Every iconic food has an origin story—or two or three. For years, diehards have debated the origins of everything from the mai tai to the Coney-style hot dog. The Juicy Lucy (or is it Jucy Lucy?) is no exception. Two Minneapolis restaurants claim to have invented the city’s ubiquitous cheese-stuffed burger, but who’s telling the truth? On the same street in South Minneapolis, you’ll find both “original” iterations of the Juicy Lucy. But before we get into the specific of which is the real Juicy Lucy, let’s talk about what that might look like. One thing’s for sure: with the Juicy Lucy, however you spell it, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Inside this famous burger, you’ll find melted, molten american cheese—and lots of it. If you don’t want a burned mouth, it’s generally a good idea to give it a minute before biting in. When you do take that first glorious bite, the gooey cheese will rush out and everything in your life will start to make vivid sense. Now that you’re up to speed on the anatomy of a Juicy Lucy, it’s time to meet the contenders. Matt’s BarAt Matt’s, where it’s known as the Jucy Lucy, the legend begins sometime during the 1950s. According to lore, a customer walked in one day and requested a double cheeseburger—with one slight alteration. This wild and reckless man wanted his cheese in between the patties. The legend goes on to state that this rule-breaker then remarked, “That’s one juicy Lucy!” Thus, an iconic burger was born. Or was it?5-8 ClubThe folks at another Minneapolis institution would beg to differ. At the 5-8 Club, where the standard spelling is embraced, the staff will vehemently argue that their Juicy Lucy is the first and most faithful iteration of the famous cheeseburger. So are they right? Well, they sort of have time on their side, but the details are a bit murky. Opened in 1928, the 5-8 Club initially functioned as a speakeasy that served light fare. Sometime during the 1950s (sound familiar?), american cheese shimmied down off the patty and right into the midst of things, and the 5-8’s very own version of the Juicy Lucy was born. Since then, it’s been scarfed down by Adam Richman on Travel Channel’s Man v. Food and even made a bucket list of “50 Things to Do in the Twin Cities Before You Die.” In 2008, the cooks set the world record for creating the largest Juicy Lucy ever made—it comprised more than 80 pounds of beef and 30 pounds of american cheese. The Winner Is … We may never know who was responsible for the first Juicy Lucy, but the cheese-stuffed burger has since become a staple at some of the best restaurants in Minneapolis, and that’s certainly something we can get behind. At times like these, it’s best not to think of things in terms of who’s right and who’s wrong. When it comes to the Juicy Lucy, pretty much everyone wins. Photo: courtesy of the 5-8 Club's Facebook pageRead More
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At Two Pony Gardens near Minneapolis, pizza and summer are synonymous. The 40-acre property is known as a pizza farm—yes, a pizza farm—where the crops were planted to blossom one day into delectable pizza toppings. That means every year when the weather gets warm, the sprawling farm is ready to host a series of themed outdoor pizza nights where the guest of honor is what you’re eating. If you’re looking for warm-weather things to do in Minneapolis that are both fun and filling, you’re welcome. Here are six ways to make the most of a Two Pony Gardens pizza night. 1. Take a selfie with the outdoor pizza oven. Or at least take a picture of it without you—it’s that cool. The wood-burning creation is beautiful and rustic, made of bricks and stones with a chimney on top. More than anything, it looks like an analog version of Wall-E. Snap away. 2. Try both pizza styles.Every pizza night features two options: one is a classic margherita pizza with fresh mozzarella and the other is a seasonal creation topped with produce at its peak. That could mean anything from ramps to squash blossoms and other veggies you may not find at average pizza restaurants in Minneapolis. 3. Pet the dog (but don’t ask her to watch your dinner).The farm’s owner, Lisa Ringer, has a chocolate lab named Ethel who attends every pizza night. Sometimes just to nap but more often to snatch unattended slices. Adorable! And sneaky. Constant vigilance, people! 4. BYO sides and desserts. Your pizza is covered by a pizza-night ticket, but if you want your dinner to be a multi-course feast, bring your own appetizers, sides, and desserts and make a real picnic of it. Napkins, plastic cutlery, and other convenience items are on you to bring along. 5. Remember that pizza nights are about more than pizza. Each one has a theme, which often includes an interactive activity. Past hits have included baby farm animals (with petting) and a honeybee demonstration (where guests learned about beekeeping, an event that surely inspired one or two to enter the booming artisanal pollen business). 6. Take home your trash. The farm won’t handle your waste disposal, so bring a trash bag and take your garbage home with you. Consider it a party favor! (For super-good karma, don’t forget to separate out your recycling.) Photo courtesy of Two Pony Gardens' Facebook pageRead More
Is there any combination more beloved for a casual, Friday-night dinner than pizza and beer? Basic, yes. But boring? It doesn’t have to be. There’s no reason to settle for sad, greasy pies from a mega-sized chain and weak, flavorless beer. You can just as easily get slices of Saint Paul pizza that are lovingly handmade, covered in exciting toppings, or practically bursting with farm-fresh cheese. Washed down with a Twin Cities craft brew, and your dinner just went from ho-hum to heavenly. We’ve picked four of our favorite Saint Paul pizza joints and paired their fare with craft beer so you’ll know exactly what to pick up the next time hunger strikes. Cossetta Alimentari | Dangerous Man Brewing CompanyPizza: sausage and mushroomCraft brew: bière de gardeOpen since 1911, Cossetta Alimentari has had over 100 years to perfect its pizza-making legacy. All of its ingredients are carefully selected, from the hand-kneaded dough to the cheese sourced from an independent maker. But it’s the housemade italian sausage that really stands out, which is why we recommend Dangerous Man’s bière de garde to go with it. The French-style beer is dry enough to cut through the tasty grease of the sausage, and its earthiness will make the mushrooms’ flavors pop.Red’s Savoy Pizza | Summit Brewing CompanyPizza: bacon cheeseburgerCraft brew: extra pale aleWhat do you get when you strip away the bells and whistles? Classic, Minnesota-style pie. Grab a square (yes, a square, not a triangular slice) of cheesy goodness, and the Land of 10,000 Lakes will have you hankering for 10,000 pizzas, especially if you stop at local favorite Red’s Savoy. Called “the best square-cut pizza on earth” by Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, its bacon-cheeseburger pizza is a standout on the menu, thanks to a flavorful mix of pickles, onions, cheddar, and ground beef. The hoppy bite of Summit’s extra pale ale accentuates the cheddar’s tanginess while cutting through the richness of the meat.Punch Pizza | 612 BrewPizza: NapoliCraft brew: Mary Ann lagerPunch Pizza isn’t messing around when it comes to making authentic Neapolitan pizzas. The pizzeria knows the perfect pie only needs three things: fresh mozzarella, crushed tomatoes, and a chewy, blackened, and blistered crust. That’s why we recommend ordering like a purist and getting the Napoli. In addition to mozzarella and crushed tomatoes, the pie is topped with oregano. Wash it down with a glass of Mary Ann, a light lager from 612 Brew that gives the classic a little extra kick (kinda like the Napoli’s oregano) with ginger.The Italian Pie Shoppe | Boom Island Brewing CompanyPizza: stuffed pizzaCraft brew: Silvius BPASometimes a slice of pizza will do, and sometimes you need something with some heft. That’s where The Italian Pie Shoppe’s stuffed pizza comes in. This monster of a pizza goes above and beyond your standard and deep-dish pies, piling loads of cheese and toppings onto a huge crust before adding another layer of dough that’s topped with spicy red sauce. And although Boom Island recommends pairing its Silvius belgian pale ale with Thanksgiving dinner, we think its light hops and delicate spices match this feast of a pizza just as well.Photo: Newnham Park Pizza & Beer Event by Locus Research under CC BY 2.0Read More
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