The Loyalist: Chicago’s Culinary Gem Serving the Ultimate Burger


“The Loyalist, tucked in the center of Chicago, offers a burger experience that goes beyond the usual. This burger is a culinary masterpiece, with juicy, precisely seasoned patties, melty cheese, and secret sauce. Whether you’re a local or a visiting, The Loyalist’s burger is a must-have, delivering a memorable taste of Chicago delight.”

Arrival of the Loyalist

When famous chef pair John Shields and Karen Urie-Shields established The Loyalist in 2016, they took a daring new direction. Their gourmet dining experience, which included stops at prestigious restaurants such as Charlie Trotter’s and Town House, prepared them well. But it was at The Loyalist that they could showcase their culinary skills in a more relaxed setting.

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The Ultimate Chicago Burger

The Loyalist rapidly became a popular restaurant, with its burger at the center of the attention. Some even pronounced it superior to the famed Au Cheval burger, which had long held the title of Chicago’s ultimate burger. As a former Chicago resident and burger fan, I wanted to see what the fuss was about.

Nostalgia for Sesame Seed Bun

Talking with John Shields, it’s evident that nostalgia had a significant influence in the creation of The Loyalist Burger. “I wanted to do something that reminded me personally of a burger I grew up with,” he says. And that is just what they accomplished.

Here’s what makes The Loyalist Burger stand out:

The burger: Made with chuck, short rib, and bacon, this burger has a mild, smokey flavor and great richness. It’s the heart of the burger, perfectly cooked.

The Cheese: The cheese is gooey and tempting, melding perfectly with the patties. It’s the kind of cheese pull that burger lovers dream about.

Onions: Caramelized onions drape over the edge of the luscious burger, providing sweetness and depth. They’re perfectly burned, which enhances each taste.

The Bun: A sesame seed bun holds the masterpiece. It’s delicate but strong, making it the ideal vessel for this burger symphony.

The Loyalist Versus Au Cheval

Now let us address the elephant in the room: Au Cheval. Yes, the Au Cheval burger is tasty. But am I prepared to wait hours for it? Not when there is a better alternative nearby. The Loyalist burger embodies nostalgia, flavor, and simplicity without the marathon wait.

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The Verdict

After my first bite, I realized why everyone was so excited. The Loyalist burger has a distinct appeal—it sends you back to childhood cookouts, the sizzle of the grill, and the thrill of sinking your teeth into a classic. It’s a burger deserving of its crown.

So, the next time you’re in Chicago, skip the lines and visit The Loyalist. Order the burger, relish each bite, and toast to properly executed culinary nostalgia.


The Loyalist, located in the heart of Chicago, has elevated burger dining to an art form. This diner, led by culinary maestros John Shields and Karen Urie-Shields, offers a burger experience unlike any other. Crafted with chuck, short rib, and bacon, garnished with gooey cheese and caramelized onions, all wrapped in a sesame seed bun, each bite takes you on a nostalgic journey. What’s the verdict? The Loyalist burger is unrivaled, a Chicago delicacy not to be missed.

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