I am not one of those folks who views the hamburger as the greatest edible item known to man (currently that title is reserved for La Quercia Acorn Edition Prosciuttio). Even though I’ve had Chicago’s finest, and I appreciate a good one, I will almost always pass up a burger in favor of a decent slice of pizza or a well-grilled steak.
At least that’s how I thought I felt until I happened upon Schoop’s near the Chicago/Indiana border. The crazy thing is it’s not even the best burger I’ve had in Chicago—it’s not nearly as well seasoned and cooked as Rosebud’s, or as juicy and smoky as Marc Burger’s, or as fresh and classic as Topnotch’s. But there’s something about the whole package—the tangy pickles, the drippy mayo, the pillowy bun, and, more than anything, the crispy crust—that makes me crave one more than any other burger in a 20-mile radius (that’s how close the nearest Schoop’s is to me).
Schoop’s somehow commits two of the greatest grilling sins ever, including cooking their patties well done and flattening them with a spatula so much that the thinned out edges get dry and crispy. And yet, that contrast of the crispy edge and somehow still juicy interior is what makes me road trip for this burger on a regular basis. I don’t even hold a grudge that every time I dine there I get this horribly cheesy early 9’0s hip hop anthem from Salt-N-Pepa stuck in my head. Clearly, this is one great burger.