A great rivalry exists in Minneapolis, a rivalry over a delicacy that I’m not sure is known outside the Twin Cities. It is a debate over the best Juicy Lucy (also known as a “Jucy Lucy”). What is a Juicy Lucy? It’s a cheeseburger made with the cheese on the INSIDE of the burger. When it’s brought out to you, the server warns to beware of your first bite because the hot cheese oozes out like molten lava.
Being the vegetarian that I am, I’ve never had the pleasure of tasting one of these burgers, but the debate over the best one stirs great passion in the connoisseur. Most often one hears the best is at Matt’s Bar or the 5-8 Club, both establishments are in South Minneapolis and claim this brilliant concoction of ground beef and cheese as their own. While there is no doubt that the burger was born at one of these restaurants in the 1950s, new versions have sprung up since then on the other side of the Mississippi River. Restaurants in St. Paul have their own twist; some have gone Cajun with jalapenos and pepper jack cheese, some use bleu cheese and garlic, and others throw in fried bacon. I was pleased to find an entire article on Wikipedia dedicated to this topic!
Now, I know what you’re probably thinking, how can a vegetarian tell me where to find the best Juicy Lucy? Well, I live with an impassioned eater of these burgers, and his vote is for The Juicy Nookie at The Nook in St. Paul:
A seasoned professional at eating his Juicy Nookie, he patiently approaches his burger, giving it several minutes to cool before he goes in for the first careful bite:
I love The Nook too. The wait staff sport t-shirts that say, “Meat is murder, delicious, delicious murder” but they are kind enough to offer the choice of TWO veggie burgers on their menu and quip “You’re in the wrong place for this, but if you must….” And they are really good, especially the Black Bean Burger. I’m not sure what I like better, the burger or the fresh cut fries. Good thing I don’t have to decide:
And now it’s your turn. Where is your favorite Juicy Lucy? And who is ready to try making a veggie option?