MATT'S BAR AND THE GREAT
JUCY LUCY DEBATE
JUCY LUCY DEBATE
When I moved to Minneapolis thirteen and a half years ago, one of the first things I heard about were Jucy Lucys. More so, I heard about the great debate as to who invented them. Was it Matt’s Bar or was it the 5 8 Club (both located on S Cedar Ave.)?
There is almost always a line at Matt's Bar, but it's worth the wait.
Let me begin by saying that a Jucy Lucy is a cheeseburger like none other. The cheese (American cheese only) is in the core of the burger surrounded by the meat, and as the burger is fried this cheese becomes molten hot. I admit that I’ve only had them at Matt’s in all of these years I’ve been here, but that is probably because I found them to be so wonderful and they are definitely a favorite of mine. I also need to do a shout for the fries at Matt’s as they are amazing as well!
Over the past sixty years many other establishments have, and still do, offer variations of the Jucy. Many offer an assortment of cheeses to choose from, as well as spices to season the burgers with. Again the burgers at Matt’s and the 5 8 Club are plain burgers and only come with American cheese inside.
While a number of people are quick to point out how bland the burgers are at Matt’s and the 5 8 Club, and will tell you they prefer the variety of Jucys available at the other establishments, I think they miss the point of the Jucy Lucy. Both Matt’s and the 5 8 Club began in the 1950’s and have retained that feel and attitude. The Jucy Lucy was birthed in this era. A time before gourmet became the “in” thing, and a time when just a basic burger was offered on most menus.
The amazing ambiance of a Jucy Lucy, if a burger can have an ambiance, is that it is an old-school “dive” burger from and old-school “dive” establishment, without any of the fancy, upscale frills. It’s just a plain, traditional burger, unchanged for roughly sixty years, and legendary in its deliciousness.
The debate between the S. Cedar Ave. establishments
will continue for years to come.
There may be a slight edge in the debate, given that when President Obama came to Minneapolis last June to meet with Rebekah Erler, they dined on Jucy Lucys and fries at Matt’s Bar. Edge or not, the “competition” will go on, and the Great Jucy Lucy Debate will continue for many years foreward.
***Do you prefer Jucy Lucys from Matt’s Bar or the 5 8 Club?