Minnesota's Most Iconic Dish Will Melt in Your Mouth

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The Nook, St. Paul / Courtesy Visit Saint Paul
Food & Drink // Article

Minnesota's Most Iconic Dish Will Melt in Your Mouth

By Erica Wacker

When you come to Minnesota, what’s the one food you have to try? While some will argue it’s walleye (the state fish), lefse or lutefisk (two Scandinavian staples), anything on-a-stick (ubiquitous at the Minnesota State Fair), or tater tot hot dish (just ask Jimmy Fallon), the one that gets the most acclaim is the Juicy Lucy.

History of the Juicy Lucy

The premise of a Juicy Lucy is pretty simple: Take a cheeseburger, but instead of putting the cheese on top, stuff it inside the patty. The result? A delicious cascade of molten cheese at first bite that can be downright dangerous if you’re not expecting it. (Many come with a warning right on the menu!)

As for who's credited for creating the Juicy Lucy, that's a bit more complicated. Two bars — which, incidentally, are on the same Minneapolis street — claim to have invented it in the 1950s. Matt’s Bar, which spells it “Jucy,” and the 5-8 Club famously battle over who served it first, and who serves it best. Every local has their opinion, and there's no convincing them to switch sides. 

Since then, several other restaurants in the Twin Cities and beyond have created their own versions, ranging from the classic American cheese-stuffed variety to Lucys stuffed with blue cheese or pepper jack or mac ’n cheese, and topped with everything from bacon to onion rings to pulled pork. As long as there is cheese in the middle, it's a Lucy — and it's delicious. 

Customers outside Matt's Bar in Minneapolis

Matt's Bar is one of two Minneapolis restaurants that claims to have invented the Jucy Lucy / @shawneehuie

Where to Get One

Ready to give the Juicy Lucy a try? These Minnesota bars and restaurants, and likely many others, will be happy to oblige:

Twin Cities

Greater Minnesota

Erica Wacker

Erica Wacker is a Midwesterner through and through, growing up in Illinois, going to college in Wisconsin, and settling down in Minnesota. She loves to run, travel with her family, and go to concerts to relive her youth.