When I heard that Tru had taken its old pastry section of the kitchen and turned it into a burger counter, I was psyched. As a past Lettuce Entertain You employee and the son of two silver members of the frequent diner club, I figured that M Burger (mburgerchicago.com), so conveniently located near school, would lead to the eventual downfall of my health (but in a good way). Because of my excitement, I was more than willing to wait in the block long line filled with overweight, impatient hospital employees (I guess they were given a free gift card for the grand opening).So Arif and I were waiting in line for about a half hour and finally got up to the counter. If any of you have ever seen the scene in Kicking and Screaming where an impatient Will Ferrell is waiting behind an ignorant coffee patron taking far too long, then you know how we felt. Between the one woman who wanted a chicken salad without chicken and the other who wanted extra everything but only the regular amount of pickle, it really seemed to stretch out our wait.
M Burger is literally a chunk of Tru's kitchen that was converted into a tiny burger window. It's almost as if there were a side takeout portion to the kitchen that became a separate restaurant. There aren't really any tables, and there's limited counter space, so you should expect to take your food to go. Also since right now it's really new and interesting, the lines are going to be pretty long. The service inside isn't the quickest because the kitchen's not that large which also doesn't help the efficiency. Now, I thought that the biggest timing issue would be the line, but really it was the 5 hours it took my stomach to settle after the meal.
To be fair, I had too high of a standard for this place. I heard Lettuce Entertain You and this whole idea and immediately thought of DMK (awesome, high quality burger joint with a very similar appearance to M Burger). Really though this place is cheap and simple. There's only a few things on the menu, basically just Burgers, Fries, and Shakes. If you get one of each it'll probably run you around $10, which is around what it would cost you at Steak N' Shake (it's basically the exact same quality). The burgers are kind of thin and well done and come with a secret sauce that gives it a Big Mac kind of flavor. The Shake was pretty good with some unmixed hot fudge, but it wasn't really anything spectacular (Arif got the strawberry shake and was not impressed). Of the whole menu, the fries were the most disappointing. They had an almost tempura batter flakiness to them and little flavor.
Maybe my stomach isn't used to that kind of food, or maybe it was just that greasy, but as 5 PM rolled around I still felt a little gross and thoroughly full. Really, I held this place to a level that was unfair. M Burger is a fast food counter and nothing more. If you don't come in with expectations you may be satisfied, but you should definitely wait until this line goes down. However, if people were as upset about the food as I was, then I can't imagine the line will maintain itself for much longer. Yet, the inefficiency of service may hold a line up worse than an empty Station on a Thursday night.