Shikagoland Eats: Leadbelly

I am currently struggling to write this while caught in the grips of the most intense itis I’ve felt in quite some time.

That really tells you all you need to know about Leadbelly but I’ll thrown in a few dozen more words.

20130407_110656I heard about Leadbelly all of two days ago and knew I needed to try it immediately. Luckily, my mom is always game for a Sunday brunchtime adventure, especially after I assured her that Leadbelly served beer.

You have to know your audience.

Leadbelly is located on a quiet stretch of Irving Park Road, so far west that for most of you its gonna be a trek. Don’t let that deter you, its worth it. Parking is pretty easily achieved (we didn’t even have to pay), and if you’ve got the time to kill, the #80 Irving Park bus stops nearby.

On to the most important part. THE FOOD.

There are a few options for burgers. The patties are made of a combination of beef and smoked pork belly (drooooooooooooool) but there is also the option of substituting with a breaded chicken breast or a vegetarian option which seems to defeat the point but whatever I don’t judge served up on a freshly baked (in house) bun.

I opted for the Easy Rider which comes with bacon, cheddar cheese, sirracha pickles, and bourbon bbq sauce.


Hay boo

I rarely go for a topping anything more complicated than salt and ketchup for my fries, especially in a case like Leadbelly where they are handcut but i must admit, some kind of mania took over me and I ordered the Pico fries which come topped with chili cheese fritos, pico de gallo, and chipotle cream sauce.


Hello, lover

Mom a fan of anything involving blue cheese ordered the Black Betty which comes topped with blue cheese, smoked bacon, onion straws, and buffalo blue sauce. For a side she got the garlic Parmesan fries.


She was happy

In addition to delicious burgers Leadbelly has an assortment of local brews and craft beers on tap and in the bottle. I was looking forward to a nice Revolution Ale with my burgers (at all of 11am) but I got distracted by…


a bloody mary bar! Whee!!! You have the option of house or Absolut vodka as the base for your drink. We both went with the Absolut Peppar which is always a winner for a bloody mary in my book.


The best part of waking up…

Because I’d opted for the bloody mary (because what Sunday brunch is complete without it?) I thought that I wasn’t going to have the stomach space to try out one of the adult milkshakes on the menu.

I didn’t…but I did it anyway.



I went for the Kansas City Papa, a deightful concoction of chocolate ice cream, Bailey’s Irish Cream, and Peppermint Schnapps, topped with whipped cream and pulled sugar as a garnish. SO major. Save room.

And then, just when I thought it was all over…I noticed a little package I had previously overlooked on my tray.


*waves white flag*

The Leadbelly butter cookie topped with white and milk chocolate and crushed pecans which comes free with your burger.

I love Leadbelly.

The Cliff Notes Version

Leadbelly – 5739 W Irving Park Rd (between Menard Ave & Major Ave)

Hours: Pretty short hours (think Hot Doug’s style) and they vary. Check the website. But be warned, their policy is that when the buns are gone, so are they. Go early and often.

Service: a little slow when ordering and paying, but most of the hiccups are easily attributed to the newness of the restaurant. Everyone was super friendly and all three of the staff members working the front stopped by our table at least once. These are not McDonald’s burgers so expect to wait 10+ minutes for your order to be ready.

The space: rock posters on the wall, tvs showing music videos and concerts, and the red/black/chrome color scheme create to the vibe. Its rock club cool without the sticky floors. There isn’t a great deal of seating (a few 4 tops, one 6 top, and counter seating along the front window) so if its really important to dine in, be prepared to wait it out or plan around opening hours.


Challenge accepted

One thought on “Shikagoland Eats: Leadbelly

  1. This makes me miss Chicago… Although we’ve got a hotdog joint. I was iffy on how legit they were…but the people running it heard me and asked where I was from and sounded like me. (neighborhood-wise.) Guess 15 years on the west coast means I haven’t lost the accent. 😉 (They also do italian beef!)

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