Nearly 18 years after his family opened Big’z Burger Joint, Alexander “Zander” Stanley, manager of the Loop 1604 flagship location, said the brand has stayed true to their core menu items and approach to casual dining.

“The idea was always to serve quality food, made from scratch, at a family-friendly place where the parents can sit down and enjoy a really good hamburger while the kids could still run wild,” Stanley said.

The background

Stanley said personnel at Big’z aim to keep things simple in cooking up a variety of burgers, which a diner can get as a single-, double- or triple-patty meal.

Aside from lettuce, tomatoes and dill pickle chips, optional additions to any Big’z burger range from applewood smoked bacon, beer braised onions and jalapenos to pineapple and double cheese. Or a guest can make their burgers “dirty,” where a fried egg is placed atop the patty.

Big’z menu also features a Chalupa Burger, with a crispy tostada shell filled with refried beans, cheddar cheese and pico de gallo, and the Beyond Burger, a plant-based patty served on a wheat bun.

Big’z offers other burgers, such as The Big Chicken and The Big Veggie, a chili cheese hot dog, a traditional Chicago dog, and a Cobb salad that Stanley said can be a standalone dish due to its large size.

Stanley said he feels that the freshness of ingredients and food preparers’ attention to detail—including deconstructing burgers and packing toppings separate for to-go orders—make a big difference in the eyes of diners.

“You can have all the fresh products in the world, but if you're not putting them together properly and making it appealing, it all can be overlooked,” Stanley said. “It is just a simple cheeseburger to customers, but to us, it's an experience.”

What else?

According to Stanley, Big’z Burger Joint—which has two other North Side locations—seeks to be a big part of the community.

“We donate to schools, and host spirit nights and events for local schools. We help anyone that comes asking because we love doing it and because they're the ones that keeping us in business,” he said.