Matt’s Bar in Minneapolis: Original Jucy Lucy Cheeseburger

Matt's Bar in Minneapolis, Minnesota, home of the original Jucy Lucy cheeseburger
Matt’s Bar in Minneapolis, Minnesota, home of the original Jucy Lucy cheeseburger

Matt’s Bar is an institution in Minneapolis. Since 1954, the restaurant has claimed to be the home of the original Jucy Lucy burger.

When I finalized my plans to Minneapolis, I knew I had to make the pilgrimage to Matt’s Bar and cross it off my ever-growing food bucket list.

To make a Jucy Lucy, also known as Juicy Lucy at other restaurants, you take a patty, stuff it with cheese, and grill it on a flat top.

When you bite into the burger, all the molten hot cheese and juices in the middle of the burger ooze out in an almost magical way.

There seems to be a war in Minneapolis about who created the first Jucy Lucy, Matt’s Bar, or nearby 5-8 Club. Since I only had time for one, I can only give you my opinion on Matt’s Bar.

Arrival at Matt’s Bar

Matt’s Bar is a popular place with both locals and tourists. Not surprisingly, the wait for a table can be long on the weekends.

Worried about the wait, I decided to arrive around 10:00 PM on a Friday, thinking the crowds would be thinner.

The place was practically empty when I arrived, and there was no waiting. I thought I scored.

Unbeknownst to me, grill hours were only 11:00 AM to 10:15 PM. So, I ordered a beer, called it a night, and vowed to return the next day.

Fast forward to the following day. It was a rainy Saturday night, so I was unsure how long the wait would be.

When I walked up to the door, people were already waiting in a line that began near the door and ended just behind the bar.

You can also place orders to-go for those nights you don’t feel like waiting for a table.

Interior of Matt’s Bar

The dimly light interior of the restaurant
The dimly light interior of the restaurant

When I walked into the dimly lit interior of Matt’s Bar, I immediately noticed the cool dive bar atmosphere. On the right was the bar with a few tables and booths in an adjacent dining room.

When I looked inside the bar, one open seat was at the far end next to the grill. Luckily, I was eating alone, and no one was sitting in that spot, so I snagged it.

There were about ten seats at the bar, so if you see an open seat and don’t want to wait, you can sit and eat there.

Matts’ Bar is a classic neighborhood dive bar: welcoming to guests, no fuss, a local neighborhood feeling, cold beer, and great food. It doesn’t get better than this.

Sitting at the Bar

Burgers on the flat top grill viewed from the bar
Burgers on the flat top grill viewed from the bar

Sitting at the bar, I had an excellent view of the burgers sizzling away on the flat top at the far right end of the bar near the front door.

The chef, who also doubled as a bartender and cashier, consistently took patties out of the fridge, seasoned them with a salt and pepper shaker, and placed them on the grill.

Seeing the chef work on such a small grill was amazing, yet still pump out so much food. On busy days, they can grill up to 800 burgers.

With burgers cooked to order, I knew that my food would take a little longer than usual.

I had no problem with this. I could have sat all day at the bar drinking ice-cold Grain Belt beers while watching the grill master turn out burger after burger.

It was a cool experience, and this is why I love to eat when I travel.

Matt’s Bar Menu

Matt's Bar menu
Matt’s Bar menu

The Matt’s Bar menu was simple: burgers, a grilled cheese sandwich, a chicken sandwich, ham and cheese, and french fries.

At the top of the menu, the Jucy Lucy, and this is what you want to order.

The service can be slow since you are at a dive bar. But the workers are friendly, so be patient.

With all burgers made to order, you can expect about a 20 minute wait before your food is ready. I knew this beforehand.

With this extra time, I enjoyed a few cold beers while watching the chef at work.

Remember to leave your credit cards at home to keep with the dive bar theme. The place only accepted cold, hard cash.

Photo on the wall of President Obama visiting
Photo on the wall of President Obama visiting Matt’s Bar

Politics aside, it was cool that the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, would visit Matt’s Bar.

I could only imagine what the people inside the restaurant thought the day they saw the President walk into the bar and eat a Jucy Lucy. It must have been a surreal experience and a great story.

Jucy Lucy

This is what you want to come here for.  The Jucy Lucy at Matt's Bar, Minneapolis, MN.
This is what you want to come here for. The Jucy Lucy.

I want to get this out of the way right now. The Jucy Lucy ($9.75) at Matt’s Bar was not the best burger I have ever had.

But, it was one of the best burger experiences I have ever had and one that I recommend to any traveler to Minneapolis.

The Jucy Lucy served here was anything but fancy. After being taken off the grill, the seared patty was placed between two lightly warmed white buns, topped with grilled onions and pickles, then placed inside white parchment paper.

You won’t find plates or utensils at Matt’s Bar, so be prepared to get your hands messy.

The best part was picking up the perfectly charred burger and taking my first bite. All the fantastic cheesy goodness and juices oozed right out.

Be careful when biting your burger. The cheese will be scalding and easily spill all over your clothes. If you are not careful, this could ruin your day.

The burger was cheesy, greasy, and smoky from the perfect char. I loved how I could taste the burger since it was only lightly seasoned with salt and pepper and diced grilled onions on top.

For all the other Jucy Lucy restaurants, all I can say is, “often imitated, never duplicated.”

1/2 Order of Fries

On the side was a 1/2 order of fries ($5.95). The fries, which were fried and lightly seasoned right before my eyes, were seasoned well, greasy, thin, and crispy.

I couldn’t tell if they were frozen when placed in the fryer, but either way, they paired well with the burger and beer. They were nothing spectacular, but I still ate them all.

I’m glad I was hungry, though. The half-order of fries was enough to feed two people. I could only imagine how big the regular-size French fries were.

Service at Matt’s Bar

Service was slow, but all the servers were friendly. Be patient with your food, have a cold beer, and enjoy life.


I will always wonder if Matt’s Bar or 5-8 Club invented the original Jucy Lucy or Juicy Lucy. But all that matters to me is how the food tastes.

There’s just something about a Jucy Lucy at Matt’s Bar. Greasy, cheesy, and delicious. What more can you ask for?

Don’t come to Matt’s Bar excepting the best burger in the world. Instead, come here for the friendly servers, the food, and the atmosphere.


  • Original and delicious Jucy Lucy
  • Friendly staff
  • Food cooked to order
  • Great beer selection
  • Great dive bar atmosphere


  • Cash only
  • Line for tables can be long, especially on weekends
  • Service was a little on the slower side
  • Food served until 10:15 PM
  • I thought the half order of french fries at $5.95 was overpriced


Monday - Sunday: 11:00 AM - 11:00 PM


3500 Cedar Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55407
GPS Coordinates: 44.939429,-93.247539



Last Updated on May 2, 2024

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My name is Anthony and I am addicted to traveling all around the world experiencing new people, cultures, and foods. These are some of my stories.