Help Bar Abilene Build a Better Jucy Lucy

The General Manager of Bar Abilene in Uptown is listening to concerns about their Southwestern Lucy and wants to do something about it.

Over on Jucy Lucy Restaurants, John has put out a request for input on how to create the best Lucy in the market.

Wow! I am so thrilled to see all of the comments! Now, what I’m about to say is going to surprise you given the fact that I’m the GM. I took over in July and (unfortunately) my general exposure to the Juicy Lucy is limited–I didn’t know what the “rules” were. Even after 25 years in the business, this is my first experience with the Lucy. Who’s interested in helping me change ours to make it the BEST! Yes, I want your input!!! Email me directly at and let’s chat!

It’s great to hear that he’s interested in making the world a better place.

A Southwestern Lucy is a delicious concept. There is lots of potential there.

John, one tip is to keep on eye on The Heavy Table for an upcoming video (Monday, I believe) on how to build a Jucy Lucy .

New Site:

Kirk from AllFourSeasons emailed me earlier tonight asking if I knew of a site that lists all of the Jucy Lucy serving restaurants with reviews.

I said no, but figured I could whip one together.

So, I present to you

At this point, the highlight of the site is the map of all of the Jucy Lucy serving spots I’m aware of. Let me know if I’m missing any. Review wise, I’d like to point to reviews that exist on the web today, and provide a venue where people can share their experiences.

If you have a Jucy Lucy (or Juicy Lucy) experience you’d like to share, register with the site and I’ll promote you to author status so you can make your mark on this important topic.

Also, if you’d like your Jucy Lucy photos to appear on the site, just tag them with the term jucylucy on Flickr. It automatically pulls the 10 most recent public photos with that tag onto the site.

Buster’s on 28th Juicy Lucy Review

Following up on yesterday’s post about Buster’s on 28th’s mystery location, the new restaurant was found on 28th Ave S in South Minneapolis.

The local blogosphere was abuzz yesterday about the launch of Buster’s, so I had to get in on the action too. I found a Juicy Lucy on the menu on the website, so I knew what I was after.

And here’s what showed up:

Buster's On 28th Juicy Lucy

I consider myself to be a bit of a Juicy Lucy (and Jucy Lucy) aficionado, so I immediately recognized an obvious problem with this particular Lucy. In fact, it probably doesn’t take a trained eye to pick out the issue here: The cheese was on the outside of the burger. Some restaurants would refer to this as a cheeseburger.

Of course, it could be some form of double-cheese Lucy where there is cheese both outside and inside the burger, so I dug in:

Buster's On 28th Juicy Lucy

But could not locate tell-tale signs of a proper Lucy classification: burned tongue, molten lava-like oozing cheese, burning wrist and forearm from Lucy blow-out, etc.

Other than the fact that this wasn’t a Lucy, it was a delicious burger. They just need to find a new name for it on the menu.

Since Aaron beat me to the punch by posting last night about last night, I’m trying to one-up him with this little highlight reel:

As Aaron pointed out, Buster’s is a “sister” or the Happy Gnome in St. Paul, although I question whether the term “sister” is an appropriate gender for either establishment.

Max started a post regarding opening night restaurant blogging over on MNSpeak, which turned into a bit of a bitch-fest about how stupid amateur restaurant blogging is. Basically, if you’ve read this far, you’re stupid in the opinion of anonymous commenters. I hope that doesn’t ruin your day.

You’ll just have to a few more weeks for a professional review without photos, videos, comments, and links to other reviews.

33 1/3 Thoughts on My 33 1/3 Birthday

I turned 33 1/3 today, and decided it’s a good time to reflect back on the first
33 years and four months of my life and what I’ve learned. This was a quick
brainstorm, so I may have missed a few things.

1. There are a lot of idiots in the world, but the most dangerous idiots are the
ones who fake their competence. It’s much easier to work with people who know
their strengths and limitations.

2. While chicken wings go well with beer in the evening, they add up to few
hundred calories you don’t really need.

3. Home owners care more about their communities and neighbors than renters.

4. If given a choice, choose Laguardia when flying to NYC.

5. Try as many sports as you can when you’re young. They’re easier to pick up
and you’ll avoid looking like an idiot by running on a pop-fly later in life.

6. When cross country ski racing, hit the uphills hard, then find a pace where
you don’t go anaerobic for the remainder of the hill. When you crest the hill,
ramp up your speed.

7. If you’re not an uber-geek, seek out the advice of someone more technical
than yourself before buying electronics. You’ll be much more satisfied with your
purchase, maybe save a few bucks, and won’t be mocked when you have to call your
uber-geek friend for advice on how to fix the product you didn’t ask for advice
on before buying.

8. If you know more about the characters on your favorite TV show than you do
about your real-life friends, it’s time to kill your TV. If you have more TV
friends that real life friends, get help.

9. It’s great to workout with a different person each day of the week, but if
you’re drinking with a different person every day of the week, you have a
problem. If you’re drinking with the same person every day of the week, make
sure you’re working out together first.

10. Many big decisions are not as big as you may assume. Things like buying a
home or whether to take a new job are not lifetime decisions, so save some
stress by taking this into consideration.

11. Some of the most optimistic people you’ll ever see are at REI.

12. I have never, in my entire life, heard someone say, “I’ve been hanging out
with my friends too much lately.” but the opposite is often true.

13. Hitchhiking works.

14. Spend more money than you think you should on a camera, but less than you
want on a car.

15. If a restaurant puts their name on something on the menu, it’s probably the
correct order at that establishment.

16. Don’t give people unsolicited relationship advice unless you’re absolutely
sure it’s the right thing to so. Even then, don’t expect a good reaction.

17. Try to be the best at something. It makes for interesting stories and a good

18. Run on windy days and bike on calm days.

19. Learn how to use a search engine. It’s not about what you know, but what you
can find out in a few keystrokes that matters these days.

20. Order creme brulee at restaurants because it’s too much work to make at

21. Have your drink order figured out before the server arrives at your table for the first time. That’s what they’re there for.

22. The best Jucy Lucy hamburger is at The Nook in St. Paul across from Cretin
High School.

23. Your network administrator knows more about you that you really want to
know, but most of them are not abusing that information.

24. There is not a direct correlation between intelligence and income.

25. Don’t drink strong beers on hot days.

26. Don’t expect to see Mt. McKinley on a 1-day visit to Denali National Park.

27. Synthetic running clothes are worth the money.

28. Anyone can built a website these days, and most are total ghost towns.

29. Splitting entrees saves money and helps justify getting desert.

30. Get your own domain name so you have the flexibility to change Internet
service providers without changing email. Gmail is a close second based on this

31. Visiting countries recovering from wars is a good way to avoid tourists.

32. Minnesota sports fans are not as irrationally attached to their sports teams
at many Green Bay or Chicago fans, and that’s a good thing.

33. Golf has more players who are passionate about their sport – yet do nothing
to improve their game – than any other sport. Buying new equipment does not
quality as doing something to improve their game.

33 1/3. The SuperAmerica speedy reward card helps you earn points toward free
gas and hot dogs.

Wildfire Jucy Lucy Disappoints

Wildfire Jucy Lucy Disappoints, originally uploaded by edkohler.

I was surprised to find a Jucy Lucy on the specials menu at Wildfire today. Obviously, I had to try it.

It was hiding under the name “Stuffed Peppercorn White Cheddar Burger.”

My first realization that things weren’t going to go we’ll was when they asked how it should be cooked. Um, Jucy’s are either done or now done.

It had cooked onions, sesame seed bun, lettuce, and tomatoes.

The Lucy showed up ruptured, so they didn’t manage to deliver the goods. It was also slightly burnt.

Would I get it again? Nope. But I do have to give Wildfire credit for trying.

Jucy Lucy Q&A in Pioneer Press

Via MNSpeak, the Pioneer Press food critic, Kathie Jenkins, has a Q&A in today’s paper on Jucy Lucy’s (she spells it Juicy Lucy):

St. Paul Pioneer Press | 02/22/2007 | Ask the critic: What exactly is a Juicy Lucy?

Q. I recently moved here from Seattle, and people at work were talking about a Juicy Lucy. I didn’t want to show my ignorance, so I thought I’d write to you. What exactly is a Juicy Lucy?

A. You just didn’t know what you were missing in Seattle. A Juicy Lucy is a cheeseburger, but the cheese is inside the patty instead of on top.

Depending on who you believe, it was either invented at Matt’s Bar (3500 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis; 612-722-7072) or the nearby 5-8 Club (5800 Cedar Ave. Minneapolis; 612-823-5858), both dives located within a short distance of each other.

The Groveland Tap in St. Paul (1834 St. Clair Ave.; 651-699-5058) also makes a terrific Juicy Lucy. The best of all might be at Bennett’s Chop & Railhouse (1305 W. Seventh St., St. Paul; 651-228-1408).

No matter where you get one, go easy with the first bite — the molten cheese can gush out and burn your mouth.

I couldn’t call the Groveland Tap’s Lucy “terrific.” In fact, it’s my least favorite Lucy. #1 remains The Nook after a reconfirming it’s greatness on Tuesday night.

Jucy Lucy vs. Juicy Lucy

Before continuing my Jucy Lucy expose, I’d like to clear one thing up: The Jucy Lucy is spelled J-U-C-Y L-U-C-Y.

See an “I” there? I didn’t think so. However, there has been precedent set for including an “I” by Dara Moskowitz, who managed to misspell Jucy Lucy throughout a 1998 article on said burger in a 1998 CityPages article.

Jucy Lucy

For those of you who are entirely lost at this point, notice the cheese oozing from the MIDDLE of the above burger. THAT’S a Jucy Lucy. Cheese in the middle of the burger. Get it now? If not, move on.
Additionally, it’s worth noting that Wikipedia had a debate about whether the Jucy Lucy should be sub-categorized under Cheeseburger, but to date this has not happened. It’s kind of like the marsupial of cheeseburgers, where cheeseburgers formed their own species after the break-up of Pangaea.

Cajun Lucy (Jucy Lucy) – Groveland Tap – St. Paul, MN

Cajun Lucy (Jucy Lucy), originally uploaded by edkohler.

This is my first stop in what could turn into an epic trip around the Twin Cities in search of the best Jucy Lucy. For those who aren’t in the know, a Jucy Lucy is a cheeseburger where the cheese is on the INSIDE of the burger. That’s right. The inside.

You have to be careful about biting overly aggressively into a Jucy Lucy since the cheese can become as hot as the sun on the inside fo a burger. The best strategy is to take a small nip of the burger, blow on the magma before taking the next bite, and repeat.

This Jucy Lucy expose is off to a controversial start since my first stop was NOT at Matt’s Bar in Minneapolis or anywhere else in Minneapolis. Again, for those who aren’t in the know, Matt’s Bar proclaims to be the home of the Jucy Lucy. We’ll have to get to the bottom of that claim at a later date.

Now, about this particular Jucy Lucy: The Groveland tap offer a variation of the original Lucy. This particular model uses pepperjack cheese and jalapeno slices. Yes, I realize there isn’t a funny symbol over the ‘n’ in that last sentence, so you’ll have to figure out the appropriate pronunciation for that pepper on your own. The jalapeno (sp) slices seem to be of the jarred variety, so they have some kick, but not the kick of a vine ripened, sliced on spot, better be sure to wash your hands before using the bathroom variety. That’s a story for another day.

Here is the Tap’s take on their own Lucy:

The spicy twist on the original. We stuff this one with jalapeños and molten pepperjack cheese. Again we said molten… it’s still hot! Order a basket of fries or onion rings to eat while it cools.

Overall, I’d give this Lucy an 8. The bun is fresh, it holds together well, the meat isn’t over cooked, and the basket with fries is mighty tasty. The coleslaw can go wherever coleslaw goes after showing up in a basket like this.