There are few regional food items that become so popular that they take on a life of their own outside of said region. And I’m not talking about Mexican food leaving Mexico or pizza making its way into the US from Italy. No, I’m talking Buffalo Wings, New England Clam Chowder and Chicago-Style Deep Dish. Now, there’s a new one that seems poised to join that elite club: the Jucy Lucy. This creation has gone as far to inspire a restaurant dedicated to the Jucy Lucy in LA called Juicy Lucy (note the different spelling) and Jucy Lucy’s can be found on restaurant menus all around the nation. So it may be surprising that the Jucy Lucy, a cheese-stuffed burger, came from a little dive bar called Matt’s in Minneapolis.
Recently I had the chance to get to Matt’s Bar. This followed my previous opportunity that was derailed by Blue Door, a much newer Jucy Lucy joint. The menu had some basic burgers in addition to the Jucy Lucy, but let’s be real here, I needed only one thing (and a side of fries to join it). The Jucy Lucy is typically served with onions, but I ordered mine without and eagerly anticipated the result.
And the result was everything I imagined and more. I had heard of the molten core of cheese inside the burger that would scald multiple layers of my mouth, but I bit in carefully and instead was greeted with cheesy bliss, albeit on the hot side. It was basic American cheese, but in the cooking process, it was combined with beef juices for a delicious surprise. The patty itself was pretty basic, as was the bun, but these are a major part of the charm of the burger and they did not disappoint. It is (literally) painfully obvious why the Jucy Lucy has spawned a nation of imitators. As for the fries, they got the job done, but were overshadowed by the glory of the Jucy Lucy.
Matt’s Bar is a must for anyone in love with cheeseburgers or intrigued by the concept of a burger stuffed with cheese. In fact, I’d go out on a limb and say they are enough to turn a vegan back to the bright side. The Blue Door did a good job of diversifying the Jucy Lucy, but Matt’s Bar is the once and current king.