Good morning! The Live Chat will start at noon, but if you'd like to post your questions early and get at the top of the list, now's the time! Today's topic: burgers. Best ones, historical ones and more. Always more. See you at noon.
Historians are unclear (perhaps the Minnesota Historical Society could take up the issue). Lore has it that it began at Matt’s Bar (mattsbar.com) at 35th and Cedar in south Minneapolis in the 1950s, but others -- principally, the people at the 5-8 Club (5-8club.com), about 20 blocks south -- disagree. There is also some disagreement as to the origins of the name, but it’s probably some kind of Minnesota-ism; perhaps the Uff-Da Burger (as in, “uff-da, dat cheese sure is dang hot”) didn’t have the same ring. The loss of the “I” in juicy has also disappeared into the mists of time, other than it’s a Matt’s thing; the full spelling is used at the 5-8.
Other than their novelty (and their position as a local culinary oddity) I’ve never quite understood the appeal of the Jucy Lucy. The patties themselves don’t have a ton of pizzazz, and, given the (bland) cheese’s molten nature, a too-enthusiastic approach (taking a bite too soon) can lead to a visit to the burn unit at HCMC. Count me a fan of the Matt’s experience, though – it’s the epitome of the neighborhood take-solace hangout -- and the fries, which are excellent.
My feeling is that the stuffed burger to beat in the Twin Cities can be found at the Blue Door Pub (thebluedoorpubmn.com), where there’s a long list of, yes, Blucys.
This mean's you'll put me on your invitation list, yes? But I agree, under the right circumstances, the homemade burger is best. I'm thinking of those first cheeseburgers on the grill in the spring, after -- if you're like me, anyway, and you don't grill in the winter -- you've hauled out the Weber from the garage. Freshly ground beef is one of the stepping stones to great burgers.
I'm tempted to say Sriracha, just because of the nation's looming condiment crisis. I do love a fried egg on a burger, but you're right, they've become such a standard that it's hardly a novelty. To be honest, I'm a bit of a burger purist. But that said, I'm a little bit crazy for the slab of grilled foie gras that chef Lisa Carlson has been known to slip on top of the bison burgers she's famous for at the Chef Shack (chefshack.org).
I'm not morally opposed to kimchi, although it's not exactly where my brain goes when I think "burger topping." I'm getting a little grossed out by the state fair-esque aspect of some burgers. You know: the more pile-ons, the better. Do we really need a burger topped with deep-fried cheese curds, for example?
I've got a confession to make: I'm not a huge Slider fan. I made the obligatory post-bar visits in college, where I think I managed to knock back a few, but that was it. What stands out in my memory are the crinkle fries; my roommate referred to them, probably un-originally, as "nails." For me, White Castle is one of those places that I'm glad to know exists -- if only for its historical nature -- but I tend to avoid.
My immediate reaction is the monster I had last summer at the Anchor Bar in Superior, Wis. (http://anchorbar.freeservers.com). Actually, I had two: a straight-up cheeseburger ($3.25, maybe the best deal in the Twin Ports), and then their famous house specialty, a burger topped with Swiss and cashews. Both were fantastic.
You ought to check out the Asian-style pork burger at Muffuletta (muffuletta.com). Or the terrific lamb burger, served down the street (dinner only) at the Colossal Cafe (colossalcafe.com). Or what I think is the Twin Cities' best turkey burger, at the Craftsman (craftsmanrestaurant.com). Or the first-rate bison burger at Gather (gatherbydamico.com). Oh, and you can't beat the fabulous lamb sliders that are served in the (gorgeous) lounge at La Belle Vie (labellevie.us); get them with an order of the fries served with curried bearnaise.
True confessions: My very first job was at the Embers (in Burnsville), where I was a bus boy. I lasted a month, and that was what I always ordered for me free staff meal.
I'm with you, those turkey burgers at Zelo (zelomn.com), are pretty terrific. But I'm going to stick with my original answer, the Craftsman. Oh, and right now Craftsman chef Ryan Swaim is offering an elk burger.
Technically, yes, and good call. But "ground lamb sandwich" is a bit of a mouthful, isn't it?
Nook for the nostalgia, even post-fire reconstruction, but Blue Door for the Blucys, and the beer selection. And the Tater Tots.
The bun can be a major dealbreaker for me too. I'm always appreciative of a restaurant that bakes its own burger buns (HauteDish is a prime example) or has the good sense to buy from the best, whether that's the Salty Tart, Patisserie 46 or the New French Bakery. With so many good bakeries in town, there's really no excuse for serving a burger on a dreary bun.
I see that Jen Farni has a Reuben on her menu at the new Grain Stack at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. I'd start there. I'm also a fan of the Reuben at Rye Deli (ryedeli.com). As for the lack of delis, it's a supply-demand thing. If only the Lutherans would rise up and shout DELI DELI DELI.
I'm so glad you suggested that. I have it on my list for Burger Friday. For those that don't know, Burger Friday is my weekly attempt to explore a different Twin Cities burger. You can find it at startribune.com/burger
Another find for that great city. Des Moines is a totally underrated food city, in my opinion. It's worth a weekend, and it's the same distance, car-wise, as a drive to Madison, Wis.
I love Wally's (wallysroastbeef.com), a Bloomington classic. It's second only to Maverick's (mavericksroastbeef.com) in Roseville.