RedEye

Burgers, beer and bourbon smackdown

The first salvo of the Great Burger-Beer-Bourbon Skirmish of 2012 was fired June 8. The last salvo was also fired June 8. There were no casualties or damage, and to be honest, it was a one-sided skirmish.

Via Twitter, Owen & Engine in Logan Square fired on Publican Quality Meats in Fulton Market. Aside from a handful of retweets and stray comments, the war itself remained mercifully passive-aggressive, dumb and brief. PQM never bothered to fire back, or even respond, though it certainly had reason to. O&E tweeted: "So PQM can't come up with their own specials, gotta steal ours. Least we know where BBB started."

Oh, snap!

The BBB it alluded to was its Tuesday night burger, beer and bourbon special. PQM had recently announced its own Tuesday night burger, beer and bourbon special. So in subsequent tweets (none of which PQM responded to), O&E began referring to its own BBB special as the original Chicago BBB special.

"You know, I think the average person understands offering a burger, beer and bourbon special one night a week isn't an incredibly original idea in the first place. But I guess they were trying to instigate something," said Andrea Tambourine, PQM assistant manager, who has not-so-surreptitious plans to check out O&E's Tuesday night BBB special. Indeed, there has even been very tentative talk between the burger slingers to settle this — patty-to-patty, or as the O&E tweet stream suggested, "Fisticuffs on the Flattop."

Until that happens, here's our take.

Publican Quality Meats

The deal: $10 burgers (the Publican burger and a weekly special); $5 bourbon shots; usual beer prices.

The burger:
The nice thing about eating a burger in a deli/butcher shop is that you know the meat will look all screwy and idiosyncratic — like a mom's attempt at replicating McDonald's — and Publican's gnarled, craggy patties have a lot of personality. The signature burger comes with a square yellow slice of American cheese, ample mustard, a spicy dill relish and a pile of balsamic red onion, held in place with a white-dusted potato bun. It's not too big, not too small, a perfectly sloppy blend of sirloin, skirt steak and chuck. Also, each week there is a special second burger. The week we attended, Justin Large (of Big Star) contributed a "'Fun' Dido Burger" topped with house-made chorizo, roasted salsa, Chihuahua cheese and poblano pepper. (Oh, almost forgot: Burgers come with crisp, excellent fries and a house-cured pickle delivering a bit of kick.)

The booze:
The Tuesday night we went, they poured a strong and caramelly Old Weller Antique bourbon. As for the beer: Generally, two drafts (one light, one dark) are offered and a smallish but well-chosen selection of bottles. (For example, Three Floyds' terrific and vaguely citrus-esque Zombie Dust pale ale, which is $6.)

Mitigating factors:
Pleasant outdoor patio. Offering a choice of burgers (and beers) is thoughtful. And despite the a la carte nature of this special, our tab for two wasn't significantly higher than the O&E bill.

Publican Quality Meats, 825 W. Fulton Market; 312-445-8977. Special runs 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays.

Owen & Engine

The deal: And what a deal. The burger, fries, pickle, beer and bourbon shot — $15.

The burger:
The kind of burger that bleeds, that leaves a pool of beef juice on the plate (and on your chin). A patty is a half-pound Slagel Farm grind of short ribs and brisket, dropped between a toasted, house-baked potato "bap" — or a crinkled, airy English-style bun. It's all topped with a second burger's worth of caramelized onions. Comes with textbook fries (crisp outside, molten in) and a creamy malt-vinegar aioli.

The booze:
Everything arrives at once. We received a black, malty German Kostritzer Schwarzbier holding a thick white head of foam; and the bourbon was a smallish shot of mildish Old Overholt rye whiskey. (The offered beer, our server explained, tends to be "something smooth and drinkable with a huge burger.")

Mitigating factor:
The beer and bourbon are selected by the bartender.

Owen & Engine, 2700 N. Western Ave.; 773-235-2930. Special runs 5 p.m. Tuesdays to 2 a.m. Wednesdays.

The winner

Owen & Engine. The price is crazy, the burger is one of the city's unsung treasures and the beer selection is can't-miss. That said, it's quality burgers and booze for cheap — if we could call a tie, we would.

cborrelli@tribune.com

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • The winner

    The winner

    The winner: Owen & Engine: The price is crazy, the burger is one of the city's unsung treasures and the beer selection is can't-miss.

  • Keeping things 'casual' and the trouble with pity sex

    Keeping things 'casual' and the trouble with pity sex

    Dear Anna: I’ve been seeing this guy very casually for about six months now. It’s going okay, but I’m wondering if it’s possible to ask for more communication and if we might hang out more than once a week, or if this will ruin the whole “casual” vibe. Please advise.—Cool Cat

  • New reality TV show to follow Chicago tattoo artists

    New reality TV show to follow Chicago tattoo artists

    Artists at a Pilsen tattoo shop who claim they "run Chicago" will be the focus of a new VH1 reality TV show, network representatives announced this week. "Black Ink Crew: Chicago," which premieres Oct. 26, profiles the artists at 9Mag tattoo parlor, 2150 S. Canalport Ave. The show "follows a passionate...

  • At least 11 people shot dead, including 11-year-old boy, since late Tuesday in Chicago

    At least 11 people shot dead, including 11-year-old boy, since late Tuesday in Chicago

    At least 11 people have died and 14 others have been wounded in separate shootings in Chicago since late Tuesday, including the accidental shooting of an 11-year-old boy, police said.

  • Emanuel set to call for largest property tax hike in modern Chicago history

    Emanuel set to call for largest property tax hike in modern Chicago history

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel is set to call for the largest property tax increase in modern Chicago history to raise enough money to make a major pension payment for police and firefighters next year, the mayor's City Council floor leader and a City Hall source told the Chicago Tribune late Wednesday.

  • Security ushers Emanuel away as Dyett protesters take to stage at budget hearing

    Security ushers Emanuel away as Dyett protesters take to stage at budget hearing

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel had to be ushered off by his security detail during a public hearing on the city budget Wednesday night after protesters trying to keep a South Side high school open took to the stage.

  • Best new movies

    Best new movies

    Reviews of recent favorites like 'We Are Your Friends,' 'Digging for Fire,' 'Straight Outta Compton,' 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,' 'The End of the Tour,' 'The Gift, 'Ricki and the Flash,' 'Mission: Impossible--Rogue Nation,' 'Ant-Man,' 'Amy,' 'Magic Mike XXL,' 'The Overnight,' 'Me and Earl and the...

  • Chicago college football bar guide

    Chicago college football bar guide

    Chicago's only big sports conflict for most of the year is Cubs vs. Sox, but when college football season kicks off, North Side or South Side is much less relevant than your alma mater. The Big 10 might dominate here, but the diverse city means you'll find sports bars dedicated to a huge range...

Comments
Loading
87°