Classic Burger Joints

Perfect patties from around the state

A burger from Matt's Bar in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Jucy Lucy from Matt’s Bar

photo by tj turner

After years of burgers sizzling on a grill, that sheet of metal picks up an unmistakable patina that results in the tastiest crust you can get on a burger. At least, that’s the oft-told legend behind any burger joint worth driving hours to reach.

Val’s Rapid Service

Aim for the ’50s-era sign and the 490-square-foot A-frame building. Step inside and you’re basically in the kitchen. Use the touch-screen ordering system to order a burger as desired. The French fries are slender, and Val’s packs abundantly generous amounts into the bags.

628 E. St. Germain St., St. Cloud, 320-251-5775


Newt’s has been serving burgers in downtown Rochester since 1980. The ground-just-for-them beef is made into fat patties that fly in the face of the current diner-burger trend. Keep two hands on this burger at all times for big-time meaty eating.

216 1/2 First Ave. SW, Rochester, 507-289-0577 |

Gordy’s Hi Hat

Cruising up to Cloquet has been a Minnesota summer tradition since 1960. There’s nothing like the camaraderie of standing in line at this burger stand with the black-and-white checkerboard floors. It’s worth the wait for a perfect, thin burger with crispy onion rings and a creamy, cold malt.

415 Sunnyside Dr., Cloquet, 218-879-6125 |

King’s Place Bar

Aficionados have built pilgrimages around King’s Place. The building dates back to 1874, and the current ownership began running the bar and restaurant back in 1984. The wide array of burgers comes with options limited only by the cooks’ imaginations. There are more than 50 on the menu, but start with the classic and maybe consider a little bacon.

14460 240th St. E., Miesville, 651-437-1418 |

Matt’s Bar

The cult of the Jucy Lucy lives inside this divey little dive bar in south Minneapolis. Burgers just a little bigger than your hand are packed and perfectly sealed with cheese hotter than Hades—heed the warnings. Order a side of fries to snack on during the interminable wait until the burger is safe to eat.

3500 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis, 612-722-7072 |