Lockdown is what I imagine Kuma’s Corner used to be before it got so damn popular. Located on Western Avenue, it’s a corner pub that specializes in burgers. Like Kuma’s the burgers at Lockdown are served on pretzel rolls and have amusing names. Like Kuma’s, you can build your own mac and cheese. And like Kuma’s music blares over the sound system and from the flat screens on the wall. Lockdown is not original with its vibe or menu that’s for sure — and yet there’s still a ton to recommend it.
Lockdown’s burgers are good size, juicy and just plain yum. On Tuesday nights they’re even half price — ringing in at a five dollar steal! You can get mac and cheese as a side too, which is a big bonus in my book, although I’ll admit I liked the fries better. And not every screen is showing music vids. No. There’s plenty of sports thrown in for good measure for those of us who need a Blackhawks fix while eating. Goal!!! But best of all, at Lockdown, you can walk right in and sit right down. No hour-long wait!
I couldn’t decide which burger I wanted to try, so I ordered The Flight Risk — three sliders that give you a taste of the variety on the menu. I sampled The Punk Bitch with garlic mustard, Gruyere, and prosciutto, The Ponzi Scheme with Fuji apple, prosciutto and Swiss and The Arson with a roasted scotch bonnet, Lockdown hot sauce and jalapeno Jack. My taste buds are still in recovery from The Arson — saying that it is smokin’ hot doesn’t go nearly far enough — but each slider was perfectly cooked and none were dry. I was also pleased that each was served on a little pretzel roll, and it was nice to have the chance to try different burgers all in one go. Still, I liked the full-sized burgers better because they were understandably juicier and more flavorful. The Big House — a classic with BBQ sauce, bacon and cheddar was particularly good.
I wasn’t shy about asking people at neighboring tables about their meals — it’s that kind of place — and I just couldn’t contain my curiosity when the guy at the table next to me got The Fat Elvis burger with bacon, banana and peanut butter. He raved about it, and it smelled good. But the burger that literally turned heads was The Possession of Shrooms, which was topped with goat cheese, portobello and wild mushrooms. I think there was truffle oil on it too maybe because it looked and smelled amazing. It’s the next burger on my “Lockdown-to-try-list.”
Speaking of lists, there is a little something for everyone on the menu, including chicken lovers and vegetarians, and the beer list has some nice local choices on it.
The bottom line is I’d go to Lockdown again… and soon… to try more. Is Kuma’s burger better? Yes, it is. Kuma’s does a much better job putting together its taste combos. And the mac and cheese there is better too. But factor in the wait and all of the hubbub surrounding Kuma’s , and Lockdown starts to look more appealing in comparison because it neatly side-steps all of that. Chances are you’ll be happier sticking with a traditional burger at Lockdown, but you’ll get a good filling meal, a few beers, and leave with a satisfied smile because you’ll still have money to spare.
Lockdown Bar and Grill
1024 N Western Ave
Chicago, IL 60622