Who has the best Jucy Lucy in Minneapolis? Of course, all of us who live here know not to bring up the sensitive issue of cheese-stuffed hamburgers in polite society, lest fisticuffs erupt. This point was brought hotly home to me yesterday as I stood in the 5-8 Club waiting to tape a segment on the history of the Jucy Lucy for a new show on the Travel Channel called Food Wars. A “super-fan” of the 5-8 was telling me that he had scientifically proven that the 5-8 Juicy Lucy was superior to the Matt’s Jucy Lucy by tasting them side by side, and discovering that the 5-8’s cheese was superior to Matt’s cheese, which he described as “discharge.”
“You have proven your irrational animus against Matt’s just by using that word—” I retorted.
“Well what would you call it?” he scoffed.
“I, sir, would call it delicious!” I said, and huffed away so I could say a lot of things drowned out by landing airplanes.
More importantly, however: Does this sound like a fight you want to get in on? Then clear out your schedule and get down to the Cardinal Bar tomorrow, Wednesday the 10th. That’s when the Food Wars segment will be taping. They’ll have key cooks and players from both Matt’s Bar and the 5-8, a celebrity panel of judges, and a host who will, I assume, name a top Jucy/Juicy.
While the battle itself is scheduled for something like five o’clock, my sources inside the Cardinal tell me that the smart move is to get down there early, maybe 3 p.m., score a table, and defend it with your life. (Remember, the Cardinal is on the light rail line, so if you spend 10 or 12 hours there, well, now you know.) If you really want to get on TV, my advice is to make T-shirts, make signs, and pick a side.
Personally, I have a fantasy of raiding parties coming in from Casper’s Nook, the Blue Door Pub, and Adrian’s brandishing hot-boxes of their own Juicy Lucy’s, but that probably won’t happen. If you’d like to bone-up on your Jucy/Juicy Lucy history, I think the article I wrote in 1998 is still fairly definitive.
Though there is one addendum: In 2003, Minneapolis city zoning laws were relaxed such that all the old 3.2 bars (bars that served only low-alcohol brew) are all now regular strong beer bars. So that’s that! If you get on the show, I can personally promise you that every ex- you ever had, from kindergarten on up, will see it, and your pool of Facebook friends will increase exponentially. If anyone does go and wants to live-blog or tweet from the Cardinal, post it in the comments or send me an e-mail. I’m exceptionally interested.