After hearing that Edzo’s was extending its hours, I thought burger news in the town of Evanston just couldn’t get any better. Thankfully, I was wrong. The most recent location of the much acclaimed Chicago-based DMK Burger Bar (featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, no less) opened a few steps away from the Noyes St. “L” stop. The Evanston franchise, DMK Burger & Fish, is a combination of their two brands, DMK Burger Bar and Fish Bar Chicago, with a selection of options from both menus.
The restaurant is tiny with only a few communal tables, but that doesn’t stop it from drawing a crowd. When I came for lunch at 11 am, I was one of two customers. By noon, the place was swamped, with people crowding the entrance and filling every seat at the wooden high-top tables. But if you don’t have time to dine in, there’s a take-out window where you can grab your burger and go. Even at lunchtime, the place had a cool, sleek atmosphere that made it feel like it would be the perfect late-night joint as well. And it very well can be, with extended hours ranging from midnight on Friday and Saturday and 10 pm the rest of the week. The owner even says if it turns out people want to come in later, they stay open later.
The menu is similarly compact, but its options cover everything from the classic burger to the spicy Southwestern-style BBQ burger, and even healthier options like the veggie and turkey burgers. In terms of its Fish Bar influence, crab cake, cod fish and “Satchmo” sandwiches (shrimp and crawfish) round out the menu. And get this: they even have wings.
The menu, however, is not super cheap. Although I have no problem paying $10 for a great, high-quality burger, realistically most college kids may not be ready to fork over that much cash for it. Fortunately the portions are large enough that sharing is both possible and probably preferable, but either way DMK is definitely worth the monetary and caloric splurge.
I had the #1, a burger with “aged cheddar, smoked bacon, charred balsamic red onions and Rufus Teague’s BBQ sauce,” as well as an order of their Parmesan fries with truffle cream. But out of all the many flavors, the crispy, salty bacon in the burger was the real star. And though DMK is all about the meat, they have a way with their potatoes too. I’ve been to the Chicago location twice, and have similarly felt those times that unlike most places, DMK’s fries can always keep up with the intense flavors of their burgers. They offer a variety of them in small and large sizes, perfect for sharing.
And for those who are concerned with what they’ll wash it all down with, a sign on their tables indicates that beer will be coming in the spring. Until then, it fits the bill for a great new place to gorge on a greasy, handcrafted burger after a late night of drinking or studying. Or, for me and a bunch of other hungry Evanston patrons, on a early Thursday afternoon.
Location: 815 Noyes St, Evanston IL 60201
Hours of Operation: Sun, Tues-Thurs: 11am-10pm, Fri-Sat: 11am-12am