When it comes to food in Minneapolis, one dish truly stands out… The Juicy Lucy. One has to wonder why it took mankind so long to invent something so good.
The cheeseburger was invented in the late nineteenth century in the heartland of America. However, it took an additional 50+ years to realize you could stuff cheese in the middle of the burger.
What a wonderful, inspired idea!! And it makes sense that this culinary genius was invented in a place that’s a frozen tundra for 6 months out of the year.
So what is a Juicy Lucy?
For those of you that don’t live north of Siberia like I do, you’re likely wondering what exactly is a Juicy Lucy and how do you eat it?
Well, as I said above, unlike your normal run-of-the-mill cheeseburger, the Juicy Lucy has the cheese in the middle of the beef patty.
And also unlike your regular cheeseburger, you shouldn’t eat it as soon as it comes out. The cheese in the middle of the burger is piping hot when it arrives to your table, so make sure you let it rest before enjoying it.
Is the first time always the best time?
Two bars in Minneapolis claim to be the originator of the Juicy Lucy. Matt’s Bar and The 5-8 Club are those two bars. And if you’re thinking this review is about one of those two great American institutions… well, you’d be wrong.
Matt’s and the 5-8 Club both make great Juicy Lucy’s, but the title for the best Juicy Lucy belongs to the bar that shares space with a bowling alley and features dollar bills hanging from the ceiling—Casper and Runyon’s The Nook in St. Paul.
Now, The Nook did not invent the burger, they only perfected it. I have been to the Nook several times and each time, the burgers have been excellent. The Original is great, the Triple B is great… it’s a never-ending burger menu of greatness.
To be sure, the Nook is doing their part to Make America Great Again!
An American-Italian culinary delight
But, their best burger comes as a combination of the Juicy Lucy and a pizza. If you want to have this American culinary delight, you must be in Minnesota in January.
Now I know what you’re thinking, “Why in all that is holy, would I venture to the frozen tundra in January?”
Well, the answer is the Italian Juicy Lucy. They introduced this burger four years ago and it has stuck every January since.
The burger itself is made of 50% Italian sausage and 50% beef. It is stuffed with mozzarella and pepperoni, then topped with more mozzarella and marinara sauce. If your mouth isn’t already salivating, let me make sure it is.
A savory garlic butter is spread on the bun, and the burger comes garnished with fresh basil to top it off. This burger is truly an inspired artistic delight that has been gifted to mankind from our creator Himself.
Wonderful wild wings as well
On top of their great burgers, The Nook is also home to some of the best wings in the Twin Cities. When it comes to wings, I’m a purist. The first sauce to try is always the buffalo sauce. If the place does that right, then try a different sauce.
The Nook does buffalo sauce very well. It tastes just like the buttery and peppery sauce that hails from Northern New York.
The Nook makes all their wing sauces from scratch and you can tell. The other sauce I recommend is the chipotle garlic. This is one of the best garlic wing sauces I’ve ever had. It blows ‘Spicy Garlic’ from Buffalo Wild Wings out of the water.
So the next time you are in the twin cities (especially in January), go to the bar in the bowling alley and grab Minnesota’s best Juicy Lucy. And while you are there, grab some wings for an appetizer.