The Burgers of Chi
We continue on this May with the celebration of "National Hamburger Month". Today we head over to a place that, surprisingly so, hasn't been featured on S'C'&C since the site first went up back in 2008. That however doesn't mean it hasn't been featured in all sorts of other articles, blog posts and TV shows alike. Paradise Pup on River Road in Des Plaines is a Chicagoland institution. They've been filling the air with whiffs of smoke from their charcoal grill since the two brothers opened the tiny shack about 25 years back.
a longtime Chicagoland favorite in Des Plaines
These days the tiny hut is anything but under the radar. Even before Guy Fieri came rolling thru spitting one word adjectives about the small menus offerings, there was almost always a line out the door. Then again only about 10 people can fit inside the place anyway so it's not as if that means your going to wait forever. However I've seen times when the line is three times the length of the building itself. It's not far from O'Hare airport so this is a nice option for some food if you're ever flying in or going out from there.
Even though it's called 'Paradise Pup' and there's a hot dog on the sign which they do serve, it's all about the burgers here and that's what 90% of the people that are in line are going to get. On top of the dogs which you can get grilled, they also offer a homemade Italian beef sandwich and a few different variations of a grilled chicken. I have yet to get a beef but the grilled chicken's are the real deal and worth getting now and then. They offer them marinated a few ways, I like the teriyaki version which you can dress yourself with any of the topping options they have for hot dogs and hamburgers. Not to be under looked these are definitely one of the better chicken sandwiches of any variety from around town in my book.
Grilled Chicken Sandwich from Paradise Pup
As good as the chicken sandwiches are, if I'm gonna get one, it's going to be with one of their charcoal grilled cheddar burgers as well. It's the burgers that made this place so well known and create the sometimes 20+ minute waits, especially on nice days during the lunch rush. They're only open until 5p and closed on Sundays so you gotta get your fix in that time span and plenty of people do. They always move quick due to the fact the menu is simple and the grill can hold quite a few of the 1/3 pound fresh never frozen pre-formed patties of beef they use. You get to watch it all happen as you stand over the counter after you pay, waiting for your food to be prepared. If you had never heard of nor been to PP until you randomly drove by one day, you'd have a pretty hard time not stopping in. It would be hard to assume the place be anything but great due to the smell of grilled beef flooding the air and the long line of people waiting to get themselves a taste of it.
Then when you see the big heaping pile of grilled onions and said beef patties cooking away it's already a wrap before you've had a taste. "Everything" on it means lettuce, tomato, pickles, onion, ketchup and mayonnaise. It's an odd "everything" but you can have whatever you want and I go with the Chicago style stand favorite cheddar spread (a must in my book) along with grilled onions, pickles, mustard and tomatoes. Each and everytime it hits the spot and the fresh challah bun always does a great job of holding it all together. So as the warm weather nears I know I'll find myself here at least a few times this summer. Waiting in line on a nice sunny day and knowing a char cheddar burger isn't far away has been a part of my summers since I first stopped in here way back in high school. I've been a big fan of their burgers ever since.
Cheddar Burger from Paradise Pup
1724 South River Road
Des Plaines, IL 60018