The home of the Juicy Lucy is as hotly debated in the Twin Cities as the ‘better’ side of the river or the future of the Metrodome. Two spots claim origin of the cheese-filled hamburger, but each restaurant’s loyal fans believe their place has the one. After living here for nearly two years, we’d not yet had the experience to compare, but perceived the 5-8 Club to have the edge (plus, we love their saying: “If it’s spelled right, it’s done right,” knocking Matt’s Bar for offering a ‘Jucy Lucy’).
To celebrate Jim’s birthday, we set out to finally try the cities’ signature sandwich. The once-Speakeasy-now-neighborhood-hangout doesn’t have a lot of seating, but the quick-moving staff and fast kitchen line make for quick turnaround. And service was friendly, considering the dinner-time rush and hot summer temps. The best part was 5-8’s “Free the Cheese” motto on the back of the servers’ t-shirts, which drums up images tasty enough to make anyone seriously reconsider not ordering a burger with cheese just waiting to escape.
We both had the Juicy Lucy with pepperjack (diners can also choose from American, Swiss or Blue) and split an onion ring basket. The burgers, served on soft buns, had been cooked to perfection: barely pink meat gave way to spicy cheese (which kept a remarkable amount of flavor) oozing from the center. The crispy rings were standard, but tasted great with the warm burgers and cold beer. The beer wasn’t fancy, but the size options were great. Jim could have a mug (birthday boys do what they want) and I could have a glass – a 12 oz serving that hit the spot and wasn’t too filling.
Our experience is too one-sided for us to make an official statement about the best Lucy in town (plus, we think Blue Door Pub is a strong competitor, even if they don’t claim to have invented it). But, dinner at 5-8 was delicious, fun and certainly lived up to the hype. To us, it doesn’t matter who wins the burger war – with so much melted cheese inside, it’s hard for anyone to go wrong!
RATING (out of 5 ♠♠♠♠♠)
Menu Selection: ♠♠♠1/2
Food Taste & Presentation: ♠♠♠1/2
COMPLETE EXPERIENCE: ♠♠♠1/2
Total bill, including tip: $29