Sunday, January 24, 2010

Matt's Bar

I had thought I would not be blogging again until tomorrow, but here I am because I wanted to share my lunch experience at Matt's Bar located here in Minneapolis. This is the first burger joint from the book Hamburger America that I have visited as part of this grand travel adventure. I was curious about it because it makes a burger called a Jucy Lucy. Matt's has been making this burger since the 50's. What is distinctive about it is that they take 2 thin burger patties and place a hunk of cheese in the middle creating a formed 6 inch wide double patty with thin edges and a big hump in the middle.

The burger is cooked on a griddle that is at most 2' X 4', and resides at the end of the bar counter just as you come in the door. I was able to sit right next to the burger man and well "grill" him on the burgers. The burgers are made to order and, surprisingly to me, cook on the griddle for about 15 minutes, creating a cripy exterior, but in the center where the cheese hunk has melted the meat is still pinkish. You can get your burger with extra cheese on top but the griddle man suggested that might be overkill. It comes on your basic hamburger bun, untoasted, and you can have pickles and either grilled onions or raw onions. The grilled onions are rehydrated onions that are then cooked on the griddle. I noticed that he would occasionally place a finished burger on top of the onion pile to let some of the meat juices to drip down into the onions.

The grill guy told me that Matt started using rehydrated onions near the beginning because he just was not going to cut up that many onions everyday. On a good day Matt's will cook up 600 to 700 burgers almost all of which are Jucy Lucys. At one point there were easily over 20 burgers on the griddle. Right next to the griddle is a 2 basket fryer that keeps going pretty much full time. In the 30+ minutes I sat enjoying the cooking operation and of course eating a Jucy Lucy, I saw only one piece of chicken breast cooked up for a non burger fan, and only 2 regular burgers.

The finished burger comes to you wrapped in a piece of paper. It is suggested that you give your burger 3-4 minutes to cool off a bit so that the melted cheese does not burn your mouth or squirt onto you shirt. I also observed that once the griddle man turns the burger for the 1st time, he sticks a knife into the center to reduce the possibility of a cheese explosion happening. The fries are nice thin ones poured into the fryer out of an unlabeled brown bag removed from the freezer next to the refrigerator that holds the preformed burgers.

So by now you are wondering was the visit an eating success. I would heartily recommend that any hamburger lover who happens to be in Minneapolis should drop by Matt's for a Jucy Lucy. I was there about 12:30 today and all the booths and tables were already full even though the bar only had been open 30 minutes. I saw lots of smiling faces. As I was about to leave, a woman asked me about my travels, and then apologized for butting into my conversation with the burger man. I told her that was no problem--that Minnesotans were just curious and very nice people. As I drove home I had a smile on my face also. Tomorrow Arizona, stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. HHMMMM! That Jucy Lucy sounds mighty fine, I know you're a happy man if you've got a good burger in your belly! Sorry you missed your great grey but those Northern Hawk Owls sure did cooperate. Enjoy some warm in Arizona.