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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Twin Cities Juicy Lucy Reviews

Towards the end of Winter {2010}, the boyfriend and I decided we needed to try one of these Juicy (Jucy) Lucy burgers everyone is talking about... that Minneapolis is known for... what?!  I didn't know we were known for anything.  Burgers stuffed with cheese...where do I sign?

This blog is my review for ALL the stuffed burgers (regardless of name) I've tried in the Twin Cities Metro area.  I've decided that for this review process, I'm going to stick to the original (orange cheese and, mine, with onions) then maybe try some others that sound good.  All ratings are based on a scale of 1-10; 1 being low, 10 being high.  Overall Rating  includes but is not limited to: prices, service, atmosphere, length of wait and anything else pertaining to our visit.

5-8 Club - Champlin, MN {January 2010}
Website
Being we live in the northern suburbs, we decided a juicy lucy is a juicy lucy so we went to the 5-8 in Brooklyn Park.  This was our first mistake - therefore this paragraph of the review process will be short.  We both order the original Juicy Lucy off the menu.  When the burger came out we were both excited.  We wait, as instructed by our less than friendly server, after a few minutes...we take our first bite.  The burger is ... so far... less than exciting.  No hot melting cheese pouring out and burning our hands and faces... no juicy meat with delicious flavor.  I take another bite, hoping maybe I just hadn't gotten to the good part yet... nothing.  The cheese is there, it's just.. lumpy and almost cold, the meat is dry and overcooked.  We leave feeling completely underwhelmed.
Disclaimer, of sorts... This is NOT the original 5-8 Club location.
Rating {burger alone}: 1.3
Overall Rating: 2

The Nook - St. Paul, MN {February 2010}
Website
After seeing The Nook on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives - Steve and I were ready to give the Juicy Lucy another try.  We put our name on the list and wait the short wait to get a table, I stick with the original (called the Juicy Nookie at The Nook) with fried onions.  Steve orders the Paul Molitor (which is stuffed with  pepper cheese).  Our burgers arrive and already look a million times better than our first Juicy's... so, again, we wait a few minutes before biting in.  This time, even after our short wait, we are greeted with melted steaming hot cheese!  OUCH... but YUM!  The initial thought is Dude, this is WAY better... and thus begins our Juicy Lucy tour in the Twin Cities.
Again, the cheese was steaming hot, the meat was juicy and packed full of flavor, even the bun was delicious!  The service was good (not great, not horrible), the wait, after being on a TV show, was surprisingly not bad (~15 minutes).  The burgers are served with fries but you can sub Onion Rings or Sweet Potato Fries for a bit more.
Rating {burger alone}: 8
Overall Rating: 7

Matt's Bar - Minneapolis, MN {Early April 2010}
Website
Matt's Bar has the Twin Cities original Jucy Lucy and recently won the Travel Channel's Food Wars: Ju(i)cy Lucy War.  Unfortunately for Steve and myself, this only means the wait to get a seat will be longer as everyone in the Twin Cities now wants to try the best Jucy Lucy in Minneapolis.  That's okay... we're patient people.  We had to wait maybe 15-20 minutes to get in... the line is out the door as Matt's Bar is a very small place, not such a bad thing in April, probably not ideal in December.  We finally hear there are 2 stools open at the end of the bar (aka the best seat in the house!), so we take them!  Order our Jucy's with fried onions and a basket of fries to share and begin our wait.  Being that the line was out the door, we kind of expected a wait... and I think we waited at least 30 minutes, if not more, for our food.  Being patient and knowing that they are obviously cooking only Jucy's... we don't get too bent out of shape, though the guy next to us sure wasn't happy.
Our burgers arrive and, again we are told to give it a few before biting in, so... more waiting (thank God for beer).  The first bite is a small one... it's fabulous, the fried onions were a perfect addition.  Actually, I would go so far as to say the fried onions are a must, I'm not sure if the burger would have been as good without them.  The overall flavor was great, the cheese was HOT and super oozy... it's not a bad idea to take a bite and let some heat escape, long as you can keep the cheese in.  The nice thing about Matt's Bar is pickles are included as part of the burger, so that was a nice little flavor addition when biting my way through it!
I actually liked the burger at The Nook better than at Matt's.. but only barely.  The boyfriend liked Matt's better.
Rating {burger alone}: 7.8
Overall Rating: 8


Blue Door Pub - St. Paul, MN {Late April 2010}
After reading about a lot of local places with stuffed burgers, we found The Blue Door Pub.  Their signature stuffed burger is called the Juicy Blucy, which is a burger stuffed with Bleu Cheese and finely chopped garlic.  Then, if you take a look at the menu, you'll find about 10 more stuffed burgers, all extremely delicious sounding!  We were seated within a few minutes and, while our service wasn't the best ever, the overall experience was a good one.  People watching was fun, for sure!
For the sake of this review, I decided to stick with the original (which is called 'The Classic" at The Blue Door), stuffed with cheddar cheese; I did add onions as well since I had them on all the others.  The boyfriend ordered The Cajun (stuffed with pepper-jack and jalapeƱos).  I felt like the amount of cheese in mine was a bit on the skimpy side.  There was no cheese oozing actions, no burned tongues or lips, nothing really to write home about.  The burger had a good flavor, but I would have enjoyed it more if there had been a full slice of cheese on top, rather than a small amount in the middle.  The onions we a great addition; cut into big chunks and grilled just right!  Steve agreed that the amount of cheese in his was a bit lacking, but it was still a decent burger.  
Additional Note: We will be making a return trip to try one (or more) of their variations of stuffed heaven.  The Blue Door also has The Blucy Challenge.  You are given a punch card with 10 burgers on it, once you try them all (can be in 10 different visits) you receive a T-shirt stating your completion.  Then on your next visit bring your card back and receive a free burger and side of your choice.  Steve and I got our cards and our first punches for this visit and I'm going to give them another chance, even though I didn't feel "The Classic" was very satisfying, it was good enough to give The Blue Door another shot!
Rating {burger alone}: 5
Overall Rating: 7


5-8 Club - Minneapolis, MN {May 2010}
This visit to The 5-8 was at the original location in Minneapolis.  It was a Sunday late afternoon/early evening decision.  I was itching to finish and post this whole review process and the original 5-8 Club was the last on my list.
Steve and I walk in and find a table right away, it's a Please Seat Yourself type of place.  I had just introduced Steve to the best egg-rolls ever, so we decided we'd stop in and have just the burger.  We both order the original with fried onions.  It really didn't take too long for the burgers to come, just enough time to get through a stack of pull-tabs (and win nothing!).  
Having previous experience with these burgers, we already know to wait a few minutes before biting in.  We finally take our first bite and my first thought was WOW.. could this be better than Matt's?  The cheese is plentiful, it's hot, it's melted... and the burger tastes good too!  I wait a few seconds to take my second bite.. it's still pretty darn good!  I'm watching Steve eat his and thinking what does he think of this?!  About 3/4 into my burger and after deciding that my few bites were where the goodness was (meaning, after the first few bites the cheese is almost gone and the burger dried out some) I finally cave and ask him his thoughts.  He said he felt pretty much the same... the first few bites were the best.  The burger itself was good; it had good flavor, good portion, good cheese... it just began to lack after the cheese and meat dried up.  Don't get me wrong, it wasn't like eating a hockey puck, it just wasn't as juicy as I went on.
The service was average, the establishment itself was average, the one thing that I do like about 5-8 Club is that you can order just the burger (which came in handy for us) or make it a basket for a bit more money.
Rating {burger alone}: 6
Overall Rating: 6

Overall ladies and gents - I liked The Nook's version of the cheese stuffed burger the best.  Steve, the boyfriend, like Matt's the best.  I like the vibe and feel of Matt's and The Nook both equally; small hole-in-the-wall bars (which, in my opinion, always equals a good time).  The service at all places was fine.. nothing to brag about but nothing to put down; every place was very busy the nights we were there.  Prices we reasonable, I'd say The Blue Door was probably the most expensive (don't quote me on that), but still within a good price range (some of their specialty stuffed burgers are more expensive).  

It sure was fun doing this mini-tour and making it a review of sorts!  I'm not sure if anyone out there will get anything from it, other than my opinion, but at least I got something out of it! :)

Now... off to try some variations of these wonderfully stuffed burgers!

5 comments:

Krysten @ After 'I Do' said...

Never been to The Nook but my ex SWEARS by that place. I've made him promise to get together the next time he's in town so I can try it out.

All in all, you're killing me right now. Because I am STARVING and this post totally is not helping!

Kristi said...

I have also been doing a Juicy Lucy tour for the TCRB.... working on Blue Door Pub review right now (YUM!). I will not ever in my life eat American Cheese (the only food I will not eat) so Matt's is out for me but I have also tried Nook and also 5-8 because of the variety. Erick liked Nook the best but I loved Blue Door Pub. I had the Merriam Park burger which is the Juicy Blucy with red currant jelly. I thought the jelly would be weird but it was actually very good! Thanks for your review!

gringationcancun said...

BURGERS STUFFED WITH CHEESE???? What is this paradise?

That's it, I'm moving.

Magpie said...

I have never in my life had a stuffed burger. I'm pretty sure they don't have those in Ireland!

Maybe I'll try make one at home...

Dana Leigh said...

Fun tour! I agree with most of your review. For me, The Nook is the BEST, but I do love The Blue Door too. If The Blue Door didn't have those delicious fried green beans or tater tots as a side, I might not think as highly about the burger. 5/8 has always been just ok to me and I tried Mat's earlier this year and though the same. The fried onions do make the difference though. You and Steve are just sooooo cute, I can't stand it!

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