My last two Twin Cities restaurant reports have been from the high end (Tenant and Saint Genevieve). Let’s go towards the other end of the range for this week’s report: all the way to the 5-8 Club in South Minneapolis, a decidedly casual spot that specializes in burgers. And not just any burgers: the 5-8 Club is the primary rival of Matt’s Bar (a little further up Cedar Avenue), both claiming to be the originators of the Jucy Lucy, or as the 5-8 Club spells it, the Juicy Lucy. This is, of course, one of Minnesota’s iconic foods. I have to confess that I am not a major fan of the genre of burgers with unfeasible amounts of cheese oozing out of the patty (I don’t even like too much cheese on the patty, as in a classic cheeseburger). But I’d managed to spend almost 15 years in Minnesota without eating at the 5-8 Club and it seemed like it was time to fix that. Especially since the boys love burgers and the younger one particularly likes Jucy/Juicy Lucys. And so on a weekday in May, when the whole family had an appointment to keep in the Cities, we stopped in for an early lunch. Herewith a quick account for the benefit of those who have not been.
The 5-8 Club is a much larger establishment than Matt’s Bar, complete with a parking lot. There’s a large, divided dining room as you enter—this has booths and regular tables. Further in is the bar which also has a dining area with high-top tables. It’s a pleasant, casual environment with decor on the half-heartedly kitschy side. I’m not sure if they get as busy as Matt’s on weekends but mid-morning on a Thursday they had plenty of tables available—though they were far from empty. We sat down and got down to ordering.
We started with an order of cheese curds. These were rather good—in fact, I’d say perhaps the best cheese curds I’ve had in a while (I don’t mean to give the impression that I eat them on the regular). And then, of course, burgers. The younger boy got his Juicy Lucy and he got it with American cheese and raw onions. His mother got her Juicy Lucy with pepper jack cheese and fried onions. I opted for a different messy burger, the Saucy Sally. This has the patty stuffed with both American cheese and “our secret sauce” and topped with more cheese, shredded cabbage, raw onions (I subbed in fried) and a bit of Thousand Island dressing. You have to bring your own statins. The older boy resolutely got a regular burger (he doesn’t like any cheese involvement with his burgers); he did get it topped with bacon (for an extra $2). All the burgers came with an implausible amount of fries and a bit of cole slaw. The fries were also quite good. How about the burgers themselves? Both boys loved theirs. The missus enjoyed the first half of hers and then it got a bit much for her. I probably arrived at that point a little earlier with my Saucy Sally.
For a look at the restaurant and what we ate, launch the slideshow below. Scroll down to see how much it all cost, etc. and to see what’s coming next.
Service was very friendly and very present and everything came out at an efficient clip. How things are at busier times—in both the kitchen and in the front—I couldn’t say. Price? With three sodas, tax and tip the total was a little north of $85. Which, you’re right, is quite a lot of money for a meal centered on burgers. Still, on the whole, I thought this was better than our Matt’s meal—though it is true that on that occasion the food travelled a few minutes from the restaurant to Lake Nokomis before we ate it. I don’t know that I’m in a hurry to go back and try more of their Juicy Lucy variants; though the PB&J—which features a patty stuffed with American cheese and, you guessed it, peanut butter, and then topped with bacon jam—is exercising a kind of weird fascination on me. Let’s hope I can resist.
Alright, what’s next from the Twin Cities restaurant world? Probably a report on Vann, the seafood-centered spot in Spring Park. And before that I might try to finally post the last meal report from my trip to Delhi in March. If I can get to it, that’ll go up on the weekend.