Hometown Hungers: Best Juicy Lucy Outside of Minneapolis
No need to mosey over to Minneapolis — or anywhere else in Minnesota, for that matter — to bite into a cheese-stuffed Juicy Lucy. These jumping joints across the country offer their own riffs on the meaty, cheesy burger.
Photo By: Picasa
Photo By: Picasa
Cheese It Up
The premise behind the Juicy Lucy (or Jucy Lucy, as it’s sometimes spelled) is fairly simple, but the results are profoundly delicious. This ingenious culinary creation is essentially a burger stuffed full of cheese (often cheddar or American). Building the burger that way ensures that a bite of the patty brings with it a hot explosion of melted cheese. The concept of this cheese-filled burger originated in Minneapolis, and its initial creation is claimed by two bars — Matt’s Bar and 5-8 Club — who argue over the bragging rights. The dish has gained popularity outside of Minnesota and can now be found in bars and restaurants across the country. Check out these Food Network-approved spots putting their own spin on the Juicy Lucy.
Photo courtesy of Lucy’s #7 Burger Bar
Cobblestone Café, Boston
With two Italian restaurants already under her belt when she opened Cobblestone Café in the North End, Carla Agrippino Gomes wanted to deliver something a bit different to Boston’s Little Italy with her third endeavor. This spot is a coffee shop with a somewhat eclectic spread, as breakfast burritos, Sicilian pizza slices, chicken tacos and more than 12 sandwich options all crowd together on the menu. There’s also an extensive selection of burgers, including a Juicy Lucy. A bit of liberty has been taken with this iteration, as it is stuffed with Gouda cheese instead of cheddar or American. The burger is then topped with more cheese, Dijon mustard, caramelized onion, lettuce and tomato, and served on a pretzel bun.
Photo courtesy of Cobblestone Café
Go to: Cobblestone Café
The Royale, Dallas
This hip spot may have a whimsical vibe, but the kitchen is all business when it comes to the burgers, turning out upscale takes on the classic American comfort food. More than a dozen different options are available on the menu, plus there’s a weekly burger special, which is often the Juicy Lucy. The Royale’s version stars an 80/20 Black Angus patty stuffed with American cheese and served on a brioche bun.
Photo courtesy of The Royale
Go to: The Royale
Dusek’s Board and Beer, Chicago
This Pilsen gastropub serves elevated dishes that go well beyond standard bar fare. It’s no surprise, then, that the Juicy Lucy on Dusek’s menu is a touch more sophisticated than the traditional dish. To start, the beef is sourced from Slagel Family Farm in Fairbury, Ill., which is known for raising high-quality, hormone-free meats. And the toppings for this cheese-filled patty add to its high-end allure: red onion bacon marmalade, an heirloom tomato and butter lettuce, all served on a challah bun.
Photo courtesy of Dusek’s Board and Beer
Go to: Dusek's Board and Beer
Lucy’s #7 Burger Bar, Beloit, Wis.
The lineup of brews at this spot is pure Wisconsin, but the burgers seem to give a nod to Minneapolis. After all, the “Lucy” whose life story is charmingly detailed in the menu is actually a fictional namesake. And every one of the joint’s nine patties comes crammed with cheese. The Plain Jane most closely resembles a classic Juicy Lucy, with its simple combination of a patty stuffed with your choice of cheese. It’s placed on a fresh roll and served unadorned, unless optional toppings of tomato, onion and lettuce are requested. Other options veer into completely new territory, such as the Sweet & Sassy Lucy, which is brimming with curry and ginger-infused cheese and topped with a sweet and spicy slaw.
Photo courtesy of Lucy’s #7 Burger Bar
Go to: Lucy’s #7 Burger Bar
M.E.A.T. Eatery and Tap Room, Boca Raton, Fla.
With a Juicy Lucy on the menu at this restaurant in sunny Boca Raton, Fla., the kitchen here is proving that you don’t need frigid weather to appreciate a burger patty bursting with molten cheese. It seems no amount of sunshine can dampen the enthusiasm for the version served at M.E.A.T. Eatery, where the meats are smoked on the premises and the condiments are made in-house. This joint boasts a riff on the Juicy Lucy that’s made with a brisket-and-beef burger. This flavorful patty is stuffed with pimento cheese and bits of housemade applewood bacon, then topped with American cheese, crisp lettuce and a sliced tomato.
Photo courtesy of M.E.A.T. Eatery and Tap Room
Go to: M.E.A.T. Eatery and Tap Room
Whitmans, New York
Locals head to Whitmans for the comforting dishes that pull in locally sourced ingredients, with the craft burgers being chief among the menu choices. And arguably the most popular burger of them all is the Juicy Lucy. This Southern-tinged version features two beef short rib-blend patties brimming with pimento cheese and crowned with a tangle of caramelized onions, spicy pickles and Bibb lettuce stacked on a slice of tomato. The whole lot comes served on a sesame seed bun. The menu also offers a second variation, the Bluicy, which trades the pimento cheese for blue cheese and subs out the caramelized onion and Bibb lettuce for red onion and arugula.
Photo courtesy of Whitmans
Go to: Whitmans
BRGR Kitchen + Bar, Kansas City, Mo.
This burger bar turns out impeccable patties in more than a dozen different creative combinations, including two different cheese-filled variations. The kitchen sticks close to the classic recipe when it comes to the Juicy Lucy, mixing the patty with a little Worcestershire sauce, then cramming it with American cheese and nestling it in a kaiser roll. For those looking to amp things up a bit, though, there’s the option of the Juicy Lupita. This burger, which comes served on an Asiago bun, has a bit of bite — it’s bursting with pimento cheese and crowned with green chile relish.
Photo courtesy of BRGR Kitchen + Bar
Go to: BRGR Kitchen + Bar
Parlor City Pub & Eatery, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Located in Cedar Rapids’ New Bohemia district, this pub serves sandwiches, salads, pizza and burgers — including not one, not two, but three versions of the Lucy. The most-classic spin is the Jucy Lucy, which stars a half-pound burger crammed with molten American cheese. The Spicy Lucy steps up the heat factor a notch by subbing in pepper Jack, while the Jucy Bleucy is a completely reimagined riff that comes stuffed with blue cheese crumbles and topped with mushrooms, onions and Swiss cheese. A drizzle of blue cheese dressing and an onion ring complete the creation.
Photo courtesy of Parlor City Pub & Eatery
Go to: Parlor City Pub & Eatery
Olivers on Lynn, Columbus, Ohio
Two different variations on the Juicy Lucy grace the menu at this bourbon, steak and burger bar in downtown Columbus. For a slight twist on the original, opt for the Downtown Jucy Lucy. This burger comes crammed with not one but two types of cheeses — cheddar and Swiss. The hefty patty, which is finished with a slick of chipotle aioli, holds up well to the pile of bourbon onions perched on top. If you want a completely reimagined version of the real Minneapolis dish, order the Jalapeno Popper Jucy Lucy. Cream cheese and jalapenos are tucked into this patty, which comes crowned with bacon, pepper Jack cheese and a creamy garlic aioli.
Photo courtesy of Olivers on Lynn
Go to: Olivers on Lynn
Kenny’s Burger Joint, Frisco, Texas
This casual Texas joint is as unfussy as they come, with a family-friendly ambience, accommodating staff and straightforward menu dominated by more than a dozen burger combinations. All of the patties weigh in at a half-pound and are cooked on a wood-fired grill. This spot stays true to the original concept for the Juicy Lucy by keeping the dish simple, as it was intended to be. A hickory-grilled patty is stuffed with white American cheese, adorned with a swirl of mustard and ketchup, and then finished with onions and pickles.
Photo courtesy of Kenny’s Burger Joint
Go to: Kenny’s Burger Joint