Don’t you love all those made-up national holidays that are a really great excuse to eat? It just so happens that May offers an abundance of fun food observances, from National Loaded Potato Month to National Strawberry Month. That’s all well and good, but I couldn’t pass up that the almighty burger also shares the May spotlight.
Can we take a minute to talk about the virtuous food that is a burger? You’ve got your carbs, you’ve got your protein, and with the many possibilities to get creative, you’ll never get bored. A traditional burger is aces, but other variations have come a long way—especially veggie burgers. Gone are the days that a meat-alternative burger meant choking down cardboard sandwiched in a bun. Oh, no, folks. These days, veggie burgers mean business. Here are five spots on the North Shore to try one in celebration of National Burger Month.
The fun thing about Happ Inn’s veggie burger is that it has a distinctly Mediterranean/Greek vibe. Made from falafel and black beans, the patty comes dressed with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, onion and an awesome tzatziki sauce that I basically wish I could put on everything. Little ones can tuck into three cheeseburger sliders from the kids menu—and I’m pretty sure they won’t mind the mini ice cream cone for dessert.
305 N. Happ Rd., Northfield
The newly opened Warehouse Eatery has quite the impressive burger menu (including a burger fried with butter on a flat top grill … beautiful). The veggie edition rivals any of them, though—this is a burger you’d order even if you’re a carnivore. A grilled portobello mushroom cap is topped with roasted red pepper, zucchini and oven-roasted tomato. Herb mayo and goat cheese are the finishing touches.
833 Deerfield Rd., Deerfield
Purple Sprout’s veggie burger isn’t for the faint of heart, but true-blue vegetarians and vegans will love it. The patty is hand-made from black beans and hempseed and served on a multigrain or gluten-free bun with microgreens. Similar to Happ Inn, my favorite part of this burger is the tahini-cilantro sauce—just enough spice to give each bite a kick.
341 E. Dundee Rd., Wheeling
If you’ve got a hankering for a veggie burger that’s big on, well, veggies, Jolane’s has your back. Served on herb focaccia, their version is a grilled portobello cap topped with yellow squash, sautéed spinach, red bell peppers, pesto mayo and—wait for it—gouda cheese. (Incidentally, Jolane’s also has a Norwegian salmon burger that looks quite tasty.)
1100 Milwaukee Ave., Glenview
I have to hand it to any restaurant that names their veggie burger the Tree Hugger. (Plus, North Branch claims it’s the best veggie burger you’ll ever have.) This one matches a homemade veggie patty up with roasted tomatoes, mixed greens, sauteéd green peppers, avocado, chipotle and rosemary aioli. Side note: My 7-year-old son loves the cheeseburger sliders here. He asks me to replicate them … and I can’t.
4520 W. Lake Ave., Glenview