Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Billy Goat Tavern

Billy Goat Tavern
430 N. Michigan at Lower Level

And...we're back. Sad to say, you will find no history lessons here. For all you need to know on the immortal Billy Goat, please check the script on their website or peep the legendariness below:

What speaks volumes about the Billy Goat's status in Chicago is that upon entering, around 530pm, we witnessed what appeared to be some sort of sweet-sixteen/debutante's ball extravaganza going on inside the confines of the BGT. Teenage girls galore, and a few parents packed the dingy room, delighting in burgers and singing along to the Now That's What I Call Music volumes playing on the jukebox. Within ten minutes or so of our arrival, the massive entourage began to clear out.

Some straggling adults explained that they were a tour group visiting from Alabama. "We don't want to give a bad impression of the South," one pleasantly explained to us. "We have all of our teeth. We graduated from college. And none of us our married to our family members." As my colleague Nat noted of this type of candor, "It would be like if I told somebody I was Jewish and then immediately offered them a 50-dollar bill."

When the third member of our party, the visiting artist also responsible for the photos on this post, arrived, it was time to get down to business. Sticking with tradition, we all ordered chips to accompany our burgers (only mine without cheese). Vitner's, a Chicago classic, whose be-saxophoned mascot, Vinnie, is clearly the ideal male companion to New York's Utz girl.

As for the burgers, they are what they are: Made quickly, completely satisfying, and not as terribly greasy as one would imagine. The buns are nicely starch-dusted. After two burgers apiece, we all left feeling full and not sick. The BGT's clear advantage over other burger venues is its small fixins bar. One is given their choice of unlimited pickles, relish, mustard, ketchup, and onions. All ingredients are fresh. And the unlimited supply of these things provides you the opportunity to overload your burger with the toppings of your choice:

As a pickles-enthusiast, I could not have been more pleased with the chance to fully deck my burger with the pickle chips provided. Additionally, the fixins bar gives one a true sense of agency in the process of gormandizing. There is an implicit agreement between you and the line cook in which you trust him to properly grill up your burger, and he trusts you to dress it to perfection. Of course, what constitutes perfection is individualized for each customer, and thus the whole experience becomes an exercise in true American consumption, one that I hope rings true from the shores of Lake Michigan all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico near Mobile, AL.


Sean said...

Greetings from the similarly named Chicago Bar Project. Congratulations on a great body of work. Shoot me an e-mail if you're interest in teaming up together.


Sean said...

Chicago Bar Project has moved to http://www.chibarproject.com and we still love the Chicago Burger Project!

Inhumanoid said...

I don't know why they add so many cucumbers, probably it is there secret recipe. there are places that they add Generic Viagra to increase the flavor.

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