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Gourmet Burger Joint Opens in Des Plaines

American WildBurger opened for business at its Oakton Street location on Dec. 1.

Approximately two miles south of the museum that commemorates Ray Kroc’s first franchised McDonald’s restaurant, opened in Des Plaines in 1955, a new generation of sandwich purveyors is offering its rendition of the iconic hamburger. American WildBurger, 1550 E. Oakton St., became the latest to join the gourmet hamburger trend when it opened its doors for the first time on Saturday.

Alfredo Esparza, one of five co-owners in the venture, said American WildBurger would sell hamburgers for $7.50 that might cost $14 at a competitor such as Five Guys or Epic Burger in Chicago.

“We’re opening up something that’s going to be gourmet burgers, but without the gourmet burger price,” Esparza said.

Esparza said their beef, chicken and turkey does not contain hormones, antibiotics, preservatives or fillers. Additionally, patties are cooked on a char grill, Esparza said, as opposed to a flattop grill similar to competitors.

“It’s health conscious eating without having to sacrifice flavor and taste,” Esparza said.

Esparza said American WildBurgers taste different than competing burgers because, in part, no fillers are used in the hand-packed patties.

“There’s no fillers, there’s no breadcrumbs, no extract or nothing,” Esparza said. “When I say it’s 100 percent meat, you’re really eating a 100 percent meat burger; there is no fillers whatsoever.”

Luke Tworek, another one of the five co-owners, said competitors that use frozen hamburger patties, in some cases, use paper products as fillers.

“It’s all processed; our’s isn’t,” Esparza said.

American WildBurger has six signature hamburgers, and customers can create their own custom burgers. French fries, Cajun fries and cheese fries, organic and regular pop round out the menu. Frozen yogurt will be added to the lineup in the next few weeks, Esparza and Tworek said.

With plans to open five more franchised restaurants in the next year, the American WildBurger entrepreneurs were optimistic on the night before their business’ debut.

“We’re here for longevity, not the quick fad,” Esparza said.

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