I finally got around to meeting a friend for lunch at Kuma’s. I have wanted to go there since it opened, but honestly, just kept forgetting about it. It is a place I had wanted to try in Chicago, but once I figured out it was opening here, I thought, no point wasting a Chicago meal on something I can get here!
First things first, it’s loud. Really loud. Their thing is death metal music—it’s what they play, and it’s how the burgers are named. Hey I get it, my boyfriend in high school was into this exact music—I have heard my fair share. But that was a long time ago for me, and I just have a hard time with any kind of music this loud unless I’m at a concert. It’s hard to carry on a conversation. Even the server sort of joked about how hard it is to take orders. We were eating early so it was extra loud when we first got there because we were the first customers of the day—and they did turn it down a teensy bit after a few tables were seated. But prepare yourself. This is not a place for any kind of deep conversation.
But it was ok for us; we were just having a quick lunch. I like the way they offer smaller versions of many of their signature burgers on the lunch menu—a reduced size and a reduced price (the lunch burgers are around $9) I ordered the “Kuma” burger—I always think the one named after the place must be good right? It was a burger topped with sharp cheddar, bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion and a beautifully fried egg. While the burgers are cooked to order, because the smaller versions are harder to modulate I guess, you can only get rare, medium or well done. I normally would get medium rare, but that’s only available on the full-sized patties. So I went with medium. My friend got rare and it was probably the better choice. The burgers are served on pretzel rolls—I like this idea in theory, if it’s a nice soft, warm pretzel roll, but these are just a little dense for me—and big. Hard to fit in my mouth. I can only imagine the larger burger. The burger itself and the toppings were good though---a quality burger. Tender meat, perfect egg and the right proportions. We got fries with ours as our side and they were very good—those slightly fatter, slightly browner Brugge-style fries. Nice and salty. They serve them with their house ketchup but I noticed they had a garlic mayo on the menu so I got a side of that too. That was a good choice. Also good on my burger. I would definitely recommend getting it. My friend ordered the chipotle mayo on the side for the same reason and it was good as well—although it had some serious kick to it.
His burger was pretty darn good —it had a Greek flavor to it with herbed goat cheese, kalamata olives, and a tzatziki-like sauce if I recall properly. It had a more distinctive unique flavor than the Kuma burger, which was more like a jacked up version of a regular burger. It was also rare, so it was more tender. I really liked the goat cheese with it. And the olives. You know I love olives.
Overall, these are solid burgers. The fries are also really good. I wouldn’t say it’s one of the best burgers in town, but I would happily eat one again. I wish there were bun options though. Love the fries, and the fact that you have several sauce options to go with them (even if they don’t advertise them as such). I am intrigued by the build your own mac and cheese as well. The server was exceptionally friendly and checked on us often.
You gotta love a restaurant that states clearly on their menu, “there are NO vegan options!” and whose motto is “Harshing your Mellow since 2005.” If you like metal and meat, this is your place.
1127 Prospect Street