With no fewer than 9 restaurants, restaurant kingpin David Burke is everywhere: Chicago, NYC and soon Aspen. His legendary David Burke Primehouse in the James Hotel Chicago is known for its hefty cuts of meats, so it’s not surprising that he opened a high-end sandwich shop next door. With Burke’s Bacon Bar, Burke is betting that the bacon trend is here to stay. The main concept is his signature “handwiches,” palm-sized sandwiches packed with bacon and other ingredients.
Upon arrival you’ll realize that David Burke’s Bacon Bar really is simply a bar, with no seating, that serves bacon-centric dishes. The space itself is adorable and cozy, with bacon propaganda in every corner of the cholesterol factory and an open kitchen with 6 different angelic pieces of pork hanging in the background, well lit in all their glory.
The menu includes 9 different handwiches. Each of them runs at $4 a pop, but you can snag three for $11. Bacon is cleverly incorporated into each of the eight non-vegetarian options. Some interesting favorites include the River North bacon dog with jalapeño bacon jam, the beef n’ cheddar with steak sauce mayo and Matilda bacon, and the five-spice duck with Chinese bacon.
Despite the creativity in many of the handwiches, the most enjoyable bites came from the simple CBLT (cheddar, bacon, lettuce and tomato), as others had too many flavor points considering the small size. While bacon is a delightful compliment to many of the menu options, the fat slab of black-peppered bacon shines in the CBLT.
If you find yourself needing to satisfy your sweet tooth, Burke’s Bacon Bar offers bacon chocolate chip cookies, bacon peanut brittle and classic soft serve ice cream.
Visit the bar, but not with a meal in mind. I made the trip on an empty stomach and ended up paying $15 for three humble handwiches, a cookie and a drink. To my disappointment, it simply felt like an appetizer that I had to eat on the sidewalk.
That being said, I am a huge fan of David Burke’s concept, especially in the downtown location. Whether you’re on the run during a lunch break, or you simply aren’t hungry enough for a full meal, stop by David Burke’s Bacon Bar for a petite taste of heaven.
Address: 610 N Rush St., Chicago IL 60611
Hours of operation: Sun-Fri: 11am to 2am, Sat 11am to 3am