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Sep 8, 2009 03:05 PM

Wisconsin Burgers (La Crosse)?

I will be traveling to La Crosse, Wisconsin this coming weekend for a wedding. I've been before and enjoyed the amazing bloodies at Del's and a nice (but not so much for the food) dinner at the Freight House.


I know that Wisconsin is supposed to have some of the best - but can any of them be found in or around La Crosse? Help...

Open to other local dining suggestions as well. Some Brat's are def. in order as well.

Thanks very much!

p.s. Here's a link to the burger site I help run here in Los Angeles...

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  1. Does it have to be beef? You could get yourself to the Trempealeau Hotel and try a walnut burger. They're pretty famous around these parts.

    For beef, try Bucky's Burger Barn on the northside of La Crosse. Not a fancy establishment by any means, but the burgers are great.

    4 Replies
    1. re: 4maxwelz

      You can google "walnut burger" and get a nice write-up. They are indeed famous around here, but they are veggie, and it seems you want MEAT! You have choices!

      Bucky's is indeed good, just be advised it is a workingman's bar. But it is also a local place, and you will see the railroad workers next to the ladies from the neighborhood. We are always comfortable here.

      But here's some others: In Trempealeau is a bar/grill/boat landing called Hungry Point, with great burgers and good prices. It is also a very scenic town, on the river, and the local lock and dam is worth a visit, You can see the dam from Hungry Point.

      Stop in at the Trempealeau Hotel for a walnut burger at it's original home if you wish. I like the Walnut Balls better, as they provide more crust area. .

      Just outside La Crosse is a newer place called Cruz-In, on Smith Valley Road, just off County Road B. Excellent burgers and fish sandwiches, that's all we ever tried. But we have those a lot. Patty melt too!

      Downtown, in the Radisson, is Three Rivers Lodge, very very good, We are never disappointed, in breakfast or lunch. They pay attention here. And they will make you a Backyard Burger with bacon and cheese and everything else.

      Want colorful and local? Try Nutbush City Limits in Onalaska, just off the Interstate. The usual bar menu, all done well. This place is always full.

      But if you're coming to the Midwest, there's two things you gotta try, Culver's and Maid-Rite. Maid-Rite is the original loosemeat sandwich, and people either like them or not. I think they are bland, like a sloppy joe without the sauce. But everybody should try one. And Culver's is a regional "slow fast food" place with fantastic burgers. I have seen arguments on other sites, over which is better, Culver's or In-n-Out.

      One note about Maid-Rite. They have been expanding rapidly the last few years, mainly company stores in small malls. I hear there is some difference in the product at the new stores versus the old (Maid-Rite as a company has been around a LONG time). The difference seems to be in how the meat is prepared. I don't know, but lucky for you, vive la difference! In Onalaska is a brand new company store, but a real treasure is located on Caledonia Street in North La Crosse. This place is its own time warp, has not changed in half a century. And I mean has not changed! And full of locals, and I mean full. Go here! If you go just a little off hours, crowds will be gone and you can get a seat in this cool old place. And besides the loosemeat they have a good burger too.

      You can google these, all have websites except Hungey Point.

      Ok, that's enough. But don't you want to hear about our famous fish fries too?

      1. re: rudybaga

        Well, I just checked your website and had to add it to my favorites. Boy, do I miss those Big Boys! I just want to take that right out of your hand.

        Oh, and there is some pizza here too. Google small regional chain Happy Joe's, we've got a good one. Pizza Doctor downtown for a constant and good buffet. You know this is a college town, so lots of pizza, and lots of taverns too!

        1. re: rudybaga

          Wow, thank you so much for all of the info! I LOVE old school places and local dives so Bucky's and the old Maid-Rite sounds perfect. I'll be staying at the Radison so will do a breakfast there. Culver's sounds intriguing especially if it's being compared to one of my favorite local LA burgers (In N Out)! Sadly, I don't think I'll have a chance to make it out to Trempealeau though as I won't have a car and my schedule is tight with wedding stuff. Therefore, if you had to pick THE best burger (just one) in La Crosse what would you go with? Thanks again - much appreciated!

          1. re: Hoover13

            OK, I'm assuming that even though no car, you do have some transportation, otherwise you are stuck with downtown. If you were stuck downtown, the Backyard Burger at the Radisson is real good, and will make a nice picture for your website. If you want to see a picture of it, google "eating la crosse" and choose Three Rivers. This is a local reviewer, and she calls it the perfect burger.

            If you can move a little, I would go with Cruz-In, but that is 8 miles from downtown. (In a beautiful little valley, called a "coulee" here.) And Bucky's will probably make you happy. (Expect to go around a few corners in their neighborhood -- one way streets.)

            And Bucky's standard burger will be a little smaller, which might leave room for you to try a drive-by Culver's or Maid-Rite, just for the experience. The old Maid-Rite is just a mile away from Bucky's.

            Culver's, by the way, is known for the "crispy edges" on their burger, which is a very common and much loved drive-in method of preparation in the midwest.

            Just one note if stuck downtown...if someone says Fayze's, well, that is old news. They used to be great, but have changed hands and their best days are behind them.

            There is a hot dog chain (four outlets, all local) called Coney Island, since 1922, cheap and tasty little dogs. And their original is downtown, just a few blocks from Radisson. There is also a cheap and tasty soup and sandwich place called Pickerman's, which is very good, and should be a chain of it's own; it seems like it could be a unique niche among the usual places.