Here I am, sitting in the faculty office at the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in downtown Chicago, knowing that the everyone outside is currently enjoying a beautiful, balmy early October Friday evening, and I can't stop thinking about heading out someplace where I can sit outside and enjoy a great burger and a glass of good beer while the weather's still nice. We don't have classes on Fridays, but I'm waiting for students who are coming to what's known as a "skills lab", where they can practice whatever they need to work on in an open kitchen supervised by a chef-instructor. Fortunately, skills labs are over by 9pm, so I'll still have time to grab a burger and a beer before heading home.
For me, whenever the subject of a great burger comes up (or whenever I'm hungry, for that matter), my thoughts turn immediately to a north side institution called Moody's Pub. They've been serving great burgers for over 50 years, and as if the food isn't enough of a draw, Moody's is also endowed with one of the most tranquil and arboreal beer gardens in the city.
Of course, like so many other hotly debated food topics, where to find the best burger in a city of great burgers is something that almost no two people will agree on. I'm fine with that. I'm sure that there is at least one other person lurking out there that shares my opinion about the Moody's burger. It's a thing of simple magnificence. A half pound patty, grilled (key in a burger's attainment of "greatness") to your preferred doneness, served on a soft, white bun accompanied by a slice of onion, a piece of crunchy iceberg lettuce, a pickle, and a pile of crispy fresh-cut fries. It's exactly what you're thinking of when you dream about the perfectly executed family cookout burger. I usually choose to embellish my burger a bit, and order the "Moody Blue" (crumbled blue cheese mounded on top of the hot patty so it's melted and oozy by the time you bite into it) with crumbled bacon. My stomach just managed to turn itself inside out while I wrote this post, and since skills lab just ended, I'll see you at Moody's!