The space B-52 Burgers and Brew operates in isn’t so much a building as it is a fortress. It’s made of concrete and brick, and looks huge. The restaurant’s name is posted in big red shields, and the front entry vaguely resembles a gate. You could easily picture a band of mischievous Frenchmen launching a cow off the roof at you, just as you could imagine the Bowser castle music from the original Super Mario Bros. firing up once you’re inside. It’s hard not to walk into a place like this and think, “All right, let’s do this!”
And believe me, there’s plenty to do. The B-52 burger menu has a gaming binge weekend’s worth of boss fights for the adventurous eater. Do you want the Bar Food Burger, the one piled comically high with deep-fried appetizers and nacho cheese? How about the Carlton Burger, which just won People’s Choice at this year’s Twin Cities Burger Battle? There’s the Biker Burger, oft-overlooked despite an ingredients list that includes red wine and whiskey. And there’s the Mother Of All Burgers: a 15-inch, four-patty gauntlet you’ll win a T-shirt for taking down in under an hour. I stepped to it back in 2013 and failed spectacularly.
If you ever looked at the menu and thought, “Okay, but where’s the spice bomb?” it’s time you saw the new menu. The headline is sure to catch you: HOTTEST BURGER EVER FEATURED ON MENU. Should that somehow not, the Targaryen family crest surely will.
The hottest burger ever featured on B-52’s menu is called Dracarys, and this new cheeseburger executes its command to the letter.
B-52 Burgers and Brew has seen its legend grow far beyond its postal code since opening in 2011. Before winning People’s Choice with the Carlton Burger this year, they won Judges’ Choice at the inaugural Twin Cities Burger Battle in 2014. I said in my Burger Battle recap that any conversation about great Twin Cities burgers must include B-52 Burgers and Brew. This team is playing in its own league.
Dracarys flies out of the kitchen serried with meaty heft and scorching pepper heat: pickled habanero bits, ghost pepper cheese, ghost pepper strawberry sauce, marked with an X of candied bacon strips. Yes, it’s hot. It’s not a challenge, and I don’t think you’ll treat it like one. You’ll conquer it – I believe in you – but you’ll want this one again.
I really liked the Carlton Burger: Gruyere and arugula cheese, jalapeno bacon jam, and herb mayonnaise. Smooth and mellow. A friend had this on her first-ever visit and said, “It was really good, and it didn’t leave me feeling like I made a poor decision because it had something green on it!” Hers had a rogue leaf of lettuce.
Elsewhere on the menu is a Cheese Curd Burger with bacon, aioli, and a helping of cheese curds that might even leave a Wisconsinite shell-shocked. I swear, I counted a dozen curds on mine. Should one of my good friends at Mousehouse Cheesehouse get a hold of one, they might gather an army and try to invade. Good thing the B-52 team built a fortress to serve it in.
Elsewhere, the chicken wings are not to be slept on. Skewers of bacon-wrapped cheese curds punch well above their weight class. I chuckled, too, when I saw the serving; but I wasn’t laughing when I tried to get back up from my seat afterward. They’ve got sandwiches, cuts of meat, and Bar Food Burger toppings can be ordered in appetizer-sized quantities. With eight salads on the menu, B-52 is sure to satisfy the serial killer.
B-52 Burgers and Brew is a sports bar, and SPORTS you will have. Big televisions dominate a wall in the dining room, and smaller TVs hang throughout the place. If a Minnesota sports team is playing, that’s obviously on. Another game of someone’s choosing will also be shown, probably. Advertisements of the restaurant’s various specials and nightly events flash on smaller screens. It’s not noisy, though. The friend we came with was rather soft-spoken, and we had no trouble hearing each other at our table.
Last year, they opened the first patio dining space in Inver Grove Heights. B-52 UP TOP, it’s called. The patio seats 100. It’s well-spaced and comfortable. Not a bad view, either.
B-52 has nightly specials that range from “nice” (10 wings for $7 Wednesday nights; $9.95 fish and chips Friday nights) to “cancel your previous plans” (full rib rack for the price of a half-rack Thursday nights; M.O.A.B., normally $37, is $25 on Sundays). Happy hour runs 3-6 p.m. and 8:30-10:30 p.m. daily. More information can be found on the B-52 website.