If you haven't been formally introduced to Chicago cornerstone Kuma's Corner, let us do the honors. This tiny spot boasts death metal décor, deafening music and the lack of need to eat for 24 hours following one of their epic (and we truly mean epic) burgers. A substantial indie-beer list, innovative touches like crisp yet bouncy pretzel rolls, roasted garlic mayo, crunchy fried salami and fried shallot rings plus theme-appropriate burger names like "Plague Bringer" and "Goatwhore" really make Kuma's Corner stand out.
The burger we're fixated on this week speaks for itself. The Lair of the Minotaur burger, named for the Chi-town thrash metal band, wouldn't be out of place at $20 in a high-end restaurant instead of $13 at a dive where charming graffiti covers the pinups that serve as bathroom wallpaper. Here's what you can find atop the beast: Caramelized onions, brie, pancetta and…wait for it…half a bourbon-soaked pear. Now we love booze infusions, but combining them that with a burger is an obscenely good idea. To honor these griddle heroes, this brie 'n booze burger earns a spot in Food Republic's heart-stomach.