BEST BURGERS (1999)
What better place to find a 1950s throwback than Edina? Opened 35 years ago and now owned by John Rimarcik of Annie's Parlor and Monte Carlo fame, this soda joint for grease lovers has everything but the Fonz. High-backed vinyl booths, faded tile floors, scratched Formica tables, young lovers gazing over their straws, even a low row of spinning stools at a counter that runs in front of the open grill. There are usually two cooks working the spatula, their beaded brows hidden by a head of steam, flipping the crimson ground chuck, slapping on generous slices of cheddar, American or Swiss at just the right moment. Fried onions sweeten the air. Baskets of thick, salty, skin-on fries gurgle. Waiters in white aprons scurry back and forth with sweaty tins of malted ice cream, thick fountain glasses bubbling with phosphate, and oversized sundaes drowning in cherry-sweetened chocolate. Vegetarians along for the ride can indulge in a double-decker toasted cheese or an egg salad sandwich. But they best go back to the future. This place is all about the all-American beef patty soaking a simple white bun, then (for just another buck) spiced with a couple of slices of chewy bacon. Best of all, in this age of the overdone, overpriced, needlessly giant gourmet burger, $3.95 guarantees a moist, melt-in-your-mouth meal whether you like a little pink or can't do without the char. Heck, order two. Back in the day, low-fat was for squares.