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Crain’s Chicago Business | Does Chicago Need Another Burger Joint? Bareburger Thinks So

10.03.14

By Micah Maidenberg
Fast-growing chain Bareburger has found a spot for its first restaurant here, adding yet another competitor to a crowded market for burger joints.

The New York company’s Chicago franchisee Jerry Brunton said he signed a lease for a Bareburger in a 2,900-square-foot space in a new retail building planned at the southeast corner of Roscoe Street and Lincoln Avenue in west Lakeview.

Mr. Brunton aims to open the restaurant, which will seat around 65, by next summer and may add as many as three more Bareburger outlets in the area.

Burger options are multiplying at a rapid rate in a cluster of North Side neighborhoods, downtown and in some suburbs. New-to-Chicago options include the popular New York chain Shake Shack and Los Angeles-based Umami Burger, which just opened in Wicker Park.

The Washington group behind Good Stuff Eatery has burger joints in the works for the Clybourn Corridor and in the Loop.

HOW TO STAND OUT?

Amid increased competition, burger chains must find ways to stand out. Bareburger focuses on using organic and natural ingredients, and provides options for adventurous eaters by offering burgers made of elk or bison meat, Mr. Brunton said. There are also burgers for vegetarians and vegans. The Lincoln Avenue restaurant will include a bar.

“I think we have a unique product and I think it’s delivered in a unique way,” said Mr. Brunton. “There’s room for a lot of different concepts.”

Bareburger plans to open in an approximately 21,500-square-foot building being developed by Chicago-based L3 Capital. It’s unclear whether any other tenants have committed to the project. An L3 executive did not respond to a request for comment.

The Chicago office of New York-based RKF brokered the Bareburger deal. A team including RKF Managing Director Lara Keene represented Mr. Brunton, while a team including Anthony Campagni, also an RKF managing director, is handling leasing at the L3 project.

Founded in 2009, Bareburger now has 21 restaurants, with its biggest concentration in its home of New York, according to the burger chain’s website. The firm’s first Midwest outlet is open in Columbus, Ohio.

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