If you went to Minnesota and didn’t have a Juicy Lucy (aka Jucy Lucy) then somebody failed to give you the complete tour. The Juicy Lucy is the only way to eat hamburgers in St. Paul – sorry, McDonald’s just doesn’t cut it when it comes to Minnesota burgers.
The famous Juicy Lucy is a burger delight made by carefully cutting up a slice of American cheese into four pieces, stacking them on top of each other and then placing them on a hamburger patty. You then place another patty on top, crimp the edges so the cheese doesn’t escape while cooking and then grill the whole thing into a great burger.
O.K, I hear you shouting about the American cheese. You’re free to use any kind you want, but just be sure it’s something that will melt well. Pepper Jack would probably be my favorite, but a nice mild cheddar works well, too. Or, maybe mozzarella. I like to use Swiss cheese on some dishes, but you might do well to soften it briefly in the microwave before burying it in the burger.
Check out this link for some varying opinions about the Juicy Lucy. And, feel free to add your own comments right here at the end of this article. You’ll see a number of suggestions if you scan the internet, but I’ll give you a first hand opinion right here. There’s an interesting little place at 492 South Hamline Avenue in St. Paul that I think you’ll really enjoy, not only for the Juicy Lucy but for a hidden little secret that you’ll discover downstairs. But first the Juicy Lucy. I watched the cook prepare one and it really is pretty easy. Just follow the instructions above, toss it on the grill and then enjoy the burst of flavor when you sink your teeth in this delectable delight. Casper & Runyon’s Nook serves their version - the Juicy Nookie - on a fresh bakery bun and makes it with real cheese and a high quality beef.
Oh, the secret? Well, it turns out that downstairs at the Nook you’ll find an ancient bowling alley, complete with a half-dozen or so lanes, some antiquated pin-setters, pins that look like they’ve had a good bit of pounding (a lot of the wear is probably from the machines) and a good variety of banged up bowling balls. Plus rental shoes, so you can have an impromptu game before or after enjoying your Juicy Lucy. I can’t speak for all the lanes, but I think at least one of them is at least slightly off- level. But, who cares? You won’t be doing any league bowling here and part of the fun is figuring out where you need to roll the ball to keep it on the lane till it hits the pins. Besides, gutter balls are fun – at least for the observers.
Whether you’re in town for the Winter Carnival, Crashed Ice (watch the video) and/or the Beer Dabbler be sure to make at least one of your meals the Minnesota favorite Juicy Lucy. And, if you’re staying for a few days, check into the St. Paul Hotel and be in the center of the action.