The 5-8 Club, Minneapolis
Most of us are very familiar with the basic cheeseburger, which is served a similar way pretty much across the country. There’s a few places that add high-brow toppings, and a few that change up the type of meat that’s used, but for the most part, a cheeseburger is standard bun, meat, cheese, toppings, condiments, done.
Venture into the Land of 10,000 Lakes, however, and you find something completely different. The Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul are home to the Juicy Lucy (or Jucy Lucy), an inside-out cheeseburger that cooks the cheese inside the patties, giving you what looks like a standard hamburger until you actually take your first bite. Once you get in, hot cheese flows out to provide a totally different experience.
You can get a Juicy Lucy across the Twin Cities, but two places on the same street in Minneapolis claim to be the original inventor of the sandwich, Matt’s Bar and the 5-8 Club. I’m not sure which one really did invent the burger, but I’ve tried both and I’m going to start with the one I like best. I know, I just gave away any drama, but I’ve already revealed my preference last year on Facebook, and it’s not like this gets any readers besides my friends.
What makes the Juicy Lucy at 5-8 so excellent is the way that they prepare their burger and the side options. First, there’s the cheese. American has always been the standard cheese for a Juicy Lucy, but at 5-8, you can also go with pepperjack, Swiss or blue cheese. They also offer a burger called the Saucy Sally, which is filled with secret sauce instead of cheese, and then topped with the cheese. Plus, 5-8 has a promotion called “Free the Cheese”, which involves five specialty Juicy Lucies, stuffed with cheddar, mozzarella, chipotle jack and even barbecue (all separate burgers, of course). Finish all five in separate visits and you get a free shirt.
Of course, in the name of fairness, I decided I was going for the standard American, and 5-8 delivers on that burger too. They use a large amount of cheese and cook it so it’s hot, but it’s not liquid. Instead, what you get is melted goodness that works well with the burger and doesn’t create a large mess in the basket.
This also has the added benefit of reducing your wait time before biting into your burger. At most places, you start eating as soon as you receive your food. That is not recommended with a Juicy Lucy, because the temperature of the cheese can scald your mouth and leave a blister inside if you eat it too soon. When it’s brought out, they make sure you know to let the burger cool a little before enjoying it.
So instead, if you’re at 5-8, the thing to do while you’re waiting is enjoy some jojos. As some of my friends in Ohio can tell you, jojos are potato wedges that are much larger than the standard french fries. The potatoes are cut much larger than french fries and then fried, resulting in much more potato in each bite. It’s a little like steak fries on steroids, and for someone who loves potatoes as much as I do, that can only be a good thing.
It’s kind of a shame that you can only get a Juicy Lucy in the Twin Cities, because a taste this good is something that should be experienced on a somewhat regular basis. But it’s their thing in the State of Hockey, and it’s one of several things that make a visit to Minneapolis and St. Paul worth the trip, even if it happens to be during a Minnesota winter.
Time to go: Lunch/dinner or whenever you get done shopping at the Mall of America. 5-8’s Minneapolis location is less than four miles away from the famous Mall, so if you can pull away from the glut of shops and restaurants there, it’s a perfect spot to finish your day.
Wait during my visit: None, but it can get crowded.
Location: The 5-8 Club’s main location is at 5800 Cedar Avenue South. They have two other locations elsewhere in the Twin Cities, in Maplewood and Champlin.
Cost: With jojos, a Juicy Lucy will run you $9, plus drink. The cost here isn’t bad.
Parking: Not the easiest thing in the world here, as the lot is kind of small. There is a church nearby that does have a parking lot, but I’m not sure if parking there is actually allowed if you’re not going to church.
Website: The 5-8 Club
Specialty items: Juicy Lucy