I've been in Minneapolis for the last week and I've eaten more red meat in these six days than in the last six months. This is thanks mostly to the Juicy Lucy, a burger with the cheese cooked right inside. Here's a website talking a bit more about them I post mostly so I can justify stealing their picture of one. I was too busy eating to take any of my own.
Anyway, because an outsiders opinion is always good for solving issues such as this, I'll go ahead and let you in on which of the Juicy Lucies I had was the best. You'll listen to me because I have a website and that is the relationship we've established.
My first Juicy Lucy came from one of the two claimed originators. The 5-8 Club was were Adam Richman stopped in on Man vs Food for his Juicy Lucy fix. It was a decent burger, but nothing all that special. I may have sabotaged myself here, though, as I went with Bleu Cheese instead of the traditional American. In either case, it just wasn't that cheesy, which is probably why the 5-8 was the only spot where the waitress did not warn me to let the burger sit so as to avoid a molten cheese explosion, which would make a pretty good band name.
Matt's Bar also claims to be an originator which they back up by dropping an i to make things more parallel. Their Jucy Lucy is a lot more cheesy, but their beef, like their website, is a lot lower quality. McDonald's hamburger quality, really. Still, better food than I was expecting from a hole in the wall like Matt's. It was this Jucy Lucy that won the Food Network Challenge episode, and it seems like the sort of place that should have a solid local following. While I was there the bartender fielded a phone call asking if he could ship a burger to St. Louis. He spent the next 10 minutes talking about how dumb an idea that is.
A friend from St. Paul suggested I cross the river and try a newer Juicy Lucy if I wanted a really good one. Nook's Food Network ties come in the form of a recommendation from Guy Fieri, and I have to admit that worried me. I dislike that man almost as much as I do Rachael Ray. Fortunately, they have 1919 Root Beer on tap, and root beer on tap is a great way to get me to stay in your place and ignore questionable endorsements. Glad I stayed, too. The burger was the best of the three and the root beer was delicious. Much better quality ingredients, and much better fries.
Now I think it's time to give up red meat, cheese, and white potatoes again. But I'm still not out of the Twin Cities until tomorrow, so we'll see.