Musings: Some say Cheeseburger! Chicagoans say Cheezborger!

September 18: Cheese Burger Day
Food of the Day: One-Year Goal
Day: #74

Cheeseburgers are hard to resist. I like cheeseburgers; Emily likes cheeseburgers; my mom and dad like cheeseburgers; most people like cheeseburgers. If you don’t like them you might be a fish.

Fish do not like cheeseburgers. Really. I wondered when I read that little tidbit how the researcher knew fish didn’t like cheeseburgers? The tidbit had a link that led me to a study of the best bait for fishermen—cheeseburgers failed the test. I had the urge to ask my mom to go right over to McDonalds and pick up a cheeseburger for Froot Loop, the gold fish that lives in my mom’s pond. But I didn’t. My mom worries enough about me. And besides, if we gave Froot Loop a cheeseburger, I bet she would ask for a french fry to go with it.

One of the best placed to go for cheeseburgers in Chicago is Billy Goat Tavern.

Maybe you remember the Saturday Night Live skit “Cheezborger! Cheezborger! No fries—CHEEPS! Thirsty? No Pepsi—COKE!” that put Billy Goat’s on the tourist map. I’m pretty sure they don’t have the best cheezborgers in the city, but they do offer a rich taste of Chicago’s history. Over the years, Billy Goat’s (430 N. Michigan Ave at Lower Level) bar stools have been home to Chicago newspaper columnists from the nearby Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun Times.

One night after work, Joe and I stopped at Billy Goat’s to grab a cheezborger, and Mike Royko (Chicago columnist) was sitting at the bar with a drink. Joe walked over and talked with him for a few minutes while I hung back, certain we were interrupting his cocktail hour. A few years later, I was at a broadcast conference where Royko was the keynote speaker, and one of the things he said was, “Most of my columns come from talking to people and listening to their stories. I talk to everyone.”

Ordering at the Billy Goat is intimidating. I have no idea what they serve besides the cheezborger because I have never seen a menu. Before you even step up to the counter, the order taker yells: “Cheezborger! Cheezborger! Who’s next!?! WHO’S NEXT!?! Don’t look at the menu. Look at ME! I order for you. You want doublecheez?!? DOUBLECHEEZ! No fries—CHEEPS! Thirsty? No Pepsi—COKE!”

The next time you visit Chicago, stop by Billy Goat’s, and, in the immortal words of, the owner, Billy Goat Sianis, “Try the double cheese! It’s the best! No fries—cheeps!”

Just don’t mess with the goat. The Chicago Cubs did back in1945 and went from being known as the most successful baseball team in the country to being known as the “Loveable Losers” with a team motto of “Wait ’til next year.” Click to read about Billy Goat Sianis’ curse on the Cubs.

Thanks for musing with me! Hope you will leave a comment, and if you have ever used a cheeseburger for bait, do let us know if you caught any fish.


12 thoughts on “Musings: Some say Cheeseburger! Chicagoans say Cheezborger!

  1. I remember that SNL skit! it was very funny and if I ever manage to visit more that the Chicago O’hare airport Billy Goats is on my list of places to visit even if it means skipping trading fries for cheeps.

  2. Don’t want cheese on my Burger!! If I want a cheese sandwich, I will order a grilled cheese, thank you. I like my burger plain so I can taste the meat also. I know, I know…I’m weird.

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