing a Chicago classic joint!

    • Janice Harper

    I’ve never found macaroni and cheese appealing — until now. Just the touch of scallions makes such a difference — and thanks for posting a pic of the menu. I’ll toss in some carmelized onions and prosciutto when I make it. But sure wish I could try Kuma’s for myself, your review is practically edible the food sounds and looks so good.

    • Camille

    Question – If you were to buy really good olive oil which one would You purchase? Yes, I realize the subject is not olive oil but……………………

    • Eleanor

    Gotta love a freezing rain/snow combo on the second day of Spring! Welcome to Chicago! So bummed I’m missing your get together this afternoon. Enjoy the city and seriously … Hot Doug’s.

    • berit

    @Camille I am not David, but when it comes to olive oil, you need to consider first for what you want to use it, i.e. cooking vs making a salad. David already made a post about it, check or search for “olive oil” in the wee search bar above :)

    • Anna

    wow i put on ten pounds just reading this, and i mean that in the best possible way. this restaurant looks fantastic – have to go to chicago now to try.

    • Kathy

    I’ve been there just once, and I loved it. It tickles me to no end that you enjoyed it so much.

    • Dana

    You go to Chicago and only have burgers and Mexican food? We have awesome everything. The Greek, Italian and specialty neighborhoods all have really good food. I eat well all the time and I’m picky. Plus you have to have a Portillos hot dog with everything. It’s kind of cliche, and may be dorky to suggest but they’re awesome and I have to stop myself from eating too many. Trust me. Please.

    • Cooking in Mexico

    How is the Mexican food in Chicago? Hope you are finding real tortillas, maybe even real flan, not the instant stuff. Oh no … I feel a rage against instant food coming on … !


    • Bill

    Kuma’s and Hout Doug’s are Chicago treasures. My commute takes me past Kuma’s whenever I work downtown and I can’t wait for the weather to turn warm so I can leave work early on a Friday, lock my bike on their fence, sit back in their beer garden and enjoy a great craft brew and a great burger.

    • Mark Reese

    David, You are one of my favorite food bloggers and I’m crazy about your cookbooks. And I’m so glad you’ve tried Kuma’s and liked it – from my perspective it is a national treasure. However I was a bit put off, as some others were, that you would imply that foodie Chicago is largely about burgers and Mexican food. While we have many a great example of both, the breadth and depth of our other culinary temples may well blow you out of the Parisian waters.

    I know you have access to many resources for discovering other places to try whilst in the city, but feel free to contact me if you need some pointers as I consulted you (well, your blog) while in Paris.

    • charlotte s

    OMG! that burger looks INSANE!!!!

    • tomdarch

    Kathleen – you seem to think that David is in Idaho or perhaps the upper peninsula of Michigan. (Beautiful places, full of wonderful people but lacking in local Mexican-American cuisine.) He’s in Chicago – we have several tortilla factories, each making slightly different style products – probably reflecting the regional differences of their owners/customers. With some effort you can find plastic wrapped old tortillas, but it’s easier to find fresh ones from Del Rey or El Milagro still warm from that morning’s delivery at lots of stores. If you went into any of our countless excellent pastelerias or restaurants and asked the justifiably proud cooks if their flan was “the instant stuff”, I’m confident you would learn a few new vocabulary words that aren’t in most dictionaries.

    {sigh} I guess I’ll have to break down and actually try Kuma’s. It’s a bit “as seen on FoodTV”, but it sounds like it actually lives up to the hype. (BTW – Doug’s frites au graisse de canard on fridays and saturdays and encased meats DO live up to the hype and are well worth the long, outdoor wait.) And yes, an Italian Beef crawl is a good, if sticky and messy, idea.

    When Shawn McClain is in the kitchen at Green Zebra (instead of out at Sage in Vegas) I’d say GZ would be a “can’t miss”. Oh, and the best restaurant in North America/the 7th best restaurant in the world, with it’s obscure punctuation mark name, would be a good call… (We’ll see how Grant’s Aviary/Next goes!)

    • Michelle

    Whiskey on tap! I am there – across the continent. I am always down for a great burger – fries are heaven sent. Sounds amazing!

    • Sierra Shear

    Mac and Cheese is the king of all foods. Add a milk chocolate chip milkshake, and in my opinion you can cure any disease. Dairy plus dairy plus cards equals “winning.” I just wrote an article about spam and sushi – not exactly a victorious combination. Check it out!

    • David
    David Lebovitz

    Kathleen & Tom: Yes, there’s some very good Mexican food here in Chicago that seems pretty authentic. I am sure Rick Bayless has something to do with that, but we had a terrific Mexican dinner tonight that would rival Mexican food I’ve had in Mexico.

    Mark: I know there’s a lot of great food in Chicago, but because I live abroad, when I come back to the US, I tend to want to indulge in things that are underrepresented in Paris, namely good hamburgers and Mexican food (and coffee, too.) So while I appreciate the other options that are available here, I really do want to indulge in my craving for burgers and Mexican food. But I hope to write up about some of the other places that I’m going to, as time permits.

    • Caffettiera

    It is the first time a plate of mac&cheese, looking positively greasy, as it should, makes me want to eat it.

    • cathy

    mac and cheese.
    it’s something i’ve *forgotten* to miss.
    peanut butter and jelly, reese’s, netflix, target, breakfast tacos, whole foods, central market… those i miss quite often.
    but how could i forget mac and cheese!?
    thank you. thankfully good cheese is easy to get in france :)
    enjoy the rest of your time in the windy city!

    • sarabeth levine

    Burger on rye bread! Great idea will have to try one on my sourdough bread. Everything about your blog is inspiring. Please come by the bakery when you are in NY next time. Would love to meet you.

    • susan

    David you MUST go to Big Star while in town for the best Mexican food and whiskey in town. Great music, cool people, incredible guac and pork belly tacos.

    • David
    David Lebovitz

    susan: We went last night!…

    • Claudia

    I’m only eight hours away. What’s a little gasoline when there’s burgers and mac ‘n cheese waiting?

    • Steve

    Great restaurant review!

    • AlanaD

    I’ve lived in Chicago for 2 yrs and I’ve never heard of Kuma’s but I can’t wait to try it.

    • Candela

    David..please post a decent recipe for Mac&Cheese! (with European cheeses Thank youuu ;) ) …maybe sounds silly but I’m not American, and I have very good memories of my time in Boston,eating burgers, mac&cheese & co.. the recipes I found doesn’t seem really good…

    • Frances Mercer

    Oh man….makes me want to go the airport and get the first ticket to Chicago!!!
    It’s 9 in the morning, and I’m looking at that patty melt and loving it !!!! Thanks for sharing !!!

    • David
    David Lebovitz

    Candela: I’ve not seen any European recipes to share for Macaroni & Cheese, likely because it’s not something that anyone in Europe would make (in spite of the excellent cheeses there.)

    • Kelly Sterling

    Omg, this kills me! What’s better than an amazing burger AND mac & cheese…sigh.
    I would love to try this place out when I find myself in Chicago! The “hippies use back door” was a shoe in for me (I’m a Santa Cruz gal).

    Thanks for another great post!

    • Tupper


    It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark… and we’re wearing sunglasses.

    Hit it.

    • Rose

    This post is just cruel! As a chicagoan living abroad I miss the food horribly, and then there you go and blog about it without a word of warning!

    But seriously, I hope you have a great time. Just don’t be insulted if I have to refrain from reading your posts until you get back… or at least until just before my next trip home :-)

    • Anita in Wisconsin

    If you want to get out and about on the North Side again… Mexican at El Pitosi! Hope I spelled that correctly… approximately 3-4 blks S. of Elston and Irving on Elston, W side of the street. The food is great. But, forget eating in! Take your life in your hands in summer and eat outside, right on Elston Ave. Does it get any more CGO than that? Seriously, the food is great!!!!! Also for Cuba excellence, 90 Mile, two locations, one on Armitage and not sure about the other but mid-N. side. 90 Mile cause that’s how far FL is off the coast of Cuba!

    • gretchen anita’s kid

    I agree with Anita up there… Elston and Kedzie is the location of El Potosi, and the other 90 Miles is at Clybourn and Oakley, just south of the intersection of Western/Clybourn/Belmont.

    ALSO, Korean shrimp tacos at Del Seoul in Lincoln Park (Wrightwood/Clark) will knock your socks off. Not to be missed.

    • Linda H

    Chicago can nearly kill you with the great food, and the bad weather.

    • Meryl Selig

    I am booking a ticket today. I live near San Francisco; they don’t “get” it, the need for over-the-top delights like Kuma’s. Requoting another comment: As if we need another reason to go back AMERICA’S BEST CITY. Yes, Chicagoans enjoy, eat with abandon and send their guilt to other zipcodes, far far away.

    I just went to Ray’s Hell Burger in Arlington, VA. They’re touting their (excellent!) burger as President Obama’s favorite. Time to declare “burger wars.” He needs a Kuma experience. Will someone please get the word to tel Rahmmy that he needs to haul his former boss back for this place?

    • Chez Loulou

    Sounds like an absolutely perfect kind of place. :)

    • leek

    For those slagging on Chicago Mexican, we have AMAZING good Mexican food here in Chicago, particularly multiple regions from Mexico, not just border cuisine. When people visit here, they should go for the intersection of what they can’t get at home and what we do that is particularly good. If that’s Mexican and Burgers and Mac n Cheese for David, then that’s what he should have. Hell yeah, Kuma’s!

    • Candela

    Thank you David for your answer,I know it’s 100% American… I want to do it for my little one ;) … I make pasta with “four cheeses”, but it is not the same thing.. :/

    • Teri Y.

    Ahh you made it to Kuma’s!! I live in Chicago and have heard awesome things about Kuma’s but have never been there. Argh. I think the wait times for a table is probably why I’ve not been there yet. But soon.I.must.go.

    • Carolyn Z

    Are the burgers at the Ferry Bldg in SF good enough to compare? My favorite is the Blue Cheese with Bacon with sweet potato fries and a vanilla shake. Or a chocolate shake. Or garlic fries. Or a sip of honey’s blueberry shake . . .

    Also there is the pork store for awesome tasty snacks.

    • Charlene E.

    Hi David, Chicago sounds like a great place for food….just an aside but have to let you know, you are listed in the top 5 Local paperback bestsellers here (Current bestsellers at Queen Anne Books, Seattle)! Seen in last weekend’s paper.
    (<: from Charlene

    • Maria from NJ

    Ok so I read this article and am laughing hysterically. I am going out in May to meet my other brothers and We are sooooooooo going here…. well I read all the comments and the hysteria was just louder and louder as i read them outloud…

    YEah David!!! love this post YOU are such an awesome author writer and BLOGGER!!!! GO DAVID.

    • Suzanne

    Hi David,
    I used to live in Chicago. Awesome food everywhere! Don’t miss the chance to get out-of-control-good ribs. I used to love Twin Anchors in Lincoln Park but I moved from Chicago a long time ago. Have a great event!

    • danna

    meat meat and more meat. BORING! if you’re brave and want some delicious comfort food, you’ll go to the chicago diner

    • Tuula Rea

    Kathryn check out #meateasy, London’s answer to Kuma’s – it’s a pop up burger shack and open until April 16th. The quest for London’s best burger continues!

    • Gina

    As another American living in Paris, I’m with you Daveed–I would be all over Mexican food if I were visiting the US! On another note, the thing that struck me about this post was the note on the menu specifying ONE credit card per table, absolutely no split checks. It always amazes me that the US has generally great customer service but that so many restaurants have policies like this. This is definitely one customer service related area where France wins. I love how easy it is to pay here. Makes it so much easier on a single girl who is usually dining with friends. I wonder why the US doesn’t adopt the portable credit card machine (instead of taking your card to the back) and just make it easier on the guests…hmmmm…

    • Sam Mooney

    I want to be in Chicago!

    • Linda

    Have you been to Avec? My favorite Chicago Restaurant!!

    • Liz @ Butter and Onions

    I love when you come back state side to visit. =) Plus, now I know where to eat when I eventually visit Chicago again. I’ve been there before, but it was a long time ago. That mac and cheese looks so good. I’ve been craving a good mac and cheese lately, so maybe I’ll just have to make some.

    Also: I have no idea what the fascination is with the “housewives” shows.

    • Linda at Pink Elephants coffee,LLC

    Whiskey on tap? Oh dear.
    It has been 32 years since I lived there. Back then, there were no Mexican eateries that I can recall. And I lived in Evanston, where liquor wasn’t sold (by law). One had to go into Chicago to procure some. My favorite restaurant was Ho King Lo’s, on Touhy Avenue in Cicero. It’s most likely gone, now. And Chicago was the only place in the country where you could buy Piranas at a pet store. Ugly fish. Good for nothing unless you’ve got a moat and no flying monkeys.

    • Donna at yumma yumma

    My husband was just telling me about this place today! We had lunch at a similar restaurant here in DC today called the ThunderBar. The burgers and mac’n cheese you had look awesome. Love the bathroom sign too!! :)

    • Ann Choe

    My first time here. I agree with Danna. Chicago diner was ahh-mazing. I’m bummed that I didn’t try their famous vegan peanut butter cups because it sold out. As for Kumas, my family took me there when i visited Chicago for the first time and I couldn’t believe that i was waiting over 2 hours just to eat a burger. I had their burger of the month which was the swine flu burger.

    • Lori Lynn

    Hi David – you are in my old stomppin’ grounds. Last time at Kuma’s I had the Lynyrd Skynyrd. (Before my low-cholesterol regime days). Graffiti hehe! Gotta love Chicago!

    • Julie

    Too awesome–my friends brought me here last time I visited about a year and a half ago. It was late at night on a weeknight, but it was crowded with metalheads; my two friends–preppy-dressed gay men, one both clasically trained musicians (a musical theater singer and a harpist)–really stuck out: the only pastel in a sea of black. It’s one of my favorite memories ever, and I had one of the best burgers ever–Lair of the Minotaur!

    • David
    David Lebovitz

    Julie: To be honest, I’ve generally found the heavy metal crowd to generally be quite open and welcoming. That may be because they’re used to being seen as “outsides” and have a live and let live attitude. There’s a bar/restaurant in Paris called “Black Dog” that has a steakhouse in the back. You have to pass through a bar filled with men and women in leather gowns and capes, and multiple piercings. And everyone is as nice as can be. There’s another absinthe bar in Paris (Cantada II) like that as well (with naughty black light paintings on the wall) but the staff is quite pleasant there as well.

    • nuttmegs17

    Grant’s Aviary WILL live up to the hype. My husband I went to a preview last night and the drinks and bites knocked our socks off! The staff was super friendly as well. Can’t wait to try Next…

    • Emily

    Kuma’s! When I lived in Chicago I happily lived just a quick jaunt away from the restaurant. It somehow became acceptable very quickly to wait in line for an hour or two for a massive burger and beer at 11 o’clock Sunday mornings (that’s the easiest time to get in). I always loved their special of the month. When the Rod Blagoveich story had just broken, they created the F***** Blagoveich Burger, which substituted their pretzel buns with two grilled sandwiches, a patty topped with grilled bologna, cheese, and then a mustard dollar sign drawn atop of one of the grilled cheese buns. My friends and I were always curious about how it would actually taste, but none of us could divert from the other burgers. Now that I live in Belgium and a proper American-style burger eludes me, I actually have dreams about this place in times of need.

    PS – Thanks for posting this. A few days ago my friend and I were talking about burgers and she contended that the title of best burger really only applies to regions as every area of the country has their own definition. I firmly believe that Kuma’s is straight up, no contest, one of the best burger restaurants in the country. I’m glad you seem to be in my corner as well.


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