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Kuma’s Corner
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Kuma’s Corner

I don’t really get Death Metal. There’s no need to explain this. Someone at Kuma likes Death Metal, and they play it nonstop there. They had a list of rules that was created by someone who was obviously picked on a whole heck of a lot in high school. NO CUBS PARAPHERNALIA, We will NOT put the game on for you, don’t request music. Instead of the game, they have DVDs to watch. Transporter 3 is probably the worst movie I’ve ever seen, and they displayed it proudly. This is where the wheels fell off the “We won’t put on the game,” rule. It’s one thing to be anti-sports, but it’s another thing to be anti-sports AND anti-art. Why am I questioning the tastes of those who like death metal? I’m guessing I’ll never know – I was never inappropriately touched by a member of my extended family as a child.

The interior was interesting. There’s a cool Rat Fink-ish Kuma design and some pin-up girl chic art. It’s cool – here are some bloody boobs:

On a per-bite average, Kuma was my favorite stop in Chicago. Not the most exceptional bite, but the best quality we had from one restaurant. I recommend this be one of your meals if you’re only here for a day (but I also recommend that you eat four meals that day).

When I’d stated that I didn’t want to eat another burger without a brioche bun (I think flip burger), I hadn’t had the pretzel bun from Kuma. We had the Insect Warfare on the pretzel bun:

Damn.

Next time you see pretzel buns, buy them and make a few burgers. It helps to spice them up a bit with a Panko-Crusted Goat Cheese Medallion, but the pretzel bun will wow you just enough. I might even butter and pan fry for maximum efficacy. The buger was my second favorite bite of the trip (behind Pucci’s Fried Steak Sandwich), and it sounded like it was going to be such when I read the ingredients:

Panko-Crusted Goat Cheese, Bacon Roasted Corn and Green Chili Medallion, Topped with Roasted Corn, Cilantro, Green Chili Salsa and Paprika Creme Fraiche

Come on. How is that not going to be fucking phenomenal. I didn’t understand why everyone in the Chi-Town crew thought the Hate Beak was the best thing on the menu.

It was a high-end buffalo chicken sandwich – nothing special about the making of the sandwich, but the care that went into it was noticeable. Juicy chicken, breaded and crispy fried, not too gooky with the buffalo sauce, good and generous with the blue cheese crumbles. Same recipe, well-executed.

Of course we got the fries with one and the onion strings with the other. The Fries were all right, but the Onion Strings … I think I am going to start a Tumblr page … Fuck Yeah Fried Apps! Which “Fuck Yeah” site was the first to be wildly popular? How come no one answers my questions in the comments anymore? Maybe because I ask the question toward the middle of the post and expect readers to remember it at the end.

So these onion strings with the blue cheese and just a little bit of the buffalo sauce from the chicken were the bomb.co.uk. Onion strings are better than onion rings because of the lighter fry and the crispier crunch. The reason onion strings aren’t on the menu more places is because you can’t get them from SYSCO. You’ve gotta make them fresh. These were chock full of freshness; crispy and wonderful. Akin to putting potato chips on an italian, I had my bites of the Hate Beak with onion strings. It was an excellent decision.

My problem with Kuma is that their kitchen is too small for their space. On their rules page, they say it twice. If there’s a thirty minute wait for burgers, that’s a logistical issue that the owners of the restaurant have consciously chosen to ignore. I don’t care if you’re popular, if the food is super inventive and tasty, if it’s the best goddamn burger on the face of the earth and it’s your busiest day of the year – you should never have to wait half an hour for your food, unless it takes that long to cook (e.g. Deep-Dish Pizza at Uno’s). Josh told me that in the winter, they don’t serve food on the patio, and the service is faster, but not much faster. At Kuma, the half-hour wait is the rule, not the exception.

You might think I’m nitpicky and that the Kuma wait is worth it, and fuck it – it is; but when restaurant owners sacrifice service for money, I can’t be on board with that decision. I’ll deal with the terrible music and the dumb sandwich names, but don’t seat me and tell me to wait thirty minutes for a burger to sell another half drink per person average. It’s not cool; it’s flat out customer neglect.

That being said, go wait for the Kuma burger, suck it up and deal with the death metal, and let your server know you like the burger but not the wait. And which “Fuck Yeah” site was the first to be wildly popular? (COMMENTS!?!)

Kuma’s Corner
2900 W. Belmont Ave
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 604-8769

{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Scott October 1, 2010, 9:33 am

    They don’t want to expand because more idiots like you that don’t understand the sandwich names will show up to complain and ruin the best burger place on the earth. It’s a metal bar stupid.. duuuurrrrrrr Would you rather them name the burgers after your favorite brain dead singers off of american idol? This is hands down the worst blog I’ve ever read. I hope someday you understand that not everyone want’s to be a yuppie sell out like yourself. I’m pretty sure you got picked on most of your life more then anybody at that restaurant.

    • Hagan October 1, 2010, 9:39 am

      Hey everyone, I just set up a Kickstarter for Scott’s therapy bills. He’s racked up quite a bit of them and any little help he gets might just keep him from committing suicide. Click here to donate!

  • Scott October 2, 2010, 12:20 pm

    Hey everyone, my name is Hagan the hack. Hahahahahaha Seriously? In what third world country did you learn to review anything? What part of the metal bar premise did you miss when you stepped in the door? You sound like a narrow minded idiot going on about sports not being on and there not being art? Your entire blog is a parapraxis to the internet, you even fail to mention the Stone beers and bourbon on tap, along with them not serving Miller or Budweiser and only hand crafted beers. I guess since your a big time fancy food reviewer you do realize the importance of drink to food? no? Doesn’t shock me.

    oh! and if you took a moment to think outside of the box for a minute.. “When restaurant owners sacrifice service for money” is just a dumb statement! Wouldn’t the logical thought be he is sacrificing money for a smaller more personal experience? Why have a super Walmart of burgers? So it gets ruined in the mainstream by hacks like you.

    • Hagan October 4, 2010, 11:30 pm

      Not gonna lie, my readers – I had to look up parapraxis.

  • Chicago Native October 7, 2010, 1:57 am

    Ok, FOODIE, before you start commenting on things, why dont you get your information first! Did you go to Kuma’s when it first opened? Were you there before it became popular? Do you think every person who opens a restaurant has tons of money and knows that their restaurant is going to be such a huge success? Before you start making all the assumptions you do, please do your research!! I have been born and raised in chicago, and the restaurant industry, and eat at all types of places from dive bars to hidden gems to fine dining. Just because you like food and like to eat does not mean you know anything about restaurants! Do your research and then tell me that they sacrifice service for money. As far as the no sports thing, if you want to watch sports at a bar, go to the thousands of other places to watch them!!! I love my sports and if I want to go to Kuma’s during one I will DVR it or deal with my choice. You are ignorant.

    • Hagan October 7, 2010, 8:09 pm

      If they always had a back deck and didn’t let people call orders in, then you would have a point. Is that the case? This will serve as the extent of my research.