THE JUICY LUCY SHOWDOWN
For those of you who don't know, a Juicy Lucy is a burger in which the cheese is on the inside. This is usually done by taking a chunk of cheese and bonding it between two patties. The Juicy Lucy originated in Minnesota and has been featured on many different shows on the Food Network and Travel Channel. The big debate is exactly where the Juicy Lucy originated from - Matt's Bar or the 5-8 Club. Both restaurants take credit for creating the delicious burger so when I visited my home state of Minnesota, I knew I had to do a Juicy Lucy taste off.
I went to four different restaurants - Matt's Bar, 5-8 Club, The Nook, and Hell's Kitchen and tried each of their Juicy Lucy's with fries to see who had the best one. Some of the restaurants have different kinds of Juicy Lucy's with different meat and cheese combinations, but the original Juicy Lucy was made with all beef patties and American cheese, so this is what I tried at each restaurant. With that being said - I will be judging the burgers ONLY ON TASTE. I will NOT be taking into account the service, atmosphere, and price. I really want the burger to be the showcase of this blog. I would like to apologize for the low quality photos, I took them using my iPhone versus my normal camera. I did not want my camera to get damaged with all of the cheese/juices around. With that being said, let's get started.
The Juicy Lucy at Hell's Kitchen left much to be desired. I enjoy my burgers medium rare with a slightly pink inside, and I was told the Juicy Lucy can only be cooked medium to ensure the cheese would melt properly. The burger had a decent flavor but was dry and lacked the juiciness I associate with a burger. I just cannot thoroughly enjoy the flavor of beef if it is overcooked. The bun was also too thick for the burger. I enjoyed the cheese although I wish there was more and it was a bit too thick in consistency making it difficult to eat. The fries were average and not memorable.
This Juicy Lucy known as the "Juicy Nookie" was incredible. The burgers are made with ground black angus chuck and of the highest quality. The actually beef flavor of this burger is hard to explain but is extremely intense and meaty. The burger was cooked to a perfect medium rare and I had juices running down my hand. The cheese was extremely flavorful, the right consistency, and the perfect amount. There was the proper ratio of bun-to-beef making this burger a stand out. The fries were crispy and delicious.
THE 5-8 CLUB
The Juicy Lucy here had its ups and downs. The beef flavor of the burger was good, but not as intense as The Nook's. The cheese was also flavorful but not as memorable as The Nooks either. Don't get me wrong, this is not a bad burger at all, but when compared to the best of the best, it fell short. My biggest complaint with this burger is the cheese was not evenly divided throughout the burger so I only got one or two bites of cheese and the rest was just all burger. Also, the fries did not taste very fresh.
The Juicy Lucy - spelled "Jucy Lucy" at Matt's bar was amazing. I believe the beef was a basic chuck mix but it was very flavorful and nostalgic tasting. The cheese was thinner than the other Juicy Lucy's but I really did not mind it at all. The texture allowed the cheese to spread throughout the whole burger ensuring you got cheese in every bite. The bun and the fries at Matt's were by far my favorite out of all the restaurants. Matt's burger had a greasy comfort element that some of the other's lacked. It just tasted like a down home burger.
Picking a winner for the Juicy Lucy challenge is not easy. In last place is Hell's Kitchen. The burger was overcooked, a bit dry, and overall lacked flavor.
Next, is the 5-8 Club. The burger had good flavor but needed the cheese to be dispersed more evenly.
Now.... for the winner.
Comparing The Nook's burger and Matt's burger and picking a winner is nearly impossible. I would not say one is necessarily better than the other because both have two different styles.
If you are looking for the traditional old school style Juicy Lucy with a thin bun and patty, Matt's wins. The beef is incredibly juicy and the cheese oozes out of every bite. The fries are also to die for.
If you are looking for a more modern twist on the traditional Juicy Lucy then The Nook wins. Both the burger and cheese are thicker and black angus beef is utilized.
There you have it, the Juicy Lucy battle is over and we have two clear winners for two different experiences. I highly recommend you check out all of these spots and make your own decision on who has the best Juicy Lucy. Information for each restaurant is listed below.
3500 Cedar Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55407
492 Hamline Ave S, St Paul, MN 55116
5800 Cedar Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55417
80 S 9th St, Minneapolis, MN 55402