2900 west belmont avenue
chicago, il 60618
located six miles from downtown chicago, kuma's corner is a small dive/metal bar that is known for having the best burgers in the city. each burger is named after a metal band, and is carefully crafted by head chef amelia obermeire-smith. hungry from an especially long train ride from st. louis, carrie and i made kuma's corner our first stop of this two day chicago getaway. we arrived via taxi around 2:30 in the afternoon, and were quoted a 40 minute wait for a table by a rather unfriendly and heavily tattooed waitress. this was far shorter than what i expected given the size of the establishment and its immense popularity.
with no where to go in the small and cramped restaurant, we stood rather awkwardly near the door, and basically had to yell to hear each other over the constantly blasting metal music. i noticed a sign near the door listing the "rules of kuma's corner." i failed to get a picture, but some of my favorites from the twenty or so items on the list are: "we do not have ranch dressing", "we can't put on the game (nor would we)", "if you don't like the movie that is playing, don't watch it", and best of all, "no miller or budweiser beer is served here. ever. (or corona)". after about ten minutes of wait, a pair seats opened up at the bar, and we elected to just eat there.
another heavily tattooed (but much friendlier) waitress promptly approached us with menus and took our drink order. kuma's has a great selection of microbrews (tap and bottled), and also features three types of whiskey on tap. carrie and i both went for the heavily hyped 3 floyds gumball head, an american wheat ale that began as a summer seasonal brew, but is now brewed year round due to the extremely high demand. while i am still not sure if all they hype around this beer is 100% warranted, i did find its fruity nose and easy drinking flavor quite delicious. later in our trip, i tried to procure a six pack from a liquor store, and was laughed at and told that unless you are there on the day the beer is delivered, you have no shot.
after a wait that was ten minutes at best, our burgers arrived. my choice was the led zeppelin, featuring bbq pulled pork, bacon, cheddar, and pickles. the burger, which was served on a hefty pretzel roll and paired with hand cut fries, was quite simply the best i have ever had. cooked to my specified medium rare, the meat patty was thick and flavorful, and would have been excellent on a normal bun with just cheese. however the tender and juicy pulled pork, sharp cheddar cheese, and wonderful pretzel roll really took this burger to a new dimension.
carrie's burger choice, which was influenced heavily by me, was the lair of the minatour. topped with caramelised onions, pancetta, brie, and bourbon soaked pears, this burger ranks slightly behind the led zeppelin as my second favorite burger ever. the flavor combinations were insane, with the sweet pears contrasting against the savory pancetta and salty brie to create a truly unique burger experience.
when it was all said and done, kuma's corner lived up to my hopes of being treated to the best burger of my life. it is rare that a restaurant actually lives up to its hype, and kuma's corner, in my opinion, does that and then some. if you like burgers, than this place is worth the long wait times, loud music, and out of the way location without question.