The Experience: Beograd Meat Market and Café, located on Irving Park and Richmond, radiates fierce yet soothing Eastern European vibes due to both the relaxed atmosphere and the food quality that holds its own when it comes to Eastern European (specifically Serbian) restaurants in Chicago. Enjoying the weather outside on the patio with me were multiple families, patiently cutting up meat for their hungry children, and husky men sipping coffee and chatting in hushed foreign tones.
Burger Ordered: The Stuffed Burger
The Taste: Upon the arrival of my meal, a stuffed burger (punjena pljeskavica), I experienced meat inception – ham and mozzarella stuffed inside of a patty that is 70% beef and 30% pork. As explained by the owner, the restaurant has a very organized manner of handling the meat that composes this burger in order to keep it as fresh as possible: the meat is ordered each Monday, cut and ground on Tuesday, seasoned on Wednesday, rests Thursday, and is prepared to be served on Friday. My meal came with a pita (lepinja) and a side of sour cream and onions, inviting me to play around with my food. I could eat it traditionally: cut open the pita, place the stuffed burger inside, spread the sour cream and sprinkle it with onions, or I could rip off pieces of the pita and arrange the ingredients into smaller, finger-sized bites. I dove into it in the former manner but quickly transitioned to the finger-sized route in order to share my meal with my friends, adapting to the more Eastern European way of spending time at the table. The cost of this entire meal is $12, and it’s cheap, considering that the burger is so large and fulfilling that one burger can comfortably satisfy multiple empty stomachs.
The Verdict: The reputable quality of the burger combined with Beograd’s easygoing atmosphere invites every type of burger lover, ranging from the kind who needs to spend several hours on a laptop to the type who desires a romantic night out. I encourage each type to open him or herself up to this burger experience in order to personally discover one of the ways in which the busy Irving Park Road can temporarily transform itself Chicago’s own hidden Eastern European corridor.
Beograd Café is located at 2933 West Irving Park Road in Chicago, Illinois.