'Big Baby' burger moves into Gold Coast hotel

April 17, 2013 9:45:02 AM PDT
Created more than 40 years ago, the Big Baby burger is a favorite on the city's Southwest Side. Now, a chef who grew up in the area is plating an upscale version of the double-patty burger at Little Market Brasserie, located in the Talbott Hotel.

According to Chicago legend, the Big Baby was a local option to McDonald's Big Mac. It's not fancy, and only a few bucks at Nicky's Hot Dogs in Garfield Ridge.

"For some reason I kept thinking about Nicky's restaurant where I grew up and it was the thin patties, the griddled, double cheeseburger from my childhood where we used to hang out when I was a kid and I thought let's try something like that," said Little Market Brasserie Chef Ryan Poli.

Poli grinds his own beef, makes his own ketchup, mustard and spicy mayo, then doubles down on both cheese slices and beef patties; adding caramelized onions and sandwiching it all between sesame seed buns.

"We make our own pickles, we're using Dijon mustard; we use a brioche bun that I had to tell the bakery to add sesame seeds to keep it as original to the Big Baby as possible. Gotta represent the South Side somehow," he said.

The inspiration comes from the corner of Austin and Archer, in the Garfield Ridge neighborhood, where Nicky's has been a fixture for more than 40 years, cranking out gyros, hot dogs and Big Babys.

"Big Baby is a double cheeseburger with two patties," said Nicky's owner Jim Lilas.

Here, a pair of two-ounce frozen patties get griddled, along with the sesame seed buns and onions. It must be stacked in a certain order to qualify as a true Big Baby.

"First you put mustard, ketchup then the pickles, then the burger then the cheese, then the other burger and on the top the onions," said Lilas.

By the way, the price difference is pretty significant: $13.50 for the gourmet, handmade version at Little Market and $2.50 for the frozen patty original version at Nicky's.

Nicky's Hot Dogs
6142 S Archer Ave
(at Austin Ave)
Chicago, IL 60638
(773) 585-3675

The Little Market Brasserie
10 E. Delaware Pl
Chicago, IL 60611
312-640-8141 littlemarketbrasserie.com


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