Matt’s Bar is an unpretentious hole in the wall in Minneapolis that needs no introduction to locals who are seeking their famous “Jucy Lucy.” Having grown up just outside Minneapolis, I’m no stranger when it comes to Jucy Lucy’s, but for anyone who isn’t aware of what this iconic take on a hamburger is all about, you’ll want to stay to the end as I document my experience in a recent visit in July 2023.
Matt’s Bar & Grill in Minneapolis
Table of Contents
This Minneapolis landmark was established in 1954 and became a popular local burger joint in the neighborhood of South Minneapolis. Founded by Matt Bristol, the story goes that a regular customer made a request for two hamburger patties separated by a slice of cheese.
When the customer bit into the steaming hot burger, he said “that’s one juicy Lucy,” and the name stuck. The popularity of this new creation grew instantly and Bristol says “we forgot to add the ‘i'” and the spelling “Jucy Lucy” was on it’s way to becoming a norm in society.
If you are ordering a Jucy Lucy and it’s not spelled like that, you aren’t getting an authentic burger, it’s just that simple!
The Jucy Lucy is now made with cheese inside the patties, and people come from all over the U.S. to come to Matt’s Bar and try one for themselves. I had my first bite of a Jucy Lucy over 30 years ago, and I make it a point to visit Matt’s in Minneapolis every time I visit family back home. There is absolutely nothing like it.
Matt’s Bar Menu
You’ll be amazed at how simple this establishment is. There is a menu on the wall that has everything they sell to eat. For beverages, they have all the soda soft drinks you can expect, as well as Minnesota’s water of choice – BEER, and now to keep up with the trends, they even have White Claw Seltzer.
As you can see, the Jucy Lucy costs $9.50 while the rest of the menu has much lower prices. Also note that in Minnesota, we say “pop” instead of “cola” or “soda.” It’s a Midwest thing!
Matt’s Bar Minneapolis Awards
There is no shortage of Awards that Matt’s Bar and Grill has won. It’s been featured in media such as “Hamburger’s Across America to the New York Times.”
If you watch the travel channel like I do, you’ve maybe seen Matt’s Bar on Man Vs. Food as well as “Food Wars.” The bar won the award of the most tasty “Jucy Lucy” in Minneapolis, not that us Minnesotan’s needed any assurance of that award. Everyone knows that Matt’s was the first to do it, and remains the best to do it. More on that later in this Matt’s bar review.
Filled with molten hot cheese that you’ll only find at Matt’s Bar, you will understand why every other version of this burger is simply imitating the local king.
Matt’s Bar Diners Drive In’s and Dives
The iconic Matt’s Bar Menu – or should I say – what it’s known for – was featured on Food Networks’s popular show “Diners Drive In’s and Dives in March of 2009. Yes, this place has history and goes back to 1954. When you walk in, you’ll see that they keep it very classic with the decor and probably haven’t changed much since they opened their doors, and I hope they keep it that way.
Matt’s Bar Jucy Lucy Recipe
You don’t need a lot to try to emulate this burger. It’s literally cheese filled in the middle of a burger patty, however, nobody knows exactly where they get their cheese from, or how they make it come out so perfect. I’ve tried to emulate these burgers at home, and have come up empty.
I’ve also tried the other versions of the “Juicy Lucy” in town, and I’ve always found Matt’s to be the best. I’ve tried various pop-up versions that have come through restaurants in the Twin Cities and they always let down. The Nook in St. Paul claims to be one of the originals, but I had that last Summer and it’s not even close.
For many years the only other valid argument for having been in the Juicy Lucy game has been from local Minneapolis restaurant the 5-8 Club. I haven’t dined there in many moons but will have a subsequent update on their take on the Juicy Lucy.
Matt’s Bar vs. 5-8 Club
Again, this rivalry, if you want to call it one, goes back many years. Serious Eats has a great piece on deciding the winner for best tasting Jucy Lucy in town, and while the lead-up on the story leads you to believe the 5-8 was the desired winner, Matt’s ends up winning and “it wasn’t even close.”
Other Favorite’s of Mine in the Twin Cities:
Matt’s Bar Minneapolis Address
3500 Cedar Ave S.
Minneapolis, MN 55407
612.722.7072 or 612.729.9936
Locals will tell you “35th and Cedar Avenue.”
This is located just blocks from 38th and Chicago, where the unfortunate incident led to the death of George Floyd.
That’s my Matt’s Bar Minneapolis review. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I loved dining there and eventually coming back to my computer to tell you all about it. I can’t recommend this dive bar enough!