The cheeseburger is about as American as it gets, whether you’re kickin back at a dive bar or eating at one of the fanciest places in town, you’re sure to find one on the menu. As we all know, Minneapolis is home to a unique brand of burger, the Jucy Lucy. While Marquee restaurants like Matt’s Bar and 5-8’s Club fight over inventors rights, one place in the Twin Cities has created an entirely new lane for the cheese-filled burgers. The Blue Door Pub has quickly risen the ranks to becoming the “go to” place to get “Minneapolis’ burger” or the popular blue-cheese filled Blucy, the good people at The Blue Door are taking things to the next level. The original St. Paul location is great (a tad small), but Minneapolis’ Longfellow location has them beat by a mile. The dining room is much larger resulting in shorter wait times and a more enjoyable atmosphere. Throw in $2 drafts from local brewers (Indeed, Summit) during happy hour (2PM-5PM) and a clear cut winner starts to emerge. The menu is chalk full of tasty Frankenstein like burgers, take the “Hawaiian” for example. This Jucy Lucy comes stuffed with pineapple, Canadian bacon and mozzarella cheese making for an extremely daunting sight when placed in front of you. Bacon Lucy? Sure, stuffed with cheddar and bacon it’s definitely a favorite among regulars. All in all, The Blue Door Pub is for the adventurous; Matt’s Bar retains it’s true spot as THE home of the Jucy Lucy, but The Blue Door Pub is for people who want to spice things up. If you’re ever in the Longfellow area, or if you some how manage to get a table in St. Paul; stop in and grab yourself one of the Cities’ best burgers.
The city of Chicago is well known for its hot dogs, polishes & pork chop sandwiches; but only few places cook ’em like the guys at Jim’s. Indeed there are various locations on just about every side of Chicago, but the original location near Maxwell Street is the truly great one. Open 24 hours, 365 days a year; the original Jim’s is a mecca for drunken bar goers of all ages, wasted college kids and pretty much anyone looking for good food at too cheap of a price (yes too cheap). That other place down the street (Maxwell’s) might have the best dogs on the block but Jims’ polishes & pork chops blow theirs out of the water. We’ve made many a drunken stops at Jim’s and I can’t remember an occasion when anyone was unsatisfied upon leaving, if you can’t find 1 thing on their menu that you like; you might not be human (or just vegetarian). If you’re ever near U.I.C’s campus or heading south on 94 from downtown, make the stop; it’ll be worth every penny.
Location: 1024 N Western Avenue, Chicago P: 773-451-5625 Hours: Mon-Fri: 11AM-2AM, Sat: 11AM-3AM, Sun: 11AM-Midnight
Best burgers in the city…hands down…the end…Seriously though, the burgers at this place could speak for themselves. Located on Western Ave in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood, Lockdown is far from your average bar. For starters they strictly play heavy metal and the theme is half jail cell half dungeon; their beer menu is chalk full of craft brews, and they have down right awesome food. Take “The Death Sentence” for instance, 20 oz of beef, double stacked with bacon and yellow cheddar; topped with carmalized onions on a pretzel roll. They offer a wide variety of cheeses as well including Brie, Chevre, Gorgonzola and Merkts Cheddar to name a few. Top 5 burger spots dead or alive, that means EVER in Chicago, if you don’t believe go check out Lockdown yourself.
This little establishment is a must stop for Chicago dog lovers and cheeseburger fiends. Uncle Franky’s, the original establishment, offers a legit Chicago style menu at a reasonable price. The food itself is absolutely on point. Whether it’s a Chicago dog, a Juicy Lucy, Italian Beef, Philly Cheese Steak, or some freshly cut fries; Uncle Franky’s does it right. The tiny building is located smack dab in the neighborhoods of NE, and can easily be missed. Next time you are cruising down Broadway, keep yours eyes peeled, you might want to make the stop.
The Dogwood Coffee Bar is one of the premier places to get a cup of joe. Freshly roasted beans and experienced baristas make for a great local brew. Located in the heart of uptown, Dogwood coffee can often times be overlooked by all the other shops. It doesn’t help that they put the coffee bar in the mall, which makes it rather hard to see from the outside. When it comes down to it, the Dogwood Coffee Company certainly knows their stuff. Each individual cup of coffee is brewed with care through a “manual” brewing process, where they use a Chemex coffee maker or a Clever Coffee Dripper. Dogwood coffee is freshly roasted in NE, Minneapolis, making for some of the best beans around. This is a highly recommended stop for coffee drinkers.
When people living in Minneapolis think of where to get a good cup of coffee in a comfortable setting, most would probably name one of the numerous shops in Uptown or the Northeast neighborhoods. Nestled in the Stevens Square neighborhood sits one of the city’s best kept secrets, the Boiler Room. Situated on 3rd Avenue near 19th street, the Boiler Room is slowly establishing itself as the areas “go to” coffee shop. Providing 3 house blends along with a plethora of other drinks including mochas, espressos and a variety of teas; I’ve found the Boiler Room to be much better than your average Starbucks or Caribou. They also serve up some awesome waffles, rice crispy treats, brownies, cookies and amazing muffins; the chocolate chip banana nut being a favorite. Free Wi-Fi (of course) and a homey atmosphere like your best friend’s basement will have you wondering where the last 4 hours went. If you’re ever near 3rd ave or the Stevens Square neighborhood make sure to stop in for a cup of Joe, you wont be disappointed.
Location: 6034 S Pulaski Rd, Chicago P: 773-582-4244 Hours: Sun-Thurs: 9AM-10PM, Fri-Sat: 8AM-10PM
Chicago literally has a thousand different taco stands and restaurants spread out across the city, from the North side to the South side you’d be hard pressed to go a couple miles with out seeing one. The fact that the taco scene is so saturated has taken a little away from the truly great taco joints that the city has to offer. We previously mentioned La Pasadita, but this time around we’re posting a southside restaurant; situated in Chicago’s West Lawn neighborhood, Paco’s Tacos is by far one of the CHIs top ten taco spots. The taco’s here are some of the largest that i’ve seen around the city, they literally stuff their steak tacos; usually leaving enough meet on your plate for another one. The only pitfall of this place is their operating hours, the West Lawn is far different (crime) than Wicker Park so it’s understandable; but it would still be nice to be able to stop in late. All in all, I think Paco’s easily stacks up to other, more well known places like La Pasadita, Taco Burrito King & Zaca’s; if you’re ever on the southwest side in need of grub look no further.
The Twin Cities’ BBQ scene has been lacking for quite some time, but things have began to change around the metro. One place that has been doing it’s thing for years is John Hardy’s down in Rochester. The small, shack style restaurant sits right off highway 52 for any wayward traveler looking to fill up while on the road. If you came here for decor and fine dining service, you came to the wrong place. Here you’ll lineup to order just like everyone else and you’ll receive the same awesomely prepared food, just like everyone else. The ribs are a crowd favorite, but the sampler is also worth tackling if you want variety. Dry rub guy/gal? Do you like a plethora of sauces? They’ve got you covered. If you happen to be in the Rochester make sure to stop by 1 of their 2 locations for some of the best BBQ in the state. Click the link below for more info.
Decent burger joints are not dime a dozen. Sure, you can grab any old burger just about anywhere, but a quality patty with quality ingredients surrounding it isn’t always the easiest find. Over the last few years, Red Cow restaurants have began to make their mark in neighborhoods across the Twin Cities, one visit and you’ll understand exactly why. At their downtown location, rustic meets trendy decor envelops the dining room, kind of awkward at first; but really easy to get passed, especially when the food arrives. The proscuitto topped Barcelona and the bacon filled 60/40 are my favorites, but the Ahi Tuna and Vegey burgers are great, healthier options. The restaurant walks a tight wire, the dining room is perfect for date night, while the not so far bar doubles as a solid back drop for a few early drinks with friends. I can only imagine this location becoming even more crowded as the North Loop and Saint Anthony Main neighborhoods continue into full scale gentrification, but you can bet they will ALL be fed well. Cost comes with quality and location, this is not your $5 corner burger joint, but I assure you that your $12 will not be spent in vain. Check one of their locations out for yourself, click the link below for more information.
Location: 2555 N Pulaski Rd, Chicago Hours: Mon-Sat: 7AM-5PM, Sun: 9AM-3PM
Chicago is one of those cities where you can literally eat just about any type of food under the sun. Whether it’s Swedish pastries in Andersonville (really, that’s the name), Ethiopian food in Roger’s Park or tacos in Little Village; it’s all there. One of my favorite spots in the entire city is also probably one of the smallest, in the summer the line really stretches down the block. El Cubanito cooks up Cuban style steak sandwiches that could easily stand up to the traditional Philly that’s often favored. If you’re simply looking for a snack, they also make a damn good empanada; all of which can easily be had for under $10. Cuban food is often slept on, but one stop here and that’ll all change. If you’re ever near Logan Square and need a bite to eat, check out El Cubanito; you wont regret it.