James Norton is editor and co-founder of the Heavy Table. He is also the co-author of Lake Superior Flavors, the co-author of a book about Wisconsin’s master cheesemakers, and a regular on-air contributor to Minnesota Public Radio.
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Thank you for including Lion’s Tap. I grew up in Shakopee and have been preaching the Tap gospel for a while now.
This is great! Though, my lucky family will usually end up at the Nook if I am the one answering the questions!
No Matt’s?! The eff?
All my meat-eating friends rave about the Vincent burger (and they have the classiest happy hour around.)
I love the chart! But you left out a few of my favorite burgers in town. If it’s gotta be cheese filled and I’m willing to spend the dough, it’s gotta be the Vincent Burger. If it’s gotta be local and vegetarian, I’m heading to Be’Wiched, or maybe the Birchwood. If it’s gotta be turkey, I’ll see you at the Edina Grill or French Meadow. Of course, the best burgers in town are made in my backyard…
just replace the 5-8 with Matt’s and we can all be friends.
ditto @yourmom. matt’s ftw.
Whaa??? people are arguing over where to get teh best juicy lucy????
The Matt’s omission wasn’t accidental. If there’s a worse value for your money in town, I haven’t found it. And let’s not even get started on their fries.
Thank you James. Dave and I went there for an early episode of Well Fed Guide, and didn’t tell me where we were going like it was Wally World or something. Most disappointed I’ve been after a show yet.
Haven’t been to 5-8 yet, so don’t have a comment on that holy war, but Matt’s is a waste.
The 5-8 has the benefit of having a kitchen (if you can call Matt’s setup that) that dates from the Truman administration. I seriously question my sanity for eating in such a health department disaster every time I go to Matts. And, at least at the 5-8 I can pretend I’m healthy and get some lettuce and tomato on my juicy lucy. Heresy, I know.
Plus, the 5-8’s juicy lucys are better.
Erm, that doesn’t date. Whoops.
I was actually pleased at the omission of Matt’s myself. Matt’s has the prestige, but the actual burger is not really anything special.
I think the Jucy Lucy branch is valuable since it puts quality first. However, if you want to call yourself an authority on local cuisine, a trip to Matt’s has to happen and should probably happen first in a Jucy Lucy tour to set the bar with the original.
Matt’s is gross. If you like it for nostalgia’s sake, fine. Otherwise, admit that a crappy patty filled with Tang-colored, runny glop served with gross fries and unbelievably overpriced beer does not constitute anything other than a complete rip-off.
Great flowchart! What about smashburger?
Matt’s IS gross. And delicious.
Wow…I actually like Matt’s fries.
There’s certainly no rule against liking bad fries, or bad anything — personal taste and quality only occasionally have a meaningful relationship. Personally, I’m a big fan of Rocky Rococo’s pizza. I wouldn’t defend it to any actual pizza fan — it’s doughy, overly sweet, and covered in a gloppy, greasy pile of cheese. But I do think it’s delicious, probably because I was conditioned to enjoy it from childhood.
the flow-chart made “A Hamburger Today.” Congrats!
try the rest …then come for the grass-fed best! @ the Chef Shack…every Saturday!
I think anyone judging Matt’s for “quality” is kinda missing the point. It’s ground beef stuffed with American cheese. I mean, really. What’s next? A critical analysis of the brush technique and color theory used in a variety of velvet Elvis paintings? The whole point is its tasty lack of aspiration to any degree of quality combined with an atmosphere composed of shameless retro kitsch, authentically assembled by not having changed anything for decades.
Oh, and thanks for putting Lion’s tap in there. Truly worth the drive.
Dissing Matt’s over some made-up, conclusory “I’m a beef critic” spurn is like dissing Lays because you can’t taste the potato. You obviously don’t get it.
It’s an assembly! Served with panache!
Before people start driving from all over town to hit the 5-8 Club, don’t assume that it is on the flow chart where it is because it is the uncrowded alternative. If you go at prime time, you could easily park over a block away and wait. But again, it’s worth it. By the way, it pre-dates the Truman administration. It was a speakeasy. About ten years ago it had to close for several months for remodeling after the city discovered they still had the original dirt under the floor. Something about health code.
“Up for a long drive” should mean Shortstop Bar and Grill in Coon Rapids, but lucky for us it’s blocks away.
Seriously? No Matt’s?
Every single time, and I really do mean this,I’ve ever eaten at the 5-8 Club I have been so disappointed and and underwhelmed with their pitiful excuse for a burger that I wonder why I didn’t just wait in line at Matt’s for a real Jucy Lucy.
Matt’s Matt’s Matts! Forever!
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