You already know about the best burgers in Minneapolis, about MSP's most underrated burgers, and Minneapolis' best cheese-stuffed numbers, but did you know there are parts of the state outside the Twin Cities? And that there're burgers there?! We didn't either, but guess what we did as soon as we found out: we ranked the 12 best burger spots in the entire state...
If meat, cheese, and more meat on a beautifully toasted, buttery bun sounds bad to you, then we’re sorry and we don’t know how to help you (just kidding vegetarians, we love you too!). But seriously, the little meat bomb here comes topped with braised short ribs and according to the rules, if you put braised short ribs on top of something, you win. At least that’s how we play.
Their signature Swanee burger is a loosely packed meat-puck that comes out juicy and decedent, plus it's topped with fried onions, a slice of melty American cheese, and a few strips of bacon. Oddly enough, it also comes with a side of blue cheese dressing that we initially thought about leaving untouched, but soon found the tangy addition was kind of an out-of-left-field surprise that makes this a burger worth the drive.
We all love the Juicy Nookie, but it’s bigger, badder cousin, the Nookie Supreme, is no joke either. No, it’s not stuffed full of molten cheese, but this good ol’ double-stacked cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, grilled onions, and special sauce is delicious and huge to the point where if you eat two of them (and the fries), you get a free T-shirt.
This is another one of those small, unassuming places out (seemingly) in the middle of nowhere. The big surprise comes when you open your menu and realize that there're currently more than 50 different varieties of burgers. We’re not really sure how you’re supposed to begin narrowing it down, but we suggest going for one with a baseball-themed name. What’s that you say? They all have baseball themed names? Well then we guess you just can’t really go wrong then can you?!
We know they make good beer, but they also sling some sweet burgers, like the BH Cowboy Burger w/ a grass-fed beef patty topped with cheddar cheese, bacon, onion straws, and cowboy sauce, which we promise, is way better than it sounds.
It may be newish to the Twin Cities' burger scene, but that hasn't stopped it from turning out so many quality burgers, along with weekly and daily specials, that it’s hard to choose. Pictured above was a special burger made with locally produced blue cheese and an apricot jam, but you also might want to check out the Ultimate burger.
You may have read a little something about “lose-meat” sandwiches in our round-up of the 21 best Midwestern foods, and while we’re not really sure if this constitutes a proper "burger", it’s close enough to mention here because people go bonkers for this thing, and if you give it a try, you’ll quickly understand why.
A list of best burgers just wouldn’t be complete without the addition of Matt’s Jucy Lucy. The thing that most people don’t understand or tend to push off about this burger is its sheer simplicity. It’s a perfectly crusted, caramelized burger filled with melty cheese on a cheap, soft bun with grilled onions. In theory, it sounds like the kind of thing that you could get anywhere, but realistically, you can’t. That’s what makes this so incredibly special. Hell, even the President has eaten there.
This burger is perfect for many of the same reasons the Jucy Lucy at Matt’s is perfect. It’s a simple cheese burger; that’s it. The difference is that the Parlour burger, as simple as it seems, is actually a little bit more posh than it leads on due to the fact that it has three different cuts of higher quality meat.
This burger might seem overly fancy with its grass-fed beef, roasted garlic aioli, shallot confit, and Emmental cheese, but deep down, it’s just a it’s just a rich, decedent, and perfectly cooked burger. Pro-tip: don’t pass on getting the side of Béarnaise for your fries as you’ll deeply regret it later.
At this point everybody’s stuffing cheese into burgers, and we’re fine with that, but it takes some gumption to stuff a burger with braised short ribs. Of course Vincent’s been doing this for a long time, but it never really seems to get old and is a pretty consistent favorite of those in the know.
Seriously, this burger reigns supreme, and we all know it. It comes perfectly cooked, topped with every single thing you could ever really want on a burger, and is served on a super-buttery, toasted bun. This is one burger that just doesn’t screw around, and neither should you.
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1. The Happy Gnome498 Selby Ave, St. Paul
2. The Nook492 S Hamline Ave, St. Paul
3. Matt's Bar3500 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis
4. Borough and Parlour730 Washington Ave N, Minneapolis
5. Meritage410 Saint Peter St, St. Paul
6. Vincent: A Restaurant1100 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis
7. HauteDish119 Washington Ave N, Minneapolis
Despite the diminutive name, you’ll want to arrive at this St. Paul bar with a giant-sized appetite, because not only is the 70-strong draft list deep on Midwest favorites and reliably on-point, but the juicy burgers are also a must-try. Better yet -- have that burger and beer on the patio when the Minnesota weather permits, because let’s be honest, there’s no better state to be in between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
With possibly the best Juicy Lucy in all of the Twin Cities, St. Paul's The Nook is a cozy Irish bar featuring drink specials every night of the week.
Matt's is your classic small town dive bar serving up a killer version of Minneapolis's famed Juicy Lucy. This spot actually claims to have invented the knockout burger. Take a very careful first bite and let all of the molten cheese speak for itself. After, grab a PBR or a pint of Premium to help relieve you from your imminent cheese burns.
This dual-level North Loop establishment offers fine dining upstairs and a warm and comfortable lounge downstairs, providing you with a meal and a hangout all at one locale.
With tiled floors, warm wooden accents, and high ceilings that capture tons of natural light, Meritage has all the trimmings of a classic Parisian brasserie, including the exceptional fare and expert wine list. Situated in Downtown St Paul, it's a prime spot for date night or dinner before a show, though stopping in for weekend brunch is highly encouraged too, when dishes like an omelet du jour, eggs Benedict, and eggs en cocotte are prepared. At lunch and dinner, you'll find traditional plates like steak frites, roasted duck breast, and swordfish au vin, plus plenty of fresh selections from the oyster bar.
Vincent's got French cuisine influenced by a contemporary American style, but all you really need to know is that they have one of the best damn burgers in the Twin Cities.
The revered HauteDish, between the Warehouse and Gateway districts, rocks a menu with artfully presented, reinvented takes on Midwestern classics like mac & cheese with king crab and truffle oil, blackened fish tacos, and steak & potatoes. Perfect for empty stomachs at any hour, Haute offers choices for breakfast (go for the chicken & waffles), lunch, and dinner, but if you go in later hours, you'll be able to choose from a long list of house-made cocktails and dozens of draft beers from nearby breweries, too.