You may call it a strong will; I call it a persevering spirit. Whatever the case, there’s little doubt I get mine from my mom, the woman who talked me into visiting Uncle Bub’s in Westmont this past Saturday, where she’d been the week before.
See, some people would visit a place like that, have a barbecue beef sandwich that they didn’t particularly enjoy, and never want to go back. Not my mom. Her friend tells her – swears up and down, in fact – that the burgers at Uncle Bub’s are the best. We had to find out.
In case you’re not from the Chicago area, or if you are but don’t know Westmont well, here’s a bit of history: Westmont is one of the cities along the Metra’s Burlington Northern Santa Fe line, the one I’m most familiar with, having grown up in the southwest suburbs.
It’s not as commercial as Oak Brook, which is to its north, or as charming as Downers Grove, which is to its west. In fact, outside of being near a lot of things, Westmont isn’t filled with many claims to fame.
Downtown Westmont, which is where Uncle Bub’s is located, is something of a stereotype. You can see the beginnings of redevelopment everywhere, from the new condo building to the trendy espresso bar, but it’s not quite a thriving faux-urban center.
Uncle Bub’s is right on Cass Avenue, across the street from an antique store and steps from a big Catholic church. There’s a lot of parking, which is a plus, and from the moment you pull up, you can tell this is no ordinary storefront.
Outside, Uncle Bub’s looks like a cross between a barn and a warehouse. Dark red shutters and awnings decorate the rustic exterior. By the front entrance, a large white sign with black print gives you instructions of what to do when you enter.
This place is casual – like hanging-out-in-your-friend’s-backyard casual, with red-and-white-checkered tablecloths and old-wood booths. It’s a little reminiscent of Cracker Barrel, but not quite as cutesy and a whole lot more barn.
You order at the counter like you would at a fast-food place, and the server gives you something– in our case, a wooden rooster – to mark your order.
So in terms of overall ambiance, this place maintains a consistent atmosphere, which is cool.
From the silhouette cowboy by the bathrooms to the knickknacks on the walls to the way the tables are decorated, you get the same message: this place should be about quality of food, the kind of place where you can take your kids and they can be loud and crazy, and you’ll enjoy a good meal for a reasonable price.
Part of that message is true. The prices are very affordable. My mom and I each got a burger, fries and an extra side (she, the cole slaw; I, corn on the cob), and we paid less than $15.
Also, I’ll add that the place is clean, the organization is good and the staff is very friendly and helpful.
One guy, who maybe is the owner or manager, I don’t know, stopped by our table a few times just to make sure everything was OK, and I’m pretty sure he cleared our table as soon as we’d finished eating.
But, and here’s the important part, the food was just OK. Like, maybe barely OK. My burger had gristle in it, and if there’s one thing I cannot handle in red meat, it’s gristle.
I only ate half of it, and my mom barely managed to finish hers. The fries, on the other hand, are a different story entirely – pure magic with a crispy exterior and a soft inside, seasoned with nothing overpowering but just enough to make you say Man, that’s a good fry.
o good, in fact, they almost make up for the burgers. Key word: almost.
I probably won’t be stopping by Uncle Bub’s again, not unless it’s with a big group of people with different palates than my own, or, possibly, just to pick up a side of fries on the go.
132 S Cass Ave
Westmont, IL 60559
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.
12 thoughts on “In Search of a Burger: Uncle Bub’s in Westmont (Chicago), IL”
there’s also a great chinese place called china chef in downtown westmont, although the one in morton grove is much better. and then there’s the white castle on ogden and cass. (please don’t hate me because i love white castle sliders.)
this sounds like a place my honey would like. he’s a burger kinda guy. he took me to his fave burger joint in TN for xmas and while he was completely wowed by it, i was like… hmmm… ok. but these fries are great! and sometimes service and home-y feeling makes up for everything else.
your photos are so cute and retro=y 🙂
i want a burger… but not a gristly one….
You clearly need to come on down south to Mississippi, where our burgers are the best. Why? Because (1) we serve our burgers with fried pickles sometimes, and fried pickles are awesome, and (2) we are UNAFRAID of FAT. In fact, we are the fattest people in the country. And everyone knows that a good burger cannot be made with lean meat.
i am terribly picky about my burgers…!
Jacqui: WHITE CASTLE? LOL! I love the tip about the Chinese place, though. I’m so in. Have been looking for a good one anyway. Thank you!
Lan: Yeah, I was thinking maybe it’s me with the burgers. Other people love them, so I might just be picky about my meat. (Like you, Montague!)
Kaytie: LOL. I have never had a fried pickle. OK, I’ll be honest. I’ve never had any pickle. I’ve also never been to Mississippi. How insane is that? Something should be done.
You’ve never had a pickle?? How have you avoided them?
You know, you’re right – that’s weird. Who’s never had a pickle? Next time I see one wrapped up next to a sandwich I’ve ordered, I’m going to try it.
Give them a fair shot: there are small, large, dill, sour, sweet, spears, slices, etc. Each will give you a completely different impression; so if you don’t like one, don’t give up on a different kind. 😉 There’s a wonderful world of pickles out there!
i’m depressed. i saw the picture of uncle bubs and thought there’s NOTHING i wouldn’t like about a place like this. then to hear that the burger sucked, well, sucked! you can’t name a place uncle bubs and not expect it to have kick a$$ burgers. but glad the fries were good.
We Are Never Full – I was depressed, too. Believe me. Thank heavens for the fries.
I know why you were disappointed… Uncle Bub’s is known for their BBQ, not their burgers. You definitely ordered the wrong thing! 🙂 Although, I’m not very fond of the choice of side dishes, the brisket is delicious! I believe the ribs won first place last year or the year before in Naperville’s RibFest, too! Maybe give it another go and get ribs or brisket. Or, maybe even the pulled pork…yum!