They say the definition of insanity is "doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results." So, when I say I ran an absolute tub-fart of a 10K last Saturday, sulked about it for a good hour, then took my wife to the home of the Twin Cities' best trashy burger, does that make me ...
Anyway, before I get started on B-52 Burgers and Brew, let's get a couple of things out of the way right now:
The Basics: Inver Grove Heights isn't that far from the Cities, okay? Just get to Highway 52 and head south. Take the 55th St. exit and you'll find B-52 tucked between an AmericInn, a Country Inn ... and a Microtel. You can find their website right here. If you can't navigate this user-friendly site, you probably won't find the restaurant anyway.
Their cream cheese fried pickle burger won Best Trashy Burger honors this year by Mpls/St. Paul Magazine.
The aviary theme isn't enforced on the outside. Instead, a brick and concrete body give this eatery the facade of a modern fortress. The rugged red shields on the front face and armed forces flags flying overhead are almost intimidating. You don't see many "big, bad" buildings anymore, but I'll tell you: The wolf ain't blowing this sumbitch over.
Step inside and the interior falls in line with your expectations. It's basically an Applebee's re-designed by an air squadron. Four big screens cover the main wall of the dining area; otherwise, you've got crusty green walls studded with beer signs, jet wings, and cuppy redheads. Don't get freaked out; I don't recall any having been less dressed than the one pictured above.
We were sat in a corner-style booth with a Busch Light sticker slapped on the surface - most of it, anyway, as the corners were starting to peel. Our waitress would eventually explain, "You'll need the extra space."
She'd be right in the end.
Our menus were picked up and set down in seconds. My wife called for the Bar Food Burger, a calorie-hoarder about which MSP Mag wrote: "If you're really trashtacular, you might try the Bar Food Burger ..."
Mother Of All Burgers. Are you seated? No full cups or breakables nearby?
It's four cheeseburgers, onion straws, bacon, shredded pork, and two eggs. They don't even bother trying to fit this onto a bun. Instead, it's a 15-inch French loaf. Imagine the love child of a Helicopter Burger and a full-sized Hugo's club sub. So moved by it was Thrillist, they named it the most epic burger in America.
It's technically a challenge but, as the waitress said, "Most people don't finish it. They're just buying their groceries for the week."
The food, considering what I had ordered, arrived in good time. And WOW! The M.O.A.B. and its accompaniments gobbled up half the table and set off a 5-minute photo shoot. When feeding time began, I lifted "the mouth end" with my left hand and slid my right under the center (be damned if I was going to cut this). I then used both hands to guide the sandwich toward my mouth. It was almost like pointing a
rifle cannon into my mouth.
It tasted HUMONGOUS! Forget Prix Fixe or Charcuterie whatever: Sometimes, being 15 inches long and tasting like hambeggonpork is delightful enough. Having said that, make sure you've got ketchup nearby - the consortium of medium-cooked hamburger, toasted bread, and pork is a dry one. Otherwise, enjoy some choice meats and facial stretch marks. I made it about halfway before tapping.
Don't get up yet. Here's what greeted my wife beneath her branded top bun: Waffle fries, bacon, cheese curds, fried pickle chips, onion straws, and nacho cheese. Add points for the awesome bun brand. Add more points because it tasted like a Saturday night on Tower Avenue. Succulent yet scuzzy, it's a thrill ride for the palate when warm that takes a nosedive should you fail to finish before it cools off. It is bar food, after all.
I chopped up the M.O.A.B.'s remainder and boxed it. Want some cheap work lunches? This sandwich is only $22. The Bar Food was $11. Through the whole battle, our waitress was on-point and polite.
B-52 proves junkyard chic is still in style. If you're lacking a Vincent Francoual or Erick Harcey in the back, the next-best direction is loading up the ferries with all the ammo you can fit on it. And who would you trust with that strategy better than a concrete castle with pinups all over the inside? If you're on the east side, or you can reach the east side without a road-rage-induced homicide, you're already behind if you haven't been to B-52 yet.
You'd be crazy to eat something like this, but ... I mean, you'd be crazy not to.