Burger Jones, Five Guys, Smashburger

The Twin Cities can has cheezburger?

While Burger Jones welcomes kids, there are also several intriguing alcoholic concoctions for adults. The best one I tried was the Hillbilly Hooch, made with sweet-tea vodka, lemonade, and a sprig of fresh mint. The drink is served in a mason jar so large that you almost need to grip it two-handed, and it tastes more like an Arnie Palmer than alcohol, so beware. Jones also offers a short list of specialty martinis, and we chose the more mature-sounding Sunburst in lieu of the Giggle Juice or the Wet Dream. The Sunburst was a pink-hued mix of Prairie Organic Vodka, Limoncello, pineapple juice, and bitters, jazzed up with raspberry "caviar," which came out as solid as tapioca pearls instead of the liquid-filled gel-bubbles we'd expected. (The place is probably too high-volume to mess with molecular gastronomy. Upon opening, Parasole anticipated feeding 800 people on busy nights, and they've already been serving close to 1,300.) Jones makes hard milkshakes strong enough to get you schnockered—one with Maker's Mark, Nilla wafers, peaches, and locally made Liberty Frozen Custard was a real boozy doozy. But my favorite sweet treat was the salty caramel malt, a sweet-savory, creamy, dulce-de-leche-drenched dream that might just be the best malt I've ever had.

Overall, the experience was good but not mind-blowing. The burgers aren't outrageously priced (they top out at $9.99), but as soon as you throw in a few drinks and sides, it's easy to run up a larger-than-expected tab. I'd wait 15 minutes to eat at Burger Jones, but definitely not two hours.

SMASHBURGER
3900 Silver Lake Rd., St. Anthony
612.252.0412
www.mysmashburger.com

SmashBurger
Nick Vlcek
SmashBurger

Location Info

Map

Sonic

1960 Suburban Ave.
Maplewood, MN 55119

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Maplewood

Five Guys Burgers and Fries

3871 Gallagher Drive
Edina, MN 55435

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Edina

American Burger Bar

354 N. Wabasha St.
St. Paul, MN 55101

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: St. Paul (Downtown)

Burger Jones

3200 W. Lake St.
Minneapolis, MN 55416

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Golden Valley

Smashburger

3900 Silver Lake Road NE
Columbia Heights, MN 55421

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Columbia Heights

Vincent - A Restaurant

1100 Nicollet Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55403

Category: Restaurant > French

Region: Minneapolis (Downtown)

Chef Shack

Mill City Farmers Market, 704 S. Second St.
Minneapolis, MN 55401

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Minneapolis (Downtown)

The Blue Door Pub

1811 Selby Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55104

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Macalester/Groveland

Matt's Bar

3500 Cedar Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55407

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Powderhorn

Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant

1010 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55403

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Minneapolis (Downtown)

Convention Grill & Fountain

3912 Sunnyside Road
Edina, MN 55424

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Edina

Bulldog NE

401 E. Hennepin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55414

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: University

Cafe and Bar Lurcat

1624 Harmon Place
Minneapolis, MN 55403

Category: Restaurant > Seafood

Region: Minneapolis (Downtown)

Town Talk Diner

2707 1/2 E. Lake St.
Minneapolis, MN 55406

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Seward/ Longfellow/ Minnehaha

Barbette

1600 W. Lake St.
Minneapolis, MN 55408

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Uptown/ Eat Street

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Not only does the name of this small, Colorado-based chain sound silly, it also seems off-base. Doesn't smashing meat squish out its juices and dry the patty out? Perhaps because the squishing happens while the meat's still raw—the cooks start with a ball of ground beef and smash it on the griddle on contact—that doesn't seem to be a problem, and the flattening creates more surface area for a delicious Maillard-reaction crust.

Minnesota's first Smashburger is in suburban St. Anthony, and a Golden Valley location is scheduled to open by the end of the month. The burger joint is clearly a fast-food chain, but one that strives to be just a notch nicer, analogous to McDonald's in the same way Chipotle relates to Taco Bell. The walls have some cheesy signage—bold bursts proclaim "smash" and "sizzle"—but the overall look is slick and contemporary, with funky light fixtures and spacious booths covered with chic upholstery. (Watching kids mush French fries into the fabric, you realize why most fast-food places go with wipeable surfaces.)

My friends ordered their Smashburgers "Classic" and "Twin Cities"-style, while I channeled Dagwood and piled mine so high with add-ons that I had to eat it with a knife and fork. I requested the standard lettuce, tomato, pickles, and two types of onions, plus grilled mushrooms, applewood smoked bacon, sharp cheddar, a fried egg, and sliced jalapeños. "Are you sure you want all that?" the woman at the counter asked. I certainly did: The combination was a straight-up, wholesale burger blowout, but even with the toppings stripped, Smashburger had the basics covered. The meat was juicy and charred, and greasy in a good way. The eggy bun was delectable enough to stand on its own. I was so busy eating I hardly noticed the condiment glop that plopped onto the table before an enthusiastic server swooped in with additional napkins.

Smashburger's extras keep pace with its burgers: The fries are sprinkled with rosemary and garlic, the malts are made with Häagen-Dazs, and there are even sides of fried green beans, carrots, and asparagus. Sure, the veggies were glistening with grease, but they tasted great and had the vague suggestion of healthfulness. Both in terms of flavor and bang for the buck, Smashburger ranks as the newcomers' number one.

Ten Beloved Burgers

Only time will tell if the newcomers will earn a place among these classics

VINCENT
1100 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis
612.630.1189
www.vincentarestaurant.com

There's just one burger on the menu at Minneapolis's most notable French restaurant, but it's the only item that le grand fromage, chef Vincent Francoual, decided to name after himself. The Vincent Burger is a gourmet take on the indigenous Jucy Lucy: One lush bite of its smoked Gouda and braised short-rib stuffing and you'll surely be swooning, ooh la la!

CHEF SHACK
Saturday mornings at Mill City Farmers' Market,
704 S. Second St., Minneapolis; Sunday mornings at Kingfield Farmers' Market,
4310 Nicollet Ave. S., Minneapolis
www.chefshack.org

The Twin Cities' most beloved street-food makers serve a hardwood-grilled bison burger that's juicier, wilder, and smokier than any of its peers. The patty is good enough to stand on its own, though who could pass up a pitch-perfect bun, miso-glazed bacon, or a vast selection of house-made condiments?

THE BLUE DOOR PUB
1811 Selby Ave., St. Paul,
651.493.1865
www.thebd.com

Famous for its myriad "Juicy Blucys," this laid-back neighborhood pub's surprise favorite is one of the unstuffeds: the peanut-butter-slathered Jiff Burger, topped with thick slices of bacon and pepper jack cheese. It sounds totally whack, but it's as addictive as crack—with a high that's incomparably savory.

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