The Scene

Find your new favorite burger during National Burger Month

The Local Burger with added bacon and caramelized onions at The Burger Local in Geneva.

May is National Burger Month, and with so many restaurants vying for the title of “best burger,” deciding where to sink your teeth can be a challenge.

We’ve compiled a list of many of the mouthwatering burger joints in northern Illinois, from local favorites to hidden gems, guaranteed to satisfy any craving. Get ready to explore a world of perfectly seasoned patties, drool-worthy toppings and buns that hug together everything in perfect harmony. Whether you crave a juicy all-American cheeseburger or a veggie patty piled high with unique toppings, this guide will lead you to your perfect bite.

D.C. Cobb’s Burgers & Brews – Woodstock, McHenry, Huntley & East Dundee

Just like the name suggests, this McHenry County favorite specializes in both burgers and brews. Twenty gourmet burgers dot the menu, with names like The Ricky Bobby, complete with a jalapeño popper, pepper Jack cheese, bacon, fried egg and Southwest sauce; The Groundhog, with cheddar cheese, hash browns, bacon and a fried egg; and The BFM, a tribute to actor Bill Murray, which has jalapeños, Jack cheese, bacon, Cajun seasoning and a honey Sriracha drizzle. You also can build your own burger, or enjoy other menu items like a variety of salads, wraps, mac and cheese and more. Wash it all down with one of 24 beers on tap and a large selection of whiskey. D.C. Cobb’s has four locations across the McHenry County area. Visit the website for specific addresses.

The Burger Local – Geneva

Anchoring the south end of Third Street, home to Geneva’s dynamic dining district, is The Burger Local. There are so many burger options to choose from: Black + Bleu Burger, Quesabirria Burger, Falafel Burger, Waygu Smash, Elote Burger and numerous others. Don’t let the name fool you: The Burger Local also serves a variety of tacos, salads and bowls, unique cocktails, shakes and more. 577 S. Third St., Suite 102, Geneva.

Skoog’s Pub and Grill – Utica

Skoog’s Pub and Grill is famous for serving up great homemade food in generously sized portions. The comfortable drinking and dining destination is right in the heart of cozy downtown Utica. Be sure to try the melt-in-your-mouth, ¾-pound Hearty Skoog Burger. This specially seasoned, never-frozen burger is stacked high with your choices of cheese, bacon, grilled onion or freshly sautéed mushrooms. 155 Mill St., North Utica.

Shamrock Pub – Dixon

The friendly, laid-back Irish pub is known in the Sauk Valley area for juicy, grilled-to-perfection burgers. The “hand-patted” burgers include the Shamrock Burger, with grilled onions and mushrooms; the Breakfast Burger with ham, bacon and eggs; The Hummel, with bacon, grilled onions and barbecue sauce, plus other variations. Tacos, quesadillas, salads, wraps, Reubens, fried chicken and smoked prime rib are also excellent options. Enjoy your meal on the outdoor patio. 1401 Chicago Ave., Dixon.

B.A.S.H. (Burger And Sushi House) – Ottawa and Geneva

Burger And Sushi House, or B.A.S.H., has been serving its diverse menu in downtown Ottawa since 2013, and opened a location in Geneva in 2022. The popular dining establishment serves an eclectic menu of burgers, sushi, mac and cheese, soups, salads and more. Try the Crabby Patty, a burger sporting crab Rangoon mix with wonton and sweet and sour, or the Surf and Turf burger, with lobster and garlic aioli. B.A.S.H. is located at 1012 La Salle St. in Ottawa and 124 W. State St. in Geneva.

Backroads Burger & Bar – Plainfield

At Backroads Burger & Bar in Plainfield, customers can choose from 17 different burger designs, seven protein choices and seven types of buns. A few of the burger options include the Backroad Burger with smoked Gouda, pulled pork, applewood bacon, sautéed onions and barbecue, and the Boujee Burger with a half-pound Australian Waygu patty. Other menu items comprise hearty appetizers, salads, soups, sandwiches and more. 13717 U.S. Route 30, Plainfield.

The GOAT Burger & Cocktail Bar – Batavia

No goats are on the menu at The GOAT Burger Bar in Batavia. GOAT, which stands for “greatest of all time,” fits with the sports ambience of the restaurant, which prides itself on its “top-notch” cocktails, expansive whiskey selection and wide variety of burgers, including The Goat Burger, Blessed Burger and Chicken Gyro Burger. The restaurant also offers an array of interesting mac and cheese dishes and such sandwiches as Nashville chicken; pork belly BLT; and Bahn Mi, a Vietnamese specialty with honey hoisin-glazed pork belly, fried egg, citrus apple slaw and garlic aioli on a grilled french roll. 107 E. Wilson St., Batavia.

3 Twelve – Sterling

A neighborhood burger bar and more, 3 Twelve in the heart of Sterling prides itself on its unique flavors and eclectic menu, as well as an extensive signature cocktail list with 20 flavors of mojitos. The burgers served include a long list of smash burgers such as the Big Pig, a single patty with pulled pork; Gyro Burger, topped with gyro meat; and the Cherry Habanero Jalapeño Popper Burger, topped with cream cheese, bacon and a grilled cherry habanero jalapeño. Other menu selections include the wet burrito, wings, salads, sandwiches and more. 312 Locust St., Sterling.

Cattleman’s Burger & Brew – Algonquin

A great place for some late-night eats or a family meal, it offers so many burgers from which to choose! Some of the burgers on the menu include the Fernandez Steak Burger, served with pepper Jack cheese, pico de gallo, guacamole, crispy tortilla chips on a brioche bun; the Hawaiian Burger with ham and pineapple on a Hawaiian bread bun; Bourbon Cowboy Steak Burger with cheddar cheese, applewood bacon, onion rings, Jack Daniel’s barbecue sauce on a brioche bun; and the Mac and Cheese Steak Burger, topped with a hearty serving of sharp cheddar mac and bacon. A variety of sandwiches, burritos, burrito bowls and more round out the menu. Check out the drink list with its unique seasonal cocktails. 205 S. Main St., Algonquin.

Fatty’s – DeKalb

A popular bar and grill for the Northern Illinois University crowd, this DeKalb staple is known for its mouthwatering burgers. A variety of Black Angus burgers are on the menu, including the Tex Mex, a patty with Southwest spices, bacon, cheese, grilled onions and barbecue sauce, and the Huskie Burger, which is served with a fried egg. Don’t forget to try the famous Cajun potato salad, a perfect complement to your burger. Other menu items include gourmet grilled cheese, pulled pork sandwich, wraps, chicken sandwiches, ribs, salads and more. 1312 W. Lincoln Highway, DeKalb.

Crusade Burger Bar – Yorkville

Crafted burgers and unique drinks are the name of the game at this truly innovative downtown Yorkville restaurant. With burgers like Bite the Flesh, Phony Tough, Crazy Brave, The Dirty, The 9th Circle and more, this is one burger bar not to be missed. Vegan options and build-your-own burgers also are available, as are several mac and cheese variations, salads, sandwiches, small plates and appetizers. Signature cocktails include Lacerated Lemonade, This Sangria Slaps and Grapefruit Dream. Crusade is known for enormous shakes, some of which include brownies, cupcakes and doughnuts as “garnishes,” and have names like Powerslave to Peanut Butter, Ember and Ash, Everyone I Love Is Chocolate and the Birthday Shake. 209 S. Bridge St., Yorkville.

Hamburgerseria – Joliet

Handmade, fresh gourmet burgers are the highlight of this Joliet eatery. Quarter- or half-pound burgers include the Greek Burger with feta and olives; the French burger with cranberries and brie; the Breakfast Burger with bacon and fried egg; the Peanut Butter burger and so many more. If you can’t decide what burger to order, try a flight of four different sliders! The menu is rounded out with classic appetizers, sandwiches and salads and other vegetarian items. Save room for a gourmet shake. Try the Horchata Shake, Maple Bacon Shake or Marshmallow S’mores Shake. Enjoy a glass of wine or cold beer with your meal. 1015 Essington Road, Joliet.

The Lone Buffalo By Tangled Roots Brewing Co. – Ottawa

The Lone Buffalo by Tangled Roots Brewing Company is a great place to grab a plate of farm-to-table food and an artisan craft beer. The relaxed, airy brewpub offers hearty pub classics and new American fare, conveniently located right off Ottawa’s downtown La Salle Street. Try its signature Brewmaster Burger, made with bourbon cherry barbecue sauce, applewood-smoked bacon, aged cheddar, house pickles, frites aioli and crispy onions, or the fan-favorite Cease & Desist burger, a house-made ground beef and bacon patty with aged cheddar cheese, applewood-smoked bacon, chipotle aioli, tomato and arugula. 812 La Salle St., Ottawa.

Asadoras Argentinas Burger – Oswego

Fresh gourmet burgers with a South American twist await you at this burger bar. The diverse and unique menu includes the Criolla with mozzarella cheese, salsa criolla and chimichurri mayo; the Spicy Cilantro Lime with grilled onions and serrano peppers, serrano cilantro lime mayonnaise and avocado slices; and the Tipica with honey ham, fried egg and sautéed red bell peppers. Guests can sub out a chicken or veggie patty for the burger. Additional menu items include hot dogs, wings, salads, homemade empanadas and vegetarian options. 4542 Route 71, Oswego.

Lodi Tap House – Utica & Maple Park

Located in historic downtown Utica is one of the area’s best craft beer and burger spots. The town’s Lodi Tap House is a second location for the beloved Maple Park-based bar and eatery, featuring a wide selection of mouthwatering Americana classics, each with an elevated twist. Their menu of new-American cuisine includes the Smash’d Burger & Curds, Beer Cheese Burger and build-your-own customized burgers, as well as buttermilk-brined chicken, Lodi cheese steak, fish and chips and more. They also sell exclusively Illinois-made craft beers, both canned and from 24 available taps. 101 Mill St. in Utica and 309 Main St. in Maple Park.

Thyme Craft Kitchen – Peru

Partnering with more than 25 local farms and businesses, Thyme offers ultra-seasonal menus and craft cocktails infused with regional flavors. You’ll find a menu full of unexpected delicacies, all incorporating ingredients from the partner farms that are proudly displayed on the walls at Thyme. The house burger at Thyme is a premium 100% grass-fed offering, served with cheddar cheese, butter-braised onion, house pickles, remoulade, egg bun and crispy potatoes on the side. Feeling extra adventurous? Add a duck egg for a small up-charge. 405 Fifth St., Peru.

Shaw Local News Network’s Ryan Searl contributed to this report.

Aimee Barrows

Aimee Barrows

Aimee Barrows is the editor of The Scene, Shaw Local News Network's entertainment section. The Scene is your go-to destination for all things fun in Northern Illinois. Prior to The Scene, Aimee was the editor of the Kane County Chronicle for five years, and a freelance reporter for Shaw Media for four years.