Stadium Burger at Gold Nugget

Stadium Burger at Gold Nugget Tavern & Grille in Minnetonka

Gold Nugget Stadium Burger
Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

At Heavy Table HQ, we get a lot of press releases. Some are immediately intriguing, others baffling — as in, why would CNN medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta’s endorsement of a burrito make us want to eat it? But when we received one about the Stadium Burger at Gold Nugget Tavern & Grille being named the best burger by Metromix Twin Cities for the second year of the row, we decided to check it out for ourselves. With all the hoopla over hamburgers in this area over the past few years, it’s hard to take any “best burger” claim with more than a grain of salt. But hey, we love burgers, so we were up for a field trip to Minnetonka for a taste.

And you know what? The Stadium Burger ($12) is a damn good burger. Does it achieve the Juicy Nookie’s level of gooey-oozy-cheesey-beefy nirvana? Well, no, but it’s a hearty, juicy, and well-seasoned burger that merits a drive from anywhere in the Twin Cities.

Stadium Burger at Gold Nugget
Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

Let’s start with the beef. The Stadium Burger features a thick patty grilled on a flat top cooked either “pink” or “no pink.” Unless you enjoy dried-out ground beef, go with pink so you can relish the flavorful juices that flow with each bite. The shiny, crusty, appropriately chewy pretzel bun encasing the burger stands up nicely to the patty’s heft and doesn’t crumble under the squeeze of your fingers — who can stand a wimpy bun, anyway? The slice of American cheese slipped in between the bun and burger isn’t fancy, but it gets the job done with its melty, milky flavor, and if you pay the extra dollar for caramelized onions, which you should, you’ll get a delightful burst of sweetness that balances the saltiness of the beef and cheese. A cup of nacho cheese sauce accompanies the burger, but it’s totally superfluous. Instead, use it as a dip for the top-notch fries — you can’t go wrong with either the traditional or sweet potato variety — and savor your burger as is.

Gold Nugget also likes to call out its special burger of the week — a new one every week of the year, no repeats — but honestly, the Stadium Burger is all you need for a satisfying burger experience. After all, once you go pretzel bun, it’s hard to go back.

Gold Nugget Tavern & Grille, 14401 Excelsior Blvd, Minnetonka; 952.935.3600.



  1. Logic

    Yeah, I’ll be sure to rush out for the processed cheese topped burger with a side of Sysco “nacho cheese” sauce. Even the pickle looks sad.

  2. Jason Walker

    American cheese is the best way to enjoy a burger. I’ve tried all kinds of others – my Lucy standby is blue-cheese-stuffed with American on top at the 5-8 – and you just gotta have American in there. Nothing else melts properly or adds much flavor to the beef unless it’s a mammoth hunk of cheese that distracts from the burger itself.

  3. NJG

    Gold Nugget is awesome.

    And FYI: American cheese is unequivocally the best cheese that you can use on a burger. Not an opinion–that’s a fact.

  4. Logic

    American cheese isn’t cheese. It’s milk products and chemicals. Potassium phosphate, sodium phosphate, dyes, & artificial flavors. Designed for shelf longevity. Also designed to create profit by only having to use a fraction of real dairy in conjunction with chemicals and additives to yield more product. Should be called sucker cheese, really. Even lamer to consume when we are smack in the middle of grassfed, dairy farm, midwestern joy. I’m simply amazed that people are taking food cues from Metromix, a huge media conglomerate of ug.

  5. Kevin

    Are you doing a parody of a self-righteous foodie, Logic, or is that your natural tone? The process by which American cheese is produced is artificial, sure, but it’s dubious to presume that its artificiality makes it inferior in any way other than on a subjective “my taste is better than yours” level. I know contemporary food-lovers like to compliment themselves on their superior discernment and the authenticity of their palates, but others (who may even be interested in “eating better”) are generally turned off by hearing about how they’re “suckers” for liking what they like.

  6. geoff

    Granted the up-north charm died in renovation, but just like they did pre-renovation, the Gold Nugget grinds, seasons and hand packs their own beef…and it is tasty. plus the pretzel roll provides just the level of juice absorption you want in a bun.

  7. Logic

    No, it tastes pretty much like strangely textured creamed salt with a chemical zing on the end. It’s inferior. I’m confident. If you can read the label on the processed cheese packaging and have web access to a plethora of news articles and studies from the past ten+ years that are health and diet related, you can decide for yourself if you want to partake in processed cheese consumption. If you discover that something isn’t very good for you and you still buy it and eat it just because you WANT it, then yeah, you’re a sucker. We’re all suckers for something. Processed cheese certainly isn’t worth being the “thing” to be sucker to. That’s for sure. Save those empty calories for beer or ice cream or something.. duh.

  8. njg

    “No, it tastes pretty much like strangely textured creamed salt with a chemical zing on the end.”

    My mouth started to water as I read that.

  9. elsiroomom

    Rest assured that other cheeses are available – blue, brie, cheddar, swiss, etc. The burger is great unadorned on the pretzel bun too.
    I do miss the homemade nacho cheese they had when they launched this burger – it was a step up!

  10. Becca Dilley

    While most American cheese is tasteless and low on cheese content, it does not need to be so. American cheese was born out of process cheese, wherein the ugly bits of cheese (ends of blocks, dented, or otherwise not pretty for retail) were combined with enough milk to be smooth. Most every cheesemaker I have ever met sells process cheese, especially the small producers: it is a smart way to use the end bits of carefully crafted cheese.

    It is unfortunate that large producers have been able to change the meaning of process cheese, but good American cheese can have a full range of cheese flavors AND melt well, which is something a 5 year cheddar can’t do.

  11. DannyRoxanne

    Like their burgers without cheese – especially the GN burger – especially at happy hour – especially good – different cheese or not for different folks – some people are too pretentious for the Glen Lake district of Minnetonka – interesting factoid – the French like the Big Mac – C’est la vie!

  12. David Foureyes

    Here-here to those standing up for the qualitative nature of taste and the fact that, despite being less-than-artisan in origin and composition, good American style processed cheese food is damn pleasant on a hamburger. Melty, milky, chemically, f’in good provided you’ve not convinced yourself you’re too self-righteous to enjoy it.

  13. Logic

    I have no idea how it is self righteous to have formed an opinion on the tastiness factor of processed cheese. If someone doesn’t agree with you it isn’t self righteous, it is a different opinion. I can re-phrase the initial blog entry though: why in the hell submit a blog about a frickin cheeseburger?! It’s not even a special cheeseburger! There are literally THOUSANDS of places in the metro that have a cheeseburger. A CHEESEBURGER!! What YEAR is it?! Is there a segment of society that can’t figure out how to locate a burger?

    How about a blog about how bizarre it is that everyone is still scarfing down a food that is about giving a portable & substantial meal that conjures up memories of the motherland to the European immigrants that came to America and were laborers. They were actually DOING stuff to merit eating such calories & the like. Nowadays most people sit in cubicles and burn negligible calories in comparison. The modern “burger” should be tofu in a lettuce wrap or something, not saturated fat topped with saturated fat, a side of saturated fat, and a completely empty calorie pretzel bun.

  14. David Foureyes

    You called those that do not hold the same opinion “suckers”. The worldview that your opinion is fact and differing opinions are wrong is, well, sort of the definition of self-righteousness…

    How about that blog? Want a blog where you tell most people how wrong they are? Write it…good luck with ad sales. Believe it or not, most people don’t live in Minnetonka or read whatever site gave this burger a thumbs up…I sure as shit didn’t know where this place was and if I’m ever stuck in Minnetonka, I know where I can at least get a cheeseburger that isn’t terrible.

  15. Logic

    From a truth in advertising standpoint, cheesefood isn’t “cheese”. Eerily similar in price though (cough). I fancy facts and truths. Sue me. It isn’t my problem if other people like processed cheese. Last I checked this is America, so it shouldn’t be your problem if I have a nifty name for said cheesefood product. I called processed cheese the “sucker”, did I not? I never mentioned you (or even people) specifically, ya self absorbed meeeeeeee. And what is with the wrong and right? How about interesting and not? How about already know that and new, fresh idea?

    From your attitude I am guessing that America is going to have a long, FAT, road ahead. The idea of making healthy food choices is met with serious childish stubbornness by many the person. Usually they insinuate that people (like me) who even mention that it is a better idea to try and eat well, are out to get them. Then they say something retarded like, “i’d be more inclined to try to eat well if you weren’t mean about it”… ?!?!?! Really? Like I care! Are you all 5 years old?! Here wittle baby, let me hold your hand while we walk across the street.. I’m not the one who will be carting around the diabetes and fat butt and bottles of pharm to control my high blood pressure and heart problems, etc. If someone wants to treat their body like crap, so be it. The same whiny quality that makes them unhealthy is the same whiny, refuse to accept responsibility for one’s own actions, quality that makes them try to blame others for their own decisions. LOVE how society has morphed into the blame game with everything, even food. GSFR.

    Oh and as a person who actually likes FOOD, not just friggin cheeseburgers, I probably have a burger about 3 times a year. At best. There are too many other options out there to have burgers more than that. They aren’t that good for you, and are pretty boring at this point. Who wants to eat the same thing for 40 years when we have access to everything?! Not me, that’s who. I don’t need a blog telling me where a half-assed burger is located. They are located everywhere. I need a blog that tells me where I can find fresh grilled ramps.

  16. Nicholas

    Agreed the burgers are good, as are the fries, but the onion rings are exceptional! Whoa! Never before have I gotten excited about an onion ring. If you go skip the fries and go with the rings. You won’t be sorry.

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