Buzz -- Burgers, Barrels & BeerNorth Center | Website
Located in Blue Stem Martini Lounge's former space at 1935 W. Irving Park Road, Buzz offers a mix of tall tables and bench-style half-booths. To make it clear that this is not a sports bar, the two TVs above the bar show black-and-white movies. Favorites include the ramen burger ($13), which uses two "buns" fashioned out of ramen noodles bound together with egg and is inspired by the one served at Brooklyn's Smorgasburg this summer. It's stuffed with a Kobe beef patty, arugula, sriracha, bacon and cheddar that helps provide some additional structural integrity. Fries ($3) are served on the side with a trio of homemade sauces: spicy ketchup, Dijon mustard and truffle aioli. The menu also features shareable dishes such as poutine ($10) made with three types of cheese, gravy, scallions and chunks or bacon and ham, plus a Brussels sprout salad ($8) with shaved sprouts, raisins and slivered roasted almonds tossed in a citrus dressing. Ask for the "secret menu" and you'll be given an entirely new list of options, including the Blastoff Burger ($10) with four cheeses cooked into the patty along with bacon, aioli and, appropriately, a secret sauce. The restaurant uses grass-fed beef sourced from farms in Missouri and Wisconsin and buns from Highland Baking Co. in suburban Northbrook. They're currently using all local produce, though they'll have to ship in ingredients for the winter. Buzz also serves organic coffee grown in Guatemala—and sells bags of beans for diners who want to take some home. 100 varieties of beer and a house wine also accompany the menu.