Tag Archives: jucylucy

The Nook (St Paul, Minnesota)

Last week’s schedule had me flying to the Twin Cities to give a guest lecture at the University of Minnesota (anyone want a lecture on radioisotope power supplies for space exploration?), and my flight arrived at lunchtime, so I decided to check out one of the area’s better-regarded Jucy Lucy joints; the Nook. First of all, some background for those not familiar, a “Jucy Lucy” is a hamburger with a layer of cheese crimped between two patties. Done right, it’s a nice combination of cheese, crispiness, and juice, albeit with more than a bit of a hazard of hot cheese burns on one’s lips. As you can read over on my review of another Twin Cities stalwart, Matt’s Bar, there’s always the perennial question of who makes the best Jucy Lucy in the Twin Cities. When I lived in the Twin Cities, there were always two places that claimed supremacy and had their followers, the abovementioned Matt’s Bar, and the 5-8 Club located a few miles south on Cedar Ave. But since I left the cities in 2001, the Jucy Lucy phenomenon has spread greatly, with over a dozen places selling them (and the trend is even national, I noticed a “Juicy Lucy” is on the menu at Richard Blais’ place now). The Nook is a relative newcomer to the Jucy Lucy scene in the Twin Cities, opening in 2000, but in the last few years, their Nookie Burger (their variant of the venerable Jucy Lucy) is now frequently mentioned in Jucy Lucy supremacy discussions, so I figured it was worth dropping by.

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Matt’s Bar (Minneapolis, MN)

Many areas have a particular food item that is well known locally, be it Philly’s cheesesteaks, St Louis’ toasted raviolis, or the Upper Peninsula’s pasties. One of the local equivalents for the Twin Cities is the Jucy Lucy (and how to spell that is an issue it’s own). Basically, a Jucy Lucy is a cheeseburger with the cheese stuffed inside the meat patty rather than on top, with two patties of meat crimped around a molten core of cheese. While having some cooking challenges (like getting thoroughly good melting of the cheese and cooking of the interior of the burger without completely killing the meat), it’s a combination I rather like. It, however, also has some consumption issues: aside from the obviously unhealthy nature, the Jucy Lucy is also well-known for burning peoples’ lips and chins on the hot liquid cheese as it bursts out of a burger, so warning about the cheese are common at Jucy Lucy joints…

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