Best Of The Twin Cities

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Burger Friday is on hiatus, and will return on Nov. 30.

Until then, let's look back at a favorite segment of Burger Friday (for me, anyway), the part where I ask chefs and restaurateurs where they like to go for a burger, with one caveat: the response can't include their own restaurant(s).

It should come as no surprise that chefs are just like the rest of us, because of the 20 mostly-from-2018 replies that I've summarized here, many of them call out the cheese-stuffed Jucy Lucy at >Matt's Bar

(pictured, above, in a Star Tribune file photo) in south Minneapolis. A classic is a classic is a classic, right?

But read on, because this discerning crowd rattles off an additional 25 other-than-Matt's options, all worth checking out. Here goes: 

I’ll go to 

Saint Dinette (that's the restaurant's cheeseburger, pictured, above, in a Star Tribune file photo), or I’ll go old-school and go to 

Matt’s. I have the best rapport with Adam and Laurel [Saint Dinette chef Adam Eaton and general manager Laurel Elm], so it’s almost like going over to a friend’s house to eat.” -- Shane Oporto, 

Octo Fishbar and 

Birch’s Lowertown

Matt’s Bar has the best in town, bar none. 

The 112 makes an amazing cheeseburger. And I’m a big 

In-N-Out fan. When I was living in Vegas, I drank the In-N-Out Kool-Aid, and fell in love. If I’m going for a fast-food burger, it’s the only way to go. It’s definitely something I miss about the Vegas area.” -- Matt Leverty, >Tullibee

“The burger at 

Parlour is a classic. And you can’t go wrong with 

Matt’s Bar. That’s an old-school classic.”  -- Mike Fritz,

Tap Society

“I like the standards. I love

 Matt’s, and when I’m not looking for a stuffed burger, 

Lions Tap is always great. I love restaurants where, if you ask for something different – a change to the burger, or extra-crispy fries – and the response is, ‘Nope.’ I like going places and being told ‘No,’ because that says that they have a system, they have a way of doing things. It’s their way, and, god bless them, they feel comfortable saying ‘No, this is what we do and how we do it, and if you don’t like it, have a good day.’” -- Peter Hoff, >Nolo’s Kitchen & Bar

“I love burgers. >Hoppers Bar & Grill

in Waconia has the greasiest, most delicious burgers, ever. Going toward the Cities, I like the 

Rock Elm Tavern in Plymouth. They have a burger with roasted mushrooms, MontAmore cheese [a Wisconsin-made, Parmesan-inspired cheese] and a walnut aioli that’s really, really good. 

Lions Tap (pictured, above, in a Star Tribune file photo),

Matt’s Bar, it’s hard to pick my favorites. There are so many good burgers out there.” -- Lucas Ballweber,

Arcane Kitchen

“I’ll start off by saying I went to 

Hamburguesas El Gordo and thought it was a California burger on steroids. I liked it, a lot. But I’m going to have to say the >


burger. It’s still the equivalent of a big rib eye at a steak joint. I haven’t made a hamburger patty that decadent yet.” -- Alan Scholer, >Bad Gyros

“I love 

Parlour, and 

Revival, those burgers are addictive and absolutely delicious. And I’m a big fan of >Flameburger,

 the one on Central (pictured, above, in a Star Tribune file photo), for a whole slew of reasons. It’s the whole stepping-back-in-time thing, the simple American diner. It’s unpretentious, it’s great people-watching. It’s also great to go there from a cook’s perspective and look at their equipment, and watch how they put out burgers, or breakfast. It’s pretty awesome.” -- Doug Flicker,

Bull’s Horn Food & Drink

“I think >Red Cow

 has the best burger in town [his favorite is the Double Barrel Burger]. It’s a smash burger like everyone else is doing, but it’s really good. I’m not a big smash burger fan, I like the meat to be medium-rare. But this is the most enjoyable smash burger in town. It’s got flavor to it, it’s juicy and I think it’s perfect. It has caramelized onions, which I love. And it comes with fries, which is important. A lot of places in town are doing that now, for the value. Which I think is really smart. People are looking for value, and they’ll tell you what they want. It’s about listening to them, about giving people the meal that they want, and charging them a fair price for it.” -- Adam Eaton,


“I still love the >Lakeview Drive Inn

, how can you go wrong with that? They do chopped onions on the flat top with their burgers. I don’t know where that comes from, the whole chopped vs. sliced vs. shaved onion thing. Is it a

White Castle thing? The chopped steamed onions with a burger? Anyway, the Lakeview isn’t pretentious, it’s not trying to win a Beard award. It’s summer, it’s fun.” -- Scott Pampuch,

McKinney Roe (and native Winonan)

“Going out and having a cheeseburger is pretty rare because of my work schedule. When I am off, I try to spend time with my wife and our son, who just turned two. On the rare occasions when we go, it’s usually when we’re visiting my wife’s parents in South Dakota. She’s from Sioux Falls, so when we’re there, we’ll go to >JL Beers

, it’s right by the hotel [there’s a branch of the Fargo-based chain in Minneapolis]. One of the reasons why I like their burger so much is that you can tell they put some thought into the kind of bun they wanted to use. That’s so important.” -- Sam Collins,


“I live over south, and if I’m not making them myself, we’ll go to 

Northbound. But I’ve got two kids, and they definitely prefer eating burgers at home. They’re very particular these days, I’ve created little monsters. My daughter, if she orders a burger medium-rare and it’s too pink, or not pink enough, she’ll say, ‘That’s not right.’ It’s cute, but sometimes it’s a bit much for a 7-year-old.” John Lambe,

Draft Horse

“I love 

Brunson’s Pub, it’s probably my favorite restaurant. I don’t get burgers a lot if I go out – because I can eat them here, every day – but I like the burgers at Brunson’s, very much.” -- Destiny Buron,

Home Street Home Cafe

“If I have to be completely honest, my favorite is probably

Culver’s.That might sound stupid, for a chef to love a fast-food burger. But they do a really good job. I don’t eat a ton of them, because there aren’t a lot of Culver’s locations in the cities. But that’s my go-to burger.” -- Ben Piene,

Surly Brewing Co.

“Oh god, I go everywhere, but I couldn’t tell you right off the top of my head. I used to be good friends with Rick at

Mickey’s Diner (pictured, above, in a Star Tribune file photo) and I’d go there.” -- Jim Wagner,

Wagner’s Drive-In

“I don’t have any favorites, I guess. I order a burger almost every dang place I go. I could tell you about places that I don’t like. I can’t stand an overcooked patty in a bun that isn’t toasted, that doesn’t go together very well. If I had to pick a place, there’s Snuffy’s — it’s now called the >Original Malt Shop

 — it’s near my house, in Roseville. I’ve always gone there.” -- Steve Ramlow,

Simply Steve’s

“I’m a huge burger person. My two favorites – the ones I eat on a regular basis – are the 'Paul Molitor' at 

Shamrocks. It’s a Juicy Lucy, but it’s filled with pepper jack cheese. I grew up eating them. And the burgers at 

Kelly’s Depot Bar & Grill. They’re just regular burgers – there’s nothing fancy about them, at all -- and they’re really delicious.” -- Elizabeth Tinucci,

Colossal Cafe

“To be fair, there aren’t too many burgers that I don’t like. There are just so many options right now. I love the 

Nook (pictured, above, in a Star Tribune file photo), but that’s a terrible one to say, because it’s everybody’s go-to. Oh, and 

Dusty’s Bar in northeast Minneapolis. It’s not really a burger, it’s an Italian sausage patty. When I was at La Belle Vie, I used to go to Dusty’s every Friday for lunch.” -- Mike Decamp,


“I’m not much of a burger guy, I’m more of a sausage guy. I like the burger at 

Kelly’s Depot Bar & Grill, because it’s a St. Paul dive bar, and I have a propensity for St. Paul dive bars. I’d have to say the best burger I’ve had recently was at 

Bull’s Horn. It was awesome.” -- Jack Riebel, the


“I was at the new

Blue Door Pub at Lyn-Lake last week. They’ve got a special on Monday: $3 for a [single-patty] burger, and another 50 cents for a slice of cheese. That burger? It was amazing. Then there’s the

Bryant-Lake Bowl, it’s still my favorite Kim Bartmann restaurant. I like the 'Bad Breath' burger [a Cajun-seasoned beef patty topped with caramelized onions, blue cheese and roasted garlic aioli], and it’s great because they don’t serve fries. We should all be sick of fries.” -- Matt Quist,

Taher Inc.

“I live right by 

Matt’s. Which means that I live too close to Matt’s.”  -- Beth Fisher,

Thirty Bales

Source :

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