Burger Meisters, Revisited

Reader mail brings more, more, more nominations for the region's best burger

King's Place Bar & Grill
14460 240th St. (Hwy. 61), Miesville
651.437.1418

Brookside Bar And Grill
140 Judd St., Marine On St Croix
651.433.5132

Vincent
1100 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis
612.630.1189
www.vincentarestaurant.com

Burger king: Vincent Francoul's short rib-stuffed sirloin
David Fick
Burger king: Vincent Francoul's short rib-stuffed sirloin

Location Info

Map

Brookside Bar & Grill

140 Judd St.
Marine on St. Croix, MN 55047

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Outstate

Vincent - A Restaurant

1100 Nicollet Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55403

Category: Restaurant > French

Region: Minneapolis (Downtown)

Dear Dara,

How about a field trip about 40 minutes south of the Cities for an afternoon or evening of baseball with the Miesville Mudhens, followed by the best burgers in Minnesota at King's Place? King's is across the street from the best outdoor ballpark in Minnesota, and we think they have the best burgers anywhere. My husband's favorite is the Rook: I only order the Mudhen--sauerkraut, bacon, and cheese. Chased with a beer, we're about as close to burger and baseball heaven as you can get.

The Mudhens aren't slouches, either. Three of their pitchers were drafted to the Twins during the strike, and they've won the state championship, I think, more than any other team of a town their size in Minnesota. Of course, you can always tailgate in the parking lot before a game, but King's is the best place for a post-game burger, beer, and yukking it up with the Mudhen players than any other sporting or eating event I've attended in Minnesota. Finally, don't forget the kids, who can retrieve foul balls in the cornfield. Priceless.

--Terri in St. Paul

 

Dear Terri,

When the boom! boom! boom! came a-crashing at the door, and I looked outside to see the 10 Indian elephants City Pages had been forced to hire to cart my mail to me, I knew something was up. To say that my best-burger roundup of a few weeks ago had touched a nerve would be ludicrous understatement. In fact, my exploration of the best burgers in town verily plunged both hands through the ears of the local consciousness, coming up with brimming fistfuls of ganglia, neurons, and general socio-cultural-regional cerebellum goo.

Ick. Forget that.

But you know what you all really, really like? Burgers!

You keep logs in your cars of the best ones. You drive across river and dale in search of them. You collect and trade them among your friends. You, you out there, you mellow moms parking your Caravans, you, you mechanically minded motor heads making double-strength pots of coffee, you, you modish moppets throwing away your tip money on Red Bull-vodkas, all of you, you only look like mild-mannered Minnesotans. In fact, you are all a bunch of burger fanatics. Fanatics! Obsessives! Single-minded and loony with it. I so applaud you for it.

And so I sifted through the mail, I drove through the lilac-drenched countryside, and I decided to present to you what you really, really want: Three more of the best burgers in the state, to add to your spreadsheets, your summer plans.

First, let me tell you about Miesville. Population 135, closely grouped around Highway 61 between Hastings and Red Wing. The kind of place a city slicker might mistake for a speed trap. Not so! Outdoor baseball is the big draw here. Imagine the Saints' stadium, but three times more bucolic, ringed by cornfields and distant, regal, navy blue silos. (Find out more at www.miesvillebaseball.com.)

Across the road from the baseball stadium and down a few steps is King's Place, which is kind of like an extremely domestic classic roadhouse. Knotty pine, beer signs, knotty pine, wooden booths, more knotty pine, the opportunity to buy chocolates for local charities. It's the kind of roadhouse where the back room will get taken over by a dozen grandmotherly-looking ladies with careful permanent waves, as it was when I visited.

But don't confuse domestic with timid. No. They are putting together burgers at King's Place that I have never heard of, never imagined, never imagined imagining. Like the Sacrifice ($4.20), in which the King's signature moist, fluffy, fresh-ground burger is topped with ham, corned beef, bacon, cheddar cheese, and sour cream. Or the Intense ($4.10), topped with salsa, jalapeños, pepper cheese, lettuce, and sour cream. Yes, I said sour cream. I said it twice. This is dairy country, and King's has five, count 'em, five, burgers topped with sour cream, and at least one topped with three kinds of cheese and sour cream. Three kinds of cheese, and sour cream, on a burger. In Miesville they don't know the word fear.

I tried a couple of the King's Place burgers, and found them good. The plainest ones showcased the estimable burger itself, the fluffy but well-knit patty that comes only from meat that's very fresh, and never over-handled. The most elaborately dressed burgers were more like casseroles. The Rook, for instance, is covered with sliced green olives, cheddar cheese, lettuce, and a nice, mild, pink special sauce. The whole thing combines into something incredibly moist, grandly salty, and deeply rich. When tasted with its sweet, soft bun, it becomes more than a meal, and only slightly less than Christmas dinner at Grandma's house.

In short, if you are a burger fanatic, I insist you rip this column out and shove it in your glove compartment for use this summer. And to force the issue, here are a few things you can do in and around King's, besides attend Mudhens games.

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