The Best Juicy Lucys In MinneapolisAll the best places to find Minneapolis’s iconic cheese-stuffed burger, whether you’re after the OG version or a riff on the classic.
The juicy lucy is a staple on menus across Minneapolis: you’ll find them at dive bars, family-friendly restaurants, and even upscale spots. The local specialty is made by sandwiching a piece of cheese between two uncooked hamburger patties and then pinching the edges. The result: an extra-thick patty with a molten, cheese-stuffed center.
A classic juicy lucy is made with american cheese and topped with pickles and grilled onions, but you can also find versions stuffed with your choice of cheese and loaded with all kinds of toppings—we’ve even included one that comes fried and wrapped in egg roll wrapper. Here’s where to find the best of the best, no matter what kind you’re looking for.
When you want something besides a burger, check out our guide to the best restaurants in Minneapolis.
In addition to being a beloved Minneapolis specialty, the juicy lucy is a heated local controversy, with Matt’s Bar and the 5-8 Club each claiming to be the originator of the cheese-stuffed burger. Although the real answer may be lost to history, Matt’s Bar gets our vote for the nostalgia: they’re still serving them decades later in a narrow, memorabilia-lined space that hasn’t changed much since the restaurant opened in the 1950s. They also insist on the spelling “Jucy Lucy.”
The beef and grilled onions are extra flavorful, probably due to the well-seasoned grill that’s churned out millions of burgers. Just be careful with your first bite: the molten cheese has burned many a tongue. The restaurant only accepts cash and local checks, although there’s an ATM on-site.
The other spot that lays claim to the juicy lucy’s invention insists that the juicy-lucy-with-an-i spelling is the proper one, and they’ve also branched out from the version they were offering in the 1950s. Today, you can pick your own cheese from a lineup that includes american (the traditional choice), swiss, pepper jack, or Minnesota-made Amablu. The so-weird-it’s-fabulous PB&J burger is the perfect balance of salty peanut butter and cheese with a slathering of sweet strawberry jam, but they also do a buffalo chicken juicy that’s great and features a melty pepper jack center.
This neighborhood pub has their own take on the juicy lucy: instead of american, the signature Blucy stays true to its name literally by swapping in a pungent center of melted blue cheese. Another tasty option is the Mount Blucuvious—grab some extra napkins and a glass of water before tackling the burger’s pepper cheese center and toppings of spicy bacon, fried avocado strips, and a lava-like flow of cilantro-lime sauce. Definitely get some beer-battered pickle chips served with garlic aioli on the side.
Why settle for a cheese-stuffed burger when you can get one topped with even more cheese? That’s precisely what you’ll find at Peppers & Fries, an over-the-top baseball-themed sports bar that repurposed a ballpark scoreboard as wall decor and uses chain link fencing to divide the room.
Don’t let the extra slice of cheese fool you into thinking that they’re skimping on the main event, though, since the burger has the densest, cheesiest center in town. The fries are good, but we like to mix things up by pairing a lucy with a side of tortilla chips and freshly-made salsa—in addition to burgers, Tex-Mex cuisine is a house specialty. On warm days, the restaurant’s glass garage doors open onto a sunny, low-key patio.
Uncle Franky’s might seem like the place to come for a Chicago-style dog, but this hot dog joint that tries to make a weiner joke wherever possible has also perfected the hometown burger. The tiny restaurant takes a maximalist approach to the juicy lucy, with a melted pepper jack cheese and onion center and a generous amount of toppings, including ketchup, mustard, pickles, and raw onions. Go classic with the accompaniments by ordering the onion rings and a chocolate malt.
Yes, this is a juicy lucy guide and most of the notable ones around town are made with beef. However, the all-vegan menu at Francis includes a great juicy lucy made with your choice of an Impossible or housemade black bean patty stuffed with vegan cheese and loaded with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, and their pub sauce on a plant-based brioche bun.
Grab a stool in the dark, moody bar (the stellar cocktail list was created in collaboration with a local distillery), or check out the adjacent kid-friendly dining room decorated with a mural of frolicking burgers. Be sure to order some francy sauce for fry-dipping: it’s a plant-based riff on thousand island dressing that we’re certain even non-vegans will prefer to the original.
This is not Gordon Ramsay’s venture into the Minneapolis burger scene. Rather, it’s a Downtown spot that’s all about giving the juicy lucy a spicy twist. Their Juicy Lucifer comes with a sweet and pleasantly spicy red pepper jelly, and if that’s not hot enough for you, try Lucifer’s Inferno, a burger stuffed with pepperjack cheese and habanero and fresno peppers.
The best time to come here is weekend brunch, since you can pair your burger with a build-your-own Bloody Mary. They have a 35-foot self-serve bar stocked with over 200 hot sauces, flavored rim salts, and an absurd amount of olive, meat, cheese, and pepper garnishes.
Venture beyond the bun at Wendy’s House of Soul, where the Mogul Burger checks all the boxes for a juicy lucy (even if it’s not labeled as such): perfectly cooked patties, a four-cheese filling, peppers, onions, and bacon. The whole thing is encased in a gluten-free egg roll wrapper and then deep-fried for a sandwich that’s as gloriously juicy and cheesy as it is unique. Note that Wendy’s House of Soul is tucked inside North Market, a non-profit grocery store and community hub.