“What’s your favorite burger?”
I’ve got an answer for every way a person could ask at this point. If you’re just talkin’ Cities, I’m talkin’ Vincent Burger. Give me the world and I’ll gush about Gronk’s Grill and Bar, the bacon cheesy cheese, and how you simply must get a side of beer cheese spread with it. I’ll probably tell you the story about my first Perfect Burger, back when Victory 44 was still open. This blog exists in large part because of it.
But should the conversation turn to just one – one moment, one cheeseburger, setting aside the rest of a lifetime full of them – this one Chubby Cheddar from this one afternoon at the Uptown Burger Jones sneaks into the penthouse. I’ll struggle to articulate the heavenly harmony formed that day by a molten flow of just right cheddar cheese and a just right pile of mushrooms. I’ll work through that, and wonder aloud if that was the best one of ’em all.
It happened nearly 10 years ago now, but I still remember a lot about that day. I was sitting at the bar with my buddy Ducky, it was “nice” but not “patio nice,” probably autumn, and the barkeep suggested I add mushrooms when I ordered my burger.
Tell me: if someone didn’t know suggested you add mushrooms to your food, what would you think of that person? The only time I just out of nowhere added mushrooms to something, it was a macaroni bake and I almost killed my brother-in-law (he’s allergic). But there it was, a Belichickian chess move that unlocked a cheeseburger’s next level.
But Burger Jones? Yeah. You’ll probably look surprised and I’ll probably sound surprised, but that’s how it is sometimes. It only takes one.
Burger Jones turned 10 years old earlier this year. If you know Burger Jones but you haven’t yet been, you’re at least aware of their next-of-kin-stressing food challenge, Meat Your Maker. You could watch its Food Network segment in less time than it would take for me to type out all of its toppings, so do that. Even before my doctor threw me in Cholesterol Jail, I wouldn’t have stepped to this monster.
You’ll find Burger Jones within the westernmost reaches of Uptown, just a couple of blocks north of Lake Bde Maka Ska. They roll with the Parasole Restaurant Group, the party also responsible for the edible flaming science projects at Chino Latino; the $118 Bludgeon of Beef at Manny’s Steakhouse; the highly-alcoholic Hop, Skip, and Go Naked cocktail on the Libertine rooftop (you’re only allowed two per visit); and the tripled triple cheeseburger I once erected at Pittsburgh Blue.
A Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine Burger Fight victory from back in 2011 is still boasted about on the Burger Jones website, but a recent visit to the Uptown Jones suggests they haven’t done much to build on that glory.
What you see now is a burger menu that might have been edgy back in 2011, but has since become run-of-the-mill: a black and bleu, a yolksplosion hangover burger, a salsa/pepperjack spicy-ish thing, a so-called “Bacon-gasm,” a white trash burger, and a patty melt. There are black bean, turkey, and bison burgers, too. When you read the menu in person, you’ll probably do so with a straight face throughout. Specialty burgers run between $11-15.
But they still have the Chubby Cheddar, and that’s good enough for me. Its smoky, sharp cheddar and brothy, savory mushrooms offered a faint reminder of that unicorn ride so long ago – but only a faint one. It wasn’t a pile of mushrooms, but exactly the 50-cent portion I paid for. There was less cheese than I recall, too. During some bites, I wondered what happened – but during other bites, I was reminded that it happened. I don’t know how I’d grade this burger if I didn’t have the memory with it; but with it, this was a pretty good burger.
The White Trash Burger is probably the most fun you’ll have on this menu. A lot of burgers have bacon, but how many have chicken-fried bacon? The menu doesn’t say “plenty of cheese curds,” but there are plenty of cheese curds; the menu says “plenty of Velveeta,” then gives you about half what you’d expect. We agreed this was also a pretty good burger.
You can get this burger “double-wide” for a $4 upcharge, and add a PBR tallboy for $3 more.
A seat on the patio must come with a milkshake, boozy or otherwise. If you like orange creamsicles, you’ll probably enjoy the Orange Dreamsicle shake. You probably won’t be too fond of plucking clementine slices out of your drink, but you’ll probably enjoy everything else. If mint-laced chocolates or Thin Mints are your thing, the Dirty Den Mother is your drink. The shakes are smooth from the get-go, tasty throughout, and they’re not boozy in that “Hashtag Sunday Funday” gimmicky way. Even if you don’t come hungry, the shakes can make a sit-down on Burger Jones’ patio a net plus by themselves.
The patio is unexpectedly pleasant given its proximity to the bass thumps and laid-on horns of Lake Ave. Service was great, and there’s a little menu for dogs. There’s a Burger Jones in Burnsville, too, if you’re down that way. I wouldn’t send you there expecting that burger, but I’d send you there knowing it could be.