You might think the host of Bizarre Foods America would have some wacky ideas when it comes to burgers. After all, this is the guy who has eaten everything from baked muskrat in Baltimore to pork brain sandwiches in Louisville. But, when it comes to burgers, Andrew Zimmern is a purist who loves an extra-fatty burger (25 percent fat, as opposed to the standard 20), with freshly-ground beef cooked on a flat top.
Here's how he describes his ideal burger:
I like mine plain and simple. Burger, ketchup on side. Sometimes I get crazy and do a super ripe tomato slice with red onion. Maybe a little onion charred on the outside of the patty. Sometimes I put the mint coleslaw from my truck on my burger... I'm into classics and I want the meat to be the star.
His food truck, AZ Canteen, is where you'll find a creation more befitting Zimmern's embrace of the exotic: the cabrito butter burger. It's made from a custom blend of goat meat from Pat LaFrieda, topped with grilled onions and tomatoes, and served on a soft pretzel milk bun. He genuinely feels it's one of the best in Minneapolis.
As for burgers in Minneapolis that he isn't personally associated with, Zimmern selected five burgers that, for the most part, are fairy classic. Scroll down to see all of his top picks.
1. Vincent: The Juicy Lucy gets a luxe makeover at Vincent Francoual's eponymous restaurant. Think pulled beef short ribs and smoked Gouda stuffed in a burger, topped with lettuce and tomato on a brioche bun and served with a secret sauce that'll knock your socks off.
1100 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis MN 55403 (map); 612-630-1189; vincentarestaurant.com
2. Victory 44: What Erick Harcey does at Victory 44 is nothing short of brilliance. A perfect blend of beef and pork, fired on a flattop grill (my personal preference, sorry all you charcoal grilling enthusiasts), dressed up in Dijionnaise, pickles, bacon and American cheese and served on a soft brioche bun. Heaven.
2203 N 44th Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55412 (map); 612-588-2228; victory-44.com
3. 5-8 Club: We Minnesotans love to debate who does the Jucy Lucy (or is it a Juicy Lucy) best: Matt's or the 5-8 Club. I really want to say Matt's. After all, it's the quintessential dive bar: no frills, crabby waitresses, no ice (seriously, no ice). But I think 5-8 does the superior Juicy Lucy. A half-pound burger stuffed with a molten-hot cheese center (I like mine with American cheese, an oldie but a goodie), you will not be disappointed.
112 N 3rd Street, Minneapolis MN 55401 (map); 612-823-5858;
4. 112 Eatery: In the hands of Isaac Becker, an English muffin, brie, and perfectly seasoned patty is simply magical. Best part—they're open late, so upgrade your post-show meal from slice of pizza to this beaut.
112 N 3rd Street, Minneapolis MN 55401 (map); 612-343-7696; 112eatery.com
5. Tilia: With so many stellar items on Tilia's menu, ordering the burger seems boring. It isn't. Steven Brown's bacon cheeseburger, topped with lettuce, tomato and pickle mayo, makes a normally plain-Jane burger guy like me swoon.
2726 W 43rd Street, Minneapolis MN 55410 (map); 612-354-2806; tiliampls.com