Review: Best Burgers in the Minneapolis / St. Paul Metro Area

By John, 15 June, 2024

At work we have a Burger Club that is devoted to finding the best burgers in the Twin Cities. We've been at it for a few years now. On a recent Burger Club trip to Chips Clubhouse (my review: it's perfectly fine, grab it if you are in the area, four stars), the waiter there mentioned that the Star Tribune was sending burger reviewers out and he wanted to know if we were affiliated with them. Nope, just a coincidence!

There's a lot of types of burgers, so I am going to split this up into categories. I don't have photos of everything because I just decided to write this off the top of my head. We are supposed to take pictures when we go but I am not good at remembering to do that. 

My criteria for best burger is "Drop everything right now and go get a burger. Where do you go?" 

Best Single Patty Burger

This is your standard, single patty thick burger. Not a smash burger. I'll get into smashburger thoughts later. 

The Nook. With fantastic vibe, the Nook still has the best single patty burger. However, it's only on top by a razor thin technicality. The fries are a disappointment. They switched how they do the fries a few years ago and it's impossible to get fresh ones on the lunch rush. The solution is to order waffle fries, but those are two dollars extra. Still, this is definitely on my "Don't miss" list.

Runners up: 

Groveland Tap. This is a burger spot that was close to my old office location. So I've been there a lot. The standard cheeseburger is very good, and I've never been disappointed by one of their specialty cheeseburgers. I can't quite give it the best because it's just the slightest notch below the Nook, also over the past ten years I've eaten there SO MANY times. Very good Juicy Lucys.

Burger Dive. Another great vibe spot, I've only been there once and I definitely want to try out more of their burger menu.

Brunsons. I enjoyed my burger quite a bit here. Most of the burger club didn't like it, but they ordered the custom grind that was part beef and part thick bacon. I just got the regular burger. Also, other folks mentioned a problem with inconsistent cooks on the burgers. But my first impression was that it was good and I wanted more, so I am sticking with it. 

Best Smash Burger

Okay, first of all, there is a chain of burger places called Smash Burger. My first criteria is, if you have a smash burger on the menu, you have to have something better to offer than whatever I can get from Smash Burger. And Smash Burger is very good! 

Parlor. One problem with Parlor is they have many locations. And the rest of the Burger Club went to the St. Paul location and didn't have a great experience. However, I went to two other locations and had great experiences both times, so I've gotta give them the number one spot. The balance of meat to cheese to seasoning was all perfect. And the thing that Parlor does that is hands down better than anyone else is they get the buns toasted properly. The toasted bun stays crunchy and does not melt or fall apart, and it's a whole extra textural element that stays satisfying throughout. I had a double at the Green Room and a single at Target Center at a Timberwolves game, both great. 

Best Food Truck

Station No. 6. I've had a bit of inconsistency (they forgot the pickles on a McDowell once) but overall their standard double burger is good. Station No. 6 is one of the highest rated burger places we've seen within Burger Club, and at least one of the other folks in Burger Club says its his absolute favorite. 

Best Foofy Weird Burger

Angry Line Cook. this burger truck has a signature burger with pickled fresno peppers that was absolutely amazing, it's one of the burgers I think about the most. I had their standard burger and was less impressed. One caveat, I've never seen a food truck more unprepared for service, one time they couldn't start service when they opened because the card reader was at someone else's house and they had to drive it over. Other folks also mentioned weird menu substitutions when they run out of things, or other delays to service. But honestly, of all of the burgers on this list, the one that I would drop everything to go get is this one. 

Runner up: Red Cow. They have some amazing weird burgers. Like the Barcelona Burger, there are others too, I think I even was looking longingly at the turkey burger at one point, but I haven't tried it yet. The mushroom and swiss is okay. 

Best Classic 1/4 Pound Burger: 

This category is simple: if you transported yourself back in time to the mid 1980's, you're going to get a standard diner burger that's distinctive and different than whatever modern culinary trend folks are going to think up these days. 

Wagner's Drive In. A tiny drive in that could never be built today. It's located in Brooklyn Park, I went here recently and this is my hands down favorite classic burger joint. I had a mushroom and swiss and it was heavenly. Can't wait to go back, and the prices are VERY reasonable. 

Maybe a runners up: Lions Tap. I had a bad experience years ago (the burger just didn't taste right) and haven't been back, but I've been reading reviews and maybe I just went on a bad day.