Kuma’s Too: Not Suitable for Vegetarians

Kuma’s Corner is arguably one of the most legendary late-night feeding troughs in Chicago. On February 13th, 2013, it hatched a new weapon of gastronomic mass destruction: Kuma’s Too.

Kneel before your master.

Kneel before your master.

Bigger, better, and more badass than its predecessor, Kuma’s Too brings its magical marriage of meaty monstrosities and metal mayhem to the edge of East Lakeview and Lincoln Park at (yes, you read correctly) 666 W. Diversey. It’s not quite the “cheeseburger in paradise” Jimmy Buffet had envisioned…

666 W. Diversey: Welcome to Hell.

666 W. Diversey: Omnes relinquite spex, o vos intrantes.

Kuma’s Too does not concern itself with being trendy or chic, nor does it have much consideration for the safety and well-being of your tympanic membranes. To care would be decidedly “un-metal,” and let’s face it, this place is anything but.

Inside, the walls are washed in hues best fit for the inner chasms of Hell: harsh and unrelenting orange, and lined with quasi-vintage metal posters from the Golden Era of blistering sound (think: Pantera, Slayer, Iron Maiden, and pre- “St. Anger” Metallica). Music ricochets off the walls, creating an ambient noise salute to those days of old. Don’t even bother crossing the threshold between the sidewalk and the restaurant entryway unless you’re prepared for your ears to bleed like sacrificial lambs; the musical selection is louder, faster, and heavier than any of the “house” music blaring from speakers inside those dime-a-dozen River North night clubs.

Like a crown perfectly poised atop the head of a monarch, a repurposed skateboard with “Bacon” painted across its face hangs right above the doors to the kitchen. It was then that I knew I was knee-deep in a greasy love affair with Kuma’s Too.

Crowning glory.

South of Heaven.

Reading the menu at Kuma’s Too is a more-delightful-than-usual experience for a couple reasons: A clear and concise description of how you can ask for your burger to be cooked (yep, you can order it bloody and still mooing), and “THERE ARE NO VEGAN OPTIONS ON KUMA’S MENU” is written in bold typeface at the bottom of the first page. Also, there’s a variety of macaroni and cheese offerings and a list of burgers each named after metal bands.

Kaijo Burger: Thick and juicy patty, bacon, bleu cheese, and frizzled onions.

Kaijo Burger: Thick and juicy patty, bacon, bleu cheese, and frizzled onions.

Kuma’s burgers are designed for those with appetites. Extra perks? The ketchup on the side is mixed with sweet and tangy relish, and the potato chips are home fried.

The Famous Kuma Burger: Medium-rare patty, bacon, and fried egg.

The Famous Kuma Burger: Medium-rare patty, bacon, cheddar, and fried egg.

A few rules of thumb:

1. Do not enter Kuma’s if hungover.

2. Be prepared to wait. If you wait, stay close by.

3. PBO (pretzel buns only).

4. Try the Slayer. Thank me later.

4. Headbanging is encouraged.

5. Bacon for the bitches.

Feast, my children, like there’s no tomorrow.


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