Burger from Saint Dinette

10 best burgers

Minnesotans are big on burgers. You’ll find everything from chef-driven versions to variations on the famous Juicy Lucy.

112 Eatery

112 N. 3rd St., Mpls.
112 Eatery burger Bre McGee

James Beard award-winning chef Isaac Becker uses bifteck haché, the classic French chopped beef sandwich, as a jumping-off point for a burger that “seems really simple, but there’s more to it than meets the eye,” he said. For the patty, lean, grass-fed beef is blended with butter, egg, sautéed onions, thyme and plenty of salt. After it’s cooked, the patty is sumptuously buried under pieces of ultra-creamy Brie de Meaux and served in a grilled-in-butter English muffin. Crunchy bread-and-butter pickles serve as a palate-cleansing finishing touch. Fries — a kitchen specialty — are an additional $8.

(612) 343-7696

Barnes & Noble Kitchen

3230 Galleria, Edina
Barnes and Noble burger Leila Navidi

An epic burger, at a bookstore? Believe it. This test case of B&N’s new restaurant concept is wowing shoppers with modern, carefully crafted fare, including a gotta-try burger. The weighty, deeply flavorful patty is brisket-fortified chuck, and the salty, loosely packed meat is cooked just until the center goes from crimson to deep pink. Condiments include tender butter lettuce, an impressive swipe of Dijonnaise, crunchy raw red onions, a layer of vinegary pickles and a sharp Cheddar. Three cheers for the toasty brioche bun. It’s served with addictive fried potatoes.

(952) 929-4366

Birch's Lowertown

289 E. 5th St., St. Paul
Birch's Lowertown burger Rick Nelson

This Saintly City branch of a Long Lake brewery is located in Lowertown’s Market House Collaborative, a kind of mini food hall that genuinely practices the “Collaborative” portion of its name. Shane Oporto, chef of anchor tenant Octo Fishbar, created the Birch’s Lowertown menu and produces it in the Octo kitchen. The milk-enriched bun is baked on the premises at the Salty Tart, and the burger’s beef, sourced from a single (as in “one,” and not “unmarried”) comes from the collective’s Peterson Craftsman Meats counter. “What I’m noticing from butchering over here at the butcher shop is that I’m able to grab short rib, rib eye, chuck, all the lead pieces from the round,” said Oporto. “That’s why the flavor is so good.”


Birchwood Cafe

3311 E. 25th St., Mpls.
Birchwood Cage burger Tom Wallace

Turkey burgers are often dry, listless affairs. Not at this locavore landmark, which jazzes Minnesota-raised ground turkey with feisty chiles and forms it into a hefty, surprisingly juicy patty. Standard garnishes include housemade ketchup and mustard and crunchy made-on-the-premises pickles, or opt for chef Marshall Paulsen’s seasonal picks (perhaps it’s pickled red onions, a thick slab of Fontina cheese, a punchy chile-infused mustard or a thyme aioli), an additional $1. Toss in a fried egg (highly recommended) for another $2. The house-baked buns — there’s a gluten-free option — are superb. Add fries for $2.50.

(612) 722-4474

Blue Door Pub

1811 Selby Av., St. Paul
Blue Door burger Rick Nelson

The iconic cheese-stuffed burger known as the Juicy Lucy (or, Jucy Lucy) originated at either Matt’s Bar or the 5-8 Club, depending upon which version of history is to be believed (see page 14). This mini-chain improves upon the format, switches up the name (“Juicy Blucy”) and creates all kinds of variations; how about turning to Cheddar and smoky bacon bits for the filling, then adding thick-cut bacon on top? Still, the “classic” Blucy — a patty filled with white American cheese — is a perfect gateway to this Minnesota delicacy. Add fries or Tater Tots for $3.

(651) 493-1865


730 Washington Av. N., Mpls.
Parlour burger Rick Nelson

It’s the burger that launched the modern two-patty era in the Twin Cities, and it still rates as a Best in Show example. The beef is a notably decadent blend of chuck, ribeye and brisket, formed into thin, irregular patties. Here’s the genius move: Two patties create a double-the-fun flavor booster, since twice the amount of sizzling beefy surface gets caramelized and charred by the stove’s heat. The soft, egg-enriched bun is a beauty, and garnishes are kept to a well-edited minimum: perky pickle chips and a prodigious amount of white American cheese. Add fries for $6.

(612) 354-3135


1115 2nd Av. S., Mpls.
Constantine burger Tom Wallace

For the burger he serves in his basement-level cocktail lounge, Monello chef Mike DeCamp pays a McTribute to an earlier employer, McDonald’s, where he acquired a lasting affection for basic-as-can-be burgers. His version mixes chuck and brisket with scandalous amounts of butter. The patties are cooked in more butter, and the soft buns are toasted in even more butter. Condiments include a slice of white American cheese and straight-up white onions. The overused “Melt in your mouth” truly applies to this burger, and how (a $13 double-patty version is available at lunch at Monello). No fries.

(612) 886-1297

Nolo’s Kitchen & Bar

511 Washington Av. N., Mpls.
Burger from Saint Dinette Rick Nelson

When chef Peter Hoff was cooking in California, he became a card-carrying member of In-N-Out Burger nation. The diner-style, double-patty format he’s using for the cheeseburger at this North Loop hot spot — to the tune of several hundred a week — is an affectionate homage to that venerated chain. Two items of note: The rich, flavorful beef hails from Peterson Craftsman Meats, a premium local supplier, and the golden, challah-style bun is baked at local favorite Turtle Bread Co. “The In-N-Out Double-Double is the best burger there is,” said Hoff. “I’ll just blatantly call myself a ripoff artist.” Served with fries.

(612) 800-6033


4257 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls.
Revival burger Bre McGee

“We’re kind of losing touch with great American food,” said chef Thomas Boemer. “We’re losing that lure of traditional cooking.” That sense of a fading heritage is the impetus behind his popular Southern restaurant, right down to its wildly popular diner-style cheeseburger. It’s the thin, griddled-patty formula (the beef is an ultra-fatty blend of house-ground short rib and grass-fed brisket), topped with restraint: gooey American cheese, clove-scented bread-and-butter pickles and an impressive slab of house-cured bacon. A killer bun, too. A monster pile of hush puppies stands in for fries.

(612) 345-4516

Saint Dinette

261 E. 5th St., St. Paul
Saint Dinette burger Courtney Perry

Chef Adam Eaton finds inspiration in short-order fare, but there’s nothing diner-esque about his skilled cooking, its merits distilled in an exceptional double-patty cheeseburger. The rough-hewed patties are a meticulous blend of brisket, sirloin and dry-aged chuck, emulsified with an artery-hardening blend of butter. They’re blanketed in Eaton’s version of American cheese, an ingenious concoction of Gruyère and a sharp Cheddar that’s formed into bricks, cooled and sliced. Add fries for $7.

(651) 800-1415