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Jul 17, 2009 06:27 AM

Jfood's MSP Burger Tour Continues - 5-8 Club, Not So Great

After another 14-hour day Jfood was bushed. As he drove back to the hotel to change he needed to push himself not to take the easy route and order a burger in the hotel. Fortunately he found himself in his car pushing the buttons on the Nav system to take him to his next stop, 5-8 Supper Club. He arrived around 9PM and found it still bustling with people knee deep in sandwiches and beer. Jfood saddled up to the bar (TV was off, huh?) and grabbed a menu.

He ordered a Juicy Lucy (yes this one has an “i” in Juicy) with fried onions and bacon with rings and fries, plus his customary Root Beer (bottle of IBC). The burger and rings arrived without the fries and Jfood mentioned this to the waitress, oops just a minor miscommunication and off she went to correct. In literature this event is called foreshadowing.

Jfood first tried an onion ring. They were right out of the frozen bag, were regular old ”frozen and into the oil” rings, nothing special, nothing different but at least they had some seasoning, keep reading to understand.

Then Jfood attempted to pick up the burger. To be as kind as possible, this had to be the sloppiness presentation of a burger he has seen in years. The meat was half in – half out of the bun, the bacon looked like it was jabbed into the side as an afterthought and the fried onions looked like they were thrown on the burger. But it did have a fair amount of pickle slices. Jfood reassembled so he could actually move forward. The first bite did not do anything for him flavor-wise, the meat was basically some chop meat, nothing special. When Jfood reached the cheese it reminded him of “Whiz” from a Phill cheesesteak (at least it had some flavor), the fried onions were boiled first and then thrown on the flattop and the bacon was tasteless. Overall there was nothing about this burger that really tickled Jfood's fancy.

The fries arrived and they reminded Jfood of the kind you receive in the cafeteria. Out of the big bag of frozen fries, into some oil and onto a plate. No salt was added after the cooking either. Jfood ate a couple and one of the few times he barely ate any fries with his burger.

Now the inside of this place is great with a nice deck off to the side. The waitress who was handling the deck was busy, busy, busy. The server who handled Jfood was basically absent.

So Jfood cannot place 5-8 anywhere near the category of other great burger places in the MSP area. Although convenient, Jfood would probably go to 5-Guys before heading back to 5-8.

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  1. You've pretty much already hit the great burger places in town. I would add Town Talk Diner to your list and wrap it up.

    1. jfood, I always cringe when I see locals breathlessly recommending this place to visitors (as well as Mickey's Dining Car, Tavern on Grand, and other "some style, no substance" MSP institutions).

      My recommendations may be no better, less subject to debate or disagreeable than any other folks', but I've heard way too many stories like yours that have supported my negative opinion of 5-8. I'm just sorry people keep sending people there to waste their money.

      Although if you love industrial grade deep fried mushrooms (and I do every now and then) it's a great source for that.

      3 Replies
      1. re: MSPD

        I guess sometimes we want to be entertained when we dine and I've always found Mickey's to be that. I also love their cole slaw.

        1. re: MSPD

          I will defend Mickey's as being an excellent representation of diner food. Most of the stuff at Mickey's is homemade and quite tasty for what it is. It is not gourmet and does not pretend to be, but I think it stands up well to diners all over the place. Incidentally, the creator of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives (the Food Network show) agrees with me, FWIW.

          1. re: mtullius

            The pancakes and omelets at Mickey's -- both of which I enjoyed just this morning -- are outstanding. Any diner in any city would be lucky to have them on their menus.

        2. It's bar food and nothing more. The Nook, Matt's, 5-8 Club are selling neighborhood, atmosphere and local tradition, not gourmet. If 5 Guys turns you on more than 5-8 Club then so be it. I'd rather sit at the bar at 5-8 Club than stand in line for 30 minutes eating shelled peanuts at 5 Guys. As far as burgers go, neither is a culinary treasure to remember.

          I don't know if the burger venture is done yet. Have you tried Ike's on Sixth in Minneapolis? Have you gone out to the distant 'burb of Eden Prairie and tried Lion's Tap? Have you tried, not to be confused by the name, Lyon's Pub on Sixth? If you sit at the bar in Lyon's Pub that root beer is free. If you are around on Monday, Lord Fletcher's on Lake Minnetonka has a "Manic Monday" promotion for 2 to 9 PM selling full half-pound burgers outside on the dock for $4 along with 99 cent bottled Miller Lite and MGD beer. They have a grill set up outside and serve cafeteria style. Cheeseburgers are $1 extra and the lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle are free for dressing yourself. Fries, onion rings and other kinds of beers are extra and will cost you more than the beer and burger together. Scenery is great to boot both boat and bootie.

          8 Replies
          1. re: Davydd

            I agree. Two other neighborhood (south Minneapolis) burgers I like are found at the Band Box Diner and Our Kitchen.

            1. re: Davydd

              Jfood's first burger in town was Lion's Tap, eh. Nice guy and jfood chatted with him while he waited but burger did not do much for him.

              Jfood just returned east and made a Jucy with Brie. Pretty tasty but needed someting to kick it up a little.

              1. re: jfood

                Yeah, it definitely had no chance of ending your quest for the best burger. However, I think they do a very good job for the price point. They have a ubiquitous coupon that knocks $3 off the bill when two are dining. Plus, the patio is quite nice.

                I also really like the onion straws, but I don't think I can defend them chowishly.

              2. re: Davydd

                do you rec the burger at ike's Davydd? because it better be pretty good, ike's is the only place in town that has the bollocks to charge $20 for a bacon-cheeseburger,, and there's way too much sysco paraphernalia around that joint for my taste, so i don't think they're using the local hand ground grassfed. . .

                i'd think some of the steakhouses 'round town might be good candidates for showing up next on Jfood's burger tour.

                1. re: soupkitten

                  I know I'm not Davydd, but Ike's is consistently my favorite burger in town. I love the Supreme at the Nook, but an Ike's burger with Widmer's and fried onions is still my favorite.

                  Well-seasoned, house-ground beef that tastes beefy, griddled onions, a bun like a pillow, a rack of sauces to dump on my fries but never on my burger...Ike's ALWAYS gets my temp correct (something even the Nook and 112 have messed up on a couple occasions and which the Shamrock, Bulldog, and Buster's have done regularly) which is important to me, but perhaps not others.

                  And while I'd gladly pay $20 for this burger, the bacon must be $8 extra because I think a cheeseburger with fries at Ike's is in the $12 range. I never really pay attention...

                  1. re: Foureyes137

                    I second this. They have a burger called something like the "heart attack" or "artery clogger" or something like that. Bacon, cheddar, grilled onions, and fried egg. Juicy, messy, and delicious! As foureyes said, I remember it being like $12, including fries. I think I still have to rank the Juicy Nookie nubmer one on my twin cities burger list, but Ike's is probably second.

                    1. re: Foureyes137

                      Just got off the phone with Ike's- they don't have a functioning website for some weird reason. The 'too much sysco paraphernalia' comment got me worried . I was sure their burger was sirloin. The person there told me the reg. burger is black angus, not frozen, not sirloin though. I do think it's excellent and they always get the cooking temp right for me too. She did say there is a newer burger called 'Roadhouse' that is a blend of prime rib and sirloin...anyone had that one yet?

                    2. re: soupkitten

                      Towards that end, the Capital grille makes a good burger. Unfortunately, it's only on the lunch menu and although they said they'd make it for dinner on request, I'd be leary of doing that. My comments on Capital's burger : probably the best meat I’ve had, smoky and full of flavor. The bun was not toasted which is a turnoff for me. You get what you pay for here and at $15 this one is price appropriate.

                  2. I'll concur with jfood's opinion. I've never understood why people are sent to 5-8 (or why it is busy). It has been underwhelming at best.

                    That said, if you're forced to eat there, the garlic cheeseburger isn't bad. Not worth making a trip for, but if you have to eat there, at least it tastes like something.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Danny

                      heh. my parents used to go on dates at the 5-8 with the other servicemen & women. my grandparents who lived down the road would go there occasionally. it isn't good food, it's a local supperclub that has other important functions, some of which are becoming obsolete as folks die off.

                      that said, Jfood's burger saga has been interesting to follow, and the 5-8 and matt's bar are "old-school" msp neighborhood burger joints that are important--any survey of msp burgers would be incomplete w/out them, after all-- but we probably shouldn't get too carried away with saying these are the be-all-end-all burgers in town.

                      i personally will very rarely will ever order a restaurant burger & didn't eat them *anywhere* for over a year after getting a real turd at a local establishment. . . but it's been a little fun to get back into them recently.

                      1. re: soupkitten

                        Add to that Minneapolis' vague liquor zoning laws which for many years left the 5-8 as the only place to get 'real' beer (as opposed to 3.2 'near' beer) for miles around.

                        1. re: MplsM ary

                          Convention Grill and Barbette still need trying by jfood.

                          1. re: faith

                            gotcha. week after next maybe

                            1. re: jfood

                              if (when) jfood makes it to convention grill he will have more than the usual non-alcoholic beverage options. the malts are to die for (real banana? yes please) as are the phosphates, in a flourescently died kinda way.

                    2. My first ever JL was from the 5-8. I really wanted to like it, but it never did much for me. I could never put my finger on what the cheese tasted like, but I think Whiz is about the best description I can give it. I won't completely bag on the place, but if someone comes to town looking for a Juicy Lucy, I'll send them to the Nook or Matt's first.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: BigE

                        I had a blue cheese Lucy at 5-8 that I'm pretty sure wasn't stuffed with Cheese Whiz.