The Burgers of Chi
Todays post is a long time coming as my first and only visit to the Choo Choo Diner in Des Plaines came in January of 2020 (before most had even heard of Covid). By the time we all knew what Covid was it had already closed due to the owners passing. More than two years later it’s open again with new owners / longtime customers. The restaurant dates back to 1951 when a local entrepreneur came up with the idea of opening a train themed spot, the big draw being having your burger basket delivered by a model train. The idea was part of a plan to beat out another newly opened hamburger joint nearby called McDonald’s. Ray Kroc even visited the Choo Choo to assure them that both places could exist together as McDonalds was not a sitdown spot at the time. You know how the rest of that story goes with more than 40,000 locations today but the Choo Choo has outlasted them all.
I visited the Choo Choo bc they were said to make a good burger. That said I can see the appeal in bringing your kid here as the model trains that bring you your food are fun and unique. They make a smashed burger but they’re not small. If you’ve ever been to a Schoop’s those burgers are a similar size. While this wasn’t on the same level as Schoop’s it was good enough to remind me of one of Chicagoland’s best burgers so that’s worth something. Fries were frozen but do come with your basket which will set you back about $12. Not cheap but what is these days? However it is filling.
Des Plaines, IL 60016