When I moved to Chicago, I yelped pretty much every restaurant I drove by that had a large crowd. At first I thought if it was super busy it had to be good but soon found out that isn’t the case. This is with one exception – Small Cheval – located at Milwaukee and W Wabansia – in the Bucktown neighborhood. Based on it’s big brother, Au Cheval, Small Cheval is a hassle free burger and fries joint that will keep you coming back for more and more.
Disclaimer: I haven’t made my way to Au Cheval, which based on reviews is to die for and people are willing to give up their first born to eat there, so my review is based purely on my Small Cheval experience and not as a comparison to Au Cheval.
It’s located right on the corner of Milwaukee and W Wabansia. Parking is street parking like everything else in this area. At certain times of the day it can get pretty busy so if you don’t want to fight the traffic the best option is to go Sunday at lunch time. The inside is rustic but clean with a small ordering stand and kitchen. Everyone who works there is incredible friendly. The seating is communal seating which can get busy but I’ve always found seating within 5 minutes of ordering. There is a great patio space so you can sit outside and enjoy the summer weather – having an outdoor seating space in Chicago is a must!
Now to the good stuff – Small Cheval keeps it simple. Canned coke, burger or cheeseburger, and fries. Pricing for the cheeseburger will run you $9.95 and fries add $2.95, but both are well worth it. The cheeseburger is 2 patties of meat, smothered with melted cheese, a delicious dill pickle, their concoction of dijonnaise, all on two pieces of soft, warm bread. Everything is melted together perfectly. If you aren’t a dill pickle fan though I would say leave that off your burger, it could ruin the whole thing for you! Add fries to your meal – I promise you will thank me later – and grab some of their garlic aioli at the condiments stand to dip your fries in. It’s amazing.
I hear Au Cheval has a ton more options and the most popular burger includes an egg on top but you will have to wait in line to even experience it. I’ve heard on Saturdays the wait can be up to 2-3 hours long. Small Cheval doesn’t have all the options as it’s big brother where you can add bacon (for $2) to your burger but that’s about it, but you don’t have to waste your entire afternoon waiting to eat.
Small Cheval is a fantastic no-thrives spot so overall I give it a rating of:
4.5 out of 5 stars
Pictures for your viewing pleasure:
Address: 1732 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647