Burger Hunter

Burger Hunter: JL Beers

JL Beers

Week after week, Mike S. impresses us with the depth and breadth of his burger knowledge. Plus he’s quite the traveler, like the Rick Steves of patties! Check out all The Burger Hunter’s meaty exploits at the #GreatAmericanBurgerHunter tag on Instagram and at @BurgerHunterUSA on the twitter.

Once in awhile it takes a couple visits to fully figure out what’s all going on with a burger. This happened to me at JL Beers. You know JL, it’s those North Dakota beer dudes that came to Twincy to strike burger gold. So on visit numero dos I bellied up to get a birds eye view of how and why my burger is coming out so quickly, yet so good. And there it was—a clam grill that comes over the flattop and puts a full court press on your meat with heat from both sides. 1 minute and 15 seconds later, out comes your seared up beef patty party. It’s most likely ground chuck with nice flavor from classic seasoning. Juicy, too! I ordered the University Ave Burger. The bun looks regs, but it’s so not. Fresh and seriously almost perfect. Butter grilled with a crispy inner and soft gentle outer . . . Mmmmm gentle outer . . . Just holds in your hands so nicely this one. Cheese is American and gooey good. Topped with clean crispy bacon that adds to the positive crunch factor throughout this ride. The salty beef plays nicely with the sweet bbq sauce. They calm each other down. Ever had one of those friends? Anywho, the fries are solid and fresh cut with your choice of topping. I love how perfect this burger is. Looks nice, tastes great, quick, easy, no attitude or gimmicks, and fresh! Sign says, “Great Burgers Sold Here.” And I put my stamp of approval on that!

Scorecard:   Flavor: 8.8   Presentation: 5   Originality: 7

JL Beers, 24 University Ave. NE Suite #100, MPLS; jlbeers.com


Burger Hunter: Joe Senser’s

Joe Sensors

He’s back! Week after week, Mike S. impresses us with the depth and breadth of his burgerknowledge. Plus he’s quite the traveler, like the Rick Steves of patties! Check out all The BurgerHunter’s meaty exploits at the #GreatAmericanBurgerHunter tag on Instagram and at @BurgerHunterUSA on the twitter.

So I’m just gonna come out and say it. Someone knocked some sense into me and we finally made it over to Joe Senser’s. Yeah the old Minnesota Viking place, but not the guy who sat on the bench. This dude made it to the Pro Bowl. Now Senser’s has been rockin’ a hardcore sports scene since ’88. Even if that’s not your thing, this is done pretty well. I even sat in a fancy garage lounge theater for dinner. Quite contemporary. But trust me it’s pretty game-y and I don’t mean the chow. I ordered The MVP burger. First off it’s a hot mess. But glorious. It’s like I hope nobody’s looking kinda good. Just dig in. BBQ seems heavy but it ain’t. Bun is fresh and toasted. Grind is Angus and locally sourced. It’s fresh never frozen and seared on griddle to lockdown juicy flavor town. And that’s about what it did! Now the toppings ride on this all-star are dialed. The garlic aioli adds a nice depth while the bacon and cheddar deliver the stats your hero is looking for. The salt on those two brothers put the BBQ almost sideways. But them caramelized onions tried to dom a bit but that’s what MVP’s do. Ball don’t lie . . . Might need more napkins than you’re used to, but that’s well worth it now isn’t it. Job well done, Joe!

Scorecard:  Flavor: 8.9   Presentation: 8   Originality: 8

Joe Senser’s, 2350 North Cleveland Ave, Roseville; sensers.com


Burger Hunter: The Happy Gnome

Happy Gnome

He’s back! Week after week, Mike S. impresses us with the depth and breadth of his burger knowledge. Plus he’s quite the traveler, like the Rick Steves of patties! Check out all The Burger Hunter’s meaty exploits at the #GreatAmericanBurgerHunter tag on Instagram and at @BurgerHunterUSA on the twitter.

Well after a week of straight salads I decided that was quite a bore and needed to hunt for something a bit more . . . meaty . . . and happy. Also something sneaky. Here we go, The Happy Gnome in St. Easy is a popular gastropub that flat out delivers the funk each and every time. I ordered the Game Burger and it’s not gamey by any means. The grind is bison, elk, bacon and horseradish. Yeah, not tradish but all the way yummy boots. The meat is balanced really nicely. Wevers in Rio style. But there’s depth too. Getting a little peppery almost All Spicy, nutmeg kinda flavor. That sneaky Gnome. Making things hard on the Hunter. Okay now the bun is egg and fresh. Shiny and lightly toasted. Comes with LTO and some blue cheese onions that could steal your whole identity if they wanted. Yeah they are that good. The lingonberry aioli is so seasonal it’s redick. Works terrific. The toppings give it sweetness and Damn Gina this ride was drippy. Far from dry. Plate drips. Table drips. Beard drips. The chef is obvi profesh and putting forth some pairings and tastes that really go all the way around your mouth. Balance and depth ain’t easy but this Happy Gnome goes hard cuz. You’ll Fall in love with this burger.

Scorecard:   Flavor: 9.2   Presentation: 9   Originality: 10

The Happy Gnome, 498 Selby Ave, STPL; thehappygnome.com


Burger Hunter: Good Earth Cafe

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Week after week, Mike S. impresses us with the depth and breadth of his burger knowledge. Plus he’s really branching out these days and amazing to read. Check out all The Burger Hunter’s meaty exploits at the #GreatAmericanBurgerHunter tag on Instagram and at @BurgerHunterUSA on the twitter.

Celebrating our Earth should be done more than once a year! And the same goes for visiting the Good Earth Restaurant in Roseville or Edina. Yes, we’re hunting amongst the leaf nibblers. Only kidding . . . These conscious eaters are to thank for leading the pack on everything fresh and local. I ordered the Good Earth Burger. Now it’s got a full menu of toppings so let’s kick things off with that bun. Sesame and poppi, maybe a nut or two, not butter grilled but fresh. Liked it. Beef is Peterson Farms grass fed and runs a clean flavor profile. The portobello shrums lead the charge for the salad and the carm-y onions are pretty steady. Tomato is fresh and poppin’. The avocado and the rather sweet red pepper aioli smooth things out a bit. But those sunflower sprouts really made me feel proud. I just knew those things were helping me out in some way. The cheese is Gruyere and better believe it’s in my tops. Burger is a bit slippery but super earthy good. I devoured this thing. Loved knowing that everything is natural, organic, and farm to table. Comes with terra root vegetable chips and those are always a fun treat . . . Not quite sure what you’re eating but damn those purple and red ones are lit.

Scorecard:   Flavor: 8.2   Presentation: 9   Originality: 9

Good Earth Cafe, 1901 W Hwy 36, Roseville; goodearthmn.com


Burger Hunter: Flameburger

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Week after week, Mike S. impresses us with the depth and breadth of his burger knowledge. He was also quite popular in our reader survey! Check out all The Burger Hunter’s meaty exploits at the #GreatAmericanBurgerHunter tag on Instagram and at @BurgerHunterUSA on the twitter.

 

Now that we went all healthy let’s immediately fall off that bandwagon and head straight back to that loving feeling. Oh yeah babe and it’s going down at none other than Flameburger. Upon entry you’ll have an immediate strange flashback of being here before. Early 20’s like 3 AM. Pretty sure it was breakfy. Wake up! Ok I’m back and holy wow there’s flames everywhere in here. So obvi I headed for the Flameburger with bacon & cheese. Bun is decent and has a dusting on it that could be cornmeal. It’s butter grilled. The meat is likely under 80/20. Maybe 75. Tradish chuck. V good tho and not seasoned much. Cooked over flames, adds all that Jazz to the beef. Each high note searing in sweet. Damn Gina, damn. Juicy to the nines and even compromised the bottom bun a little. Each bite exploding with flavor. Savory meat blasts of juicy rendering the perfect chew. Onion with the lightly charred beef is an OTP. The bacon is there but not showing off by any means. The cheese is about as American as those flames. If you close your eyes you’d think you pulled off the side of the road on some road trip to nowhere. Their cups will give you goosebumps and the soda tastes hella good in um. I loved this burger big times. It’s flame-forward and they been going hard since 1955. Pro-tip: Order the hashbrowns!

Scorecard:   Flavor: 9.1   Presentation: 8   Originality: 5

Flameburger, 4800 Central Ave NE, MPLS; theflameburger.com