Do you ever wonder where your McDonald’s cheeseburger meat came from? Unless you’re subjected to some kind of food coma induced nightmare, you probably have avoided being “in the know” on fast food meat origins. “But burgers are so delicious”, you say. Yeah we get you, (well the dabbling meat eater one of us, aka Kate, does and the veggie burger fiend one of us, aka Monica, may have an inkling too). Burgers, in all their glorious forms, are special sammiches. But as we are grown people, we like grown and sexy sammiches with ingredients we can name…and we LOVE food that’s locally sourced and not only tastes fresh but is fresh.
Recently, we visited the South Loop to try a locally owned burger slinging business, Burger Point (with no creepy clowns, bonus!). Owners, co-founders and couple, Asha Mathew and David Esterline, pride themselves in providing consumers with grass fed beef as well as organic chicken, turkey and veggie burgers. Asha and David started Burger Point about 3 years ago and used to gaze at the space across from their condo and dream of opening their own business. They often craved a juicy organic burger a ala North side DMK burger so they snatched up the corner spot on State and Archer and started their own burger revolution. Local sourcing is their priority and many produce items come from David’s produce shop. 95% of the menu is house made. Meat is ground, formed into fresh patties in the restaurant and meals are made to order (take that, Burger King!)
The menu hosts 17 specialty burgers, wangs (or wings as some might call them) with house made sassy sauces, and side options like house cut sweet potato fries. We started our culinary experience with hearty samples of the vegetarian chili. A toasty bowl of chili is definitely the thing for a Chicago arctic winter. It had a healthy amount of cooked “just right” beans, a perfectly thick consistency and a nice kick of spice. We liked the bits of tofu floating around in the mix as it added to the filling nature of the chili. This dish could make your meal and Burger Point gives you free toppings like cheese, sour cream, olives and onions to boost it’s fill factor.
For the main event, Kate got a little meaty and tried the #7 hamburger, called the Dirty South, with aged cheddar cheese, double smoked crisp bacon and BBQ sauce on a homemade pretzel roll. The flavor of the bacon and burger was juicy, not greasy, and Kate noticed a markedly higher meat quality than chain restaurants. Kate’s fave part was the PRETZEL BUN!! “I know me and gluten are iffy but this was a homemade pretzel bun”
Monica tried the #14 with the moniker the Best Damn Veggie Burger Ever, which sports a homemade veggie patty with chipotle aioli, havarti cheese and avocado on a sesame seed bun. She liked the balance of beans and rice, simplicity combined, but needed more kick from the chipotle aioli to counterbalance.
Becoming a Burger Point Superfan can have perks. Customers can use the delivery ease of Grubhub or Ordersnap to ensure no leaving of one’s bed is necessary, crumbs be damned. If you do choose to wear pants and leave the house, Burger Point is located on the quiet corner of Archer and State. Frequent Feeders can join a rewards endeavor called the 5 Star Program. Every $5 spent gives the user a point which can eventually lead to free point earned foods. One customer even racked up so many points that there is a burger named after him, the #17 Saigon Johnny, featuring fresh ground chicken, sliced cucumber, jalapeno and cilantro with sriracha aioli and soy sauce. The couple and their manager, Ryan, like to let their minds run wild with new monthly recipes. Their salmon burger is very popular for the Lenten season and now they are working on the aptly named Heart Attack consist of 5 different types of bacons. We are guessing it features pork, beef, turkey, chicken and tempeh bacon (haha we actually have no idea. Is there such a thing as chicken bacon? Chicky bake for short?)
The South Loop neighborhood is close to popular Chicago locales like Soldier Field, the Field Museum and the Shedd Aquarium in addition to public transportation making it an accessible choice for tourists and locals alike. If you want a relatively quick and tasty meal that doesn’t challenge your moral meat values, leave those golden arches behind and taste Burger Point!