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Nearly three years ago, a food writer, a dining critic and a mostly vegetarian entertainment reporter piled into a Tribune-owned Chevrolet Malibu and hit the road to name Chicagoland’s best veggie burger. The initial research was conducted by Tribune reporter Monica Eng, who sacrificially scarfed down more than a dozen before bringing Phil Vettel and this former pescatarian (don’t judge) on board to hash out the final four: Grand Lux Cafe, The Counter and Ed Debevic’s, all in Chicago, and Michael’s Chicago Style Red Hots in Highland Park.

Then Came DMK Burger Bar

Back then, those were the best bets.

The newly opened Counter, a build-your-own-burger joint offering multiple proteins (or faux) and fixings, was a novel concept at the time, while Michael’s was an old standby we couldn’t ignore. Ed Debevic’s offered a satisfyingly meaty meatless burger, and Grand Lux, that guilty pleasure destination among Tribuners and so many others, wowed us with its wild mushroom patty and basil aioli spread — and won.

So many burger joints had opened since the last roundup, Vettel and I decided to eat in search of the best new veggie burger in Chicago, presumably one that would give Grand Lux a run for its mushrooms. Fortunately, all those options provided deliciousness to spare and also taught us that there is no one predominant breed of burger — not even among the veggies. This led to a manifesto of sorts to help us sort the warmed-over Bocas from the bona fide veggie burgers.

After seeking out and sampling as many patties as possible, we settled on seven worth their weight in soy protein.

And the winner is…….

DMK Burger Bar


House Grain & Veggie Burger: One bite and we knew this was the winner. As Phil put it, “This tastes like it was made by a chef.” Our compliments to Misters Morton and Kornick. Aged cheddar, pesto mayo, fresh tomatoes and surprisingly yummy eggplant complement a patty derived of rice, zucchini, beans, peppers and mixed veggies for a balanced flavor profile that’s as different as it is delicious. We’d go out of our way to revisit this one. $8, 2954 N. Sheffield Ave., 773-360-8686;

About Franchising with DMK Burger Bar

DMK Burger Bar is a refreshing restaurant concept that offers award-winning, 100% grass-fed beef, custom baked buns, craveable fries and shakes made in-house, and craft beers, cocktails and wine. What makes us different from other burger joint concepts out there is that we have three industry experts with a wide-ranging set of skills behind the most mindful burger concept on the planet. This allows owners to take advantage of a chef-designed menu, choose from a variety of flexible business models, and access tested and proven marketing strategies that bring in high revenues.

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