Sunday, January 24, 2016

The "original" Jucy Lucy! Matt's Bar, Minneapolis, MN

Let's start with a little history.  What exactly is a Juicy Lucy?

Preparation - A Juicy Lucy is a burger that places the cheese between two hamburger patties prior to cooking.  This creates one patty with a cheese core.  As the burger cooks, the cheese melts inside but does not escape.  This also separates the cheese from the bun, creating a very different texture and experience than your typical cheeseburger.

Origins - Two bars on the same street in S. Minneapolis claim to have invented the burger, Matt's Bar and the 5-8 Club.  Matt's credits former owner Matt Bristol with its creation but other accounts say the burger predates his purchase of the bar.  Matt's Bar omits the "i" in Juicy while the 5-8 uses the standard spelling.

JR, Owens and Weaver at Matt's Bar.
My first Jucy Lucy! While in Minneapolis in September, I convinced some friends to head over to Matt's to sample a Jucy Lucy. Matt's really is a bar that only serves burgers. The place a is classic, no frills bar, with the Vikings game on all the TVs and an older waitress who called us all "hon." When my burger arrived I must admit I was a bit disappointed. It looked like a plain burger, was not very big at all, and had a similarity to a regular hamburger you would get at McDonald's.The waitress could tell we were not regulars and announced, "Be careful as the hot cheese will burn your mouth, hon!" I don't really know what I was expecting? It was a good burger but not great. If I had known, I would have ordered 2 as it was quite small.The Jucy Lucy is an OK burger, but writing this review leads me to wonder, "What is it that I enjoy about a burger or a burger joint or a burger experience?" In this case it was about exploration, history, culture, and most importantly sharing a meal with some friends. In some cases the actual burger is what it is about (see Uneeda Burger, Jody's, and Pilot Butte) and others are shared experiences and learning about the origins of the hamburger! Next time I am in Minneapolis I likely won't go to Matt's but will search out a new burger in a new place. However I am glad that I went and enjoyed the original Jucy Lucy!

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