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Tim’s Jucy Lucy Tour! Stop One: Matt’s Bar

March 9, 2009

Taken with my iPhone (hence the low resolution) and edited with Picasa.

I am a man on a mission. I am going to traverse the Twin Cities on a Jucy Lucy tour. I’m not looking to find the best one; other bloggers have already been there and done that. I just want to take part in something unique to the Twin Cities area. Lucies are our Philly cheesesteak, our Chicago style hot dog, our Cincinatti chili, our Brooklyn style folded pizza slices. For those of you that don’t know, a (traditional) Jucy Lucy is a burger that has American cheese cooked into the middle. However, one of the cool things about it is that, unlike those other local food traditions, the Twin Cities foster a spirit of experimentation with the Lucy. Different places offer very different takes, and that’s what I’m going to explore. So I’m not going to declare a victor out of the fray because a simple Lucy with fried onions served on a paper wrapper at Matt’s Bar is going to be very different than the Cajun Lucy with its jalepenos and pepperjack cheese over at The Groveland Tap.

A Jucy Lucy at Matt's Bar

A Jucy Lucy at Matt's Bar

It was with that spirit of tradition and reverence that I made Matt’s Bar on 35th and Cedar the first stop on my tour. For those who don’t know Matt’s is one of the two bars to claim the Lucy as their invention, the other being The 5-8 Club which is a bit further south. I have no idea on who really invented the thing but I do like that there’s a disagreement, the feud only adds to the mythology. The 5-8 spells it the “Juicy Lucy” which prompted the slogan from Matt’s “If it’s spelled correctly, you’re in the wrong place!” While these two places are the only establishments to claim invention of the Lucy, they certainly aren’t the only ones claiming to have the best Jucy Lucy in town.

I like to think of Matt’s as the inventor of the Lucy because they have legit cred as a dive bar. The place is a dingy corner bar in a blue collar part of town, but it isn’t too full of hipsters enjoying it ironically. It really isn’t full of any one type of person, because of its status as a local legend it draws in everybody. You could even bring your kids there thanks to the smoking ban (aside: though opposed to the idea of smoking bans there are some places I like visiting much more because of them and Matt’s is probably the best example). They have about four things on the menu, burgers, cheeseburgers, Lucies, and a chicken sandwich that I suspect doesn’t actually exist and is only on the menu as a joke. You can also get a basket of generic frozen bar fries.

Kelly and I went there, got a booth with no wait (at about 4:00pm on a Sunday) although the place was pretty packed. The service was good, although our waitress seemed a bit hurried. I got a nice tall beer and Kelly had a Corona and was distressed to find out they didn’t have any limes. Even though the place was busy the wait for the food wasn’t bad at all. At Matt’s they only serve the traditional Lucy, it comes with a couple pickle slices, and you decide if you want raw, fried, or no onions. I went with fried onions and peeled my pickles off. Kelly went no onions but kept her pickles.

Kelly eating her Jucy Lucy

Kelly eating her Jucy Lucy

The burger was good. The cheese is extremely hot when it comes off the grill so you have to wait before chowing down or your chin and fingers will pay the price. You need to wait the right amount of time to make sure the cheese is still molten and hot, but not too hot, and this is tricky business. Kelly bravely bit into hers before I was ready and reported hers wasn’t too hot. I took followed her lead and bit mine. It was perfect. If the cheese got to my fingers, which it did a couple times, it was very hot, but it wasn’t too hot to eat. The fries were pretty subpar, they’re obviously just an afterthought.

Matt’s is about atmosphere and tradition, the Lucy here is great as greasy bar food, which is what it was invented as. However, it probably isn’t the best tasting Lucy in town. What you’re getting here is really a package experience, and as that a Jucy Lucy at Matt’s Bar is a Minneapolis staple.

Matt’s Bar’s Awesomely Basic Website

Next Time: The 5-8 Club

5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 10, 2009 2:22 pm

    Huh, I’ve tried nearly every juicy lucy in town and I’d say Matt’s is definitely one of the best. Also wouldn’t say the fries are mediocre.

  2. Brendon permalink
    April 7, 2009 11:01 pm

    I saw a bumper sticker for Matt’s today! The car had Wisconsin plates! I’m glad you wrote this so I knew what Matt’s was!

  3. Stephanie permalink
    July 23, 2009 12:48 am

    Matt’s is my favorite place in the area, not only for the burger but for the atomosphere. It’s where I get my best writing done, where I find inspirations for characters and story lines. The Jucy is divine! I tried the 5*8 Club one night when Matt’s was packed, only to find it to be over-priced and rather gross. I’m a Matt’s fan for life!


  1. Jucy Lucy Restaurants » Blog Archive » The Jucy Lucy = Our Philly Cheesesteak
  2. Tim’s Jucy Lucy Tour! Stop Two: The 5-8 Club « CHAMPION OF THE SUN

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