Edzo's Burger Shop

Jeff Banowetz
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With so many restaurants to choose from in downtown Evanston, a line out the door is probably a good sign. A line out the door to grab a hamburger? Well you know you’re in for something good.

Edzo’s Burger Shop isn’t known for its décor—let’s face it, it’s a burger joint—but the reason that line out the door of the small restaurant is what’s on the plate.

“We do everything from whole ingredients,” said Eddie Lakin, the chef/owner of Edzo’s. “We buy whole pieces of beef and we cut them and grind them in-house. The beef is as fresh as you can possibly get it.”

Nothing is added until they shake some salt and pepper on the meat as it cooks. You’ll be impressed how something so simple can taste so good. But Edzo’s doesn’t stop there. You can also choose to “upgrade” to locally raised or grass-fed beef for your burger. On a recent visit, Edzo’s offered the choice of meat from the Rain Crow Ranch in Doniphan, Mo., or the CDK Angus Ranch in Lena, Ill. The Rain Crow features meat that was “grass-fed and finished, low in saturated fat and high in Omega 3s, natural, human and sustainable, while the CDK cuts featured 28-day dry-aged meat with “big, beefy flavor.”

Perhaps it’s not surprising to find out that Lakin comes from a culinary school background and worked in several fine-dining kitchens before opening his own restaurant.

“I think chef’s love to do these concepts, because its how we like to eat our food,” he said. “We just want the food to taste as great as it can be.”

The restaurant features hand-cut, twice cooked fries that are outstanding on their own or topped in one of nine tasty ways. They range from the tasty, like garlic fries (garlic-parsley butter) and truffle fries (truffle salt and parmesan), to the truly decadent loaded fries (cheese, bacon, green onions and sour cream) and crazy fries (chili, cheese, chopped onions).

If burgers aren’t your thing, well, you probably stopped reading by now. But the restaurant does figure good Chicago-style hot dogs, a turkey burger and a Portobello “burger” for the vegetarian friend you dragged here. I’m told it’s quite good.

Burger enthusiasts can choose between the 4-ounce griddle burger and the 8-ounce char burger, depending on your mood, and top them with everything from the giardiniera to a fried egg.

To top of your meal, indulge in one of Edzo’s signature $5 milk shakes. As the restaurant brags on its website, nothing fancy, just  “vanilla ice cream, hand-dipped, blended with milk and stuff like Oreos, peanut butter, or real bananas on an old-fashioned spindle machine. These old-style machines blend rather than cut, and mix more slowly than modern blenders, which yields a smoother, creamier finished product, due to less air being whipped into the mix.”

I just know they taste good. (They also add fruit flavors in the summer when it is in season.)

OK, so you may need to schedule a day-hike to burn off the calories, but when you’re up for forgetting about the calorie counts and just enjoying some great American classics, you can’t beat Edzo’s.


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