It's been well over a year since well-informed Chicagoans and beyond have urged me to go to Kuma's Corner for a burger. Their inclusion in Jeff Ruby's Playboy list last year piqued my interest and the raves kept coming in. Last weekend I finally had the chance to visit with local expert burger tasters Jay and his wife Alexis. Local friends Paul and Brian joined us and suddenly our group was dangerously large.
We had a hunch that Kuma's would be packed this past Saturday thanks to 2 mentions in the paper in 2 weeks (one concerning their new burger, the #@%! Blagojevich which has a slice of bologna and a 'negotiable' price.) We met at the front door of the Metal-themed bar and grill at exactly 11:25am only to find another 40 people who had the same idea. When the doors opened, the place filled and every seat was occupied in 20 seconds. At 11:35am there was a line already forming. According to Jay, the wait for a table or spot at the bar can be well over an hour and the wait for a burger once you've ordered can be up to an hour. He wasn't kidding. We sat, ordered, and waited for our burgers for an hour and 10 mins.
Was it worth it? Yes, the burger, though a little over-cooked for my taste, was high quality, flame grilled, and served on a soft pretzel roll (my first ever. How come I've never seen these things?). Although there were over 20 burger concoctions on the menu with names like the Iron Maiden (avocado and chipotle) and the Goblin Cock (basically a burger with a hot dog and Chicago fixings on it), I opted for the Kuma Burger, a 10oz burger with bacon and a fried egg on top.
It was great to see families with kids in L.L.Bean jackets dining next to tattooed, bearded lovers of Metal. I also appreciated that someone had scrawled, on the large chalkboard over the bar, 'die emo die'.
By the time we left the crowd waiting had swelled to over 50, some standing in the frigid Chicago temps that were hovering around 12 degrees. Next time, a visit off-peak (Tuesday at midnight?)