While legend has it that the burger was founded at the Henderson County Courthouse in Athens, Texas, and served by its maker (Uncle Fletch) at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis, it is widely recognized that Minneapolis is known as the birthplace of "The Juicy Lucy" hamburger. There are two area spots boasting this proud achievement, one in Minneapolis and the other in St. Paul. On a recent trip to the Twin Cities, I just had to try both!
Starting with Matt's Bar & Grill in Minneapolis, their "Jucy Lucy" was created when a local customer asked for two hamburger patties with a slice of cheese in the middle. Upon biting into this new, molten hot burger, he exclaimed “that’s one juicy Lucy”, and a legend was born. Customer demand grew so quickly, Matt's forgot to add the “i” and the “Jucy Lucy” has now become a local culinary hero. The handmade patty was perfectly charred on the outside creating a glistening crust. Warned that the center was very hot, I waited a few moments for that first taste. Once bitten, the hot molton cheese came oozing out of the center of the high-quality beef, almost like mexican queso. True deliciousness followed as I ate every last bite without pause. Matt's has been a local star in Minneapolis since 1954, with TV Shows and a US President having been filmed eating at this legendary dive. Come early, or be prepared to wait. But don't leave without savoring their Jucy Lucy.
Next was The Blue Door Pub in St. Paul. Nicely situated in a quiet neighborhood, Blue Door is a local taven with less of a lineage than Matt's. Their offerings are variations of the "Blucy Juicy", a St. Paul original. "Two fresh Angus beef patties collaborate to encompasss a vertible cornucopia of ingredients." My selection was the Bacon Blucy - thick cut bacon sliced and combined with cheddar cheese right inside the patty that already included bleu cheese and chpped garlic and a pickle. This St. Paul creation was bursting with cheese, and the crisp bacon added a nice contrast of flavor to the perfectly pink-center patty. The bun was fresh, and the hand-cut fries were perfectly crisp on the outside, tender in the middle. This half-pound burger served uniqueness only found in this part of the county. I thoroughly enjoyed this local favorite.
Of the two, Matt's Bar & Grill is a must-see on your next visit to the Twin Cities. Nothing beats a good hot greasy burger in a crowded dive. And, if you are so inclined, The Blue Door Pub is just a short light rail ride from Downtown Minneapolis. And if there is a wait, you can browse the neighboring antique shops.
Cheers to Lucy! And Cheers to Eating More Burgers!