Best Burger Night

Publican Quality Meats

Critics' Picks

They only serve it once a week and for half the year, but Publican Quality Meats has one of the ten best burgers in Chicago: a slightly charred yet juicy beef patty topped with American cheese, spicy dill relish, balsamic red onions, mustard, "special sauce," and gem lettuce. Just as significant as the patty and the toppings is the bun, a powdery, soft bread blanket that evades sogginess and perfectly ensconces the burger. There are plenty of other reasons to check out PQM on Tuesday nights: aside from the friendly staff and charming setting, there's also garlicky frites, a slaw that goes light on the mayo, and a rotating selection of two smaller plates (a recent one, called Robles' Frijoles Charros, with queso cotija, pork belly, sour cream, and cilantro), plus a superb selection of beers (typically a Weihenstephaner and a Half Acre selection on tap) and bourbon (Eagle Rare Single Barrel, aged ten years: drink this). There's also a solid portabella burger for vegetarians. But the main draw is a new "guest burger" every week. My favorite so far: Ryan Poli's Big Baby Burger, with two patties, grilled onions, pickles, ketchup, and Dijon—an old-fashioned burger done right.