Matt’s Bar (Minneapolis) – Jucy Lucy in Paradise

Matts Bar is the quintessential local watering hole, everyone from the neighbor wanders over and you almost expect to see Archie Bunker discussing football with Norm. Founded in 1954, it is not the beer or the mixed drinks that brings non-locals to Matt’s, it is the allure of one of the great culinary creations of the last fifty years, the Jucy Lucy. While others may spell Jucy differently, Matt’s contends that the misspelling is symbolic of the misguided attempts to serve with inferior products. After enjoying numerous Jucy Lucies at Matt’s and other location in the Twin Cities Matt’s is definitely one of the best. As you look around the dining area, there is not a person who is not enjoying a Jucy Lucy, a traditional burger, plus a huge mound of fries.

Prepare to wait on line most nights, but when you enter the bar, you have the option of a table, booth, or grab a seat at the bar that extends the entire length of the right wall.  Located at the front of the bar is a small griddle fully loaded with a maximum 12 sizzling burgers, plus a small deep fryer.  The menu includes the Jucy Lucy, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, single or double, ham and cheese and grilled chicken, plus fries in two sizes, full and half.

For those who have never experienced the pleasures, and potential pains, of a Jucy Lucy, it is comprised of two patties, sealed along the edges to encase a wonderfully delicious molten cheese. They are grilled to an exterior char and placed on a basic bun. I normally choose a sing JL plus fired onions and these are no ordinary onion that are slapped on the griddle and fried, these have a secret, added ingredient, a little jolt of the grease from the deep frier, heh why not?  And when ordering the fries, a half order is more than enough, I once sat next a person who asked if he could order a quarter order.

The burgers are placed on the griddle and allowed to crisp on one side before flipping. The same occurs for side two and then a small hole is cut into the top to see if the interior cheese is fully melted and allow for a little steam to escape. When finished, it is placed in a simple roll, fried onions are added and a mound of fries join paper-lined plastic “plate.”

When the burger and fries arrive, the fun begins. Do not, I repeat, do not, bite into the burger for several minutes. Those who do not head this warning with suffer the JL Burn, half on the roof of your mouth, the other half on the lips. Bide you time, enjoy a few of the delicious fries and be patient. When the time is right, take a small bite, carefully releasing the gooey cheese. There is nothing earth-shattering about the flavors, but this is a great cheeseburger with fried onions on a simple bun, and somehow it all tastes better as a stuffed creation. And one is usually not enough…on every occasion, when our group is finished with the first Jucy Lucy a second round is ordered.

Matt’s Jucy Lucy is one of my favorite renditions in MSP. It is consistently delicious, the fries are always freshly prepared, crispy and perfectly salted and the atmosphere is a relaxing neighborhood haunt.

You can’t go wrong with friends and a few Jucy Lucies at Matt’s.

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