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Wild Goose Chase

July 13, 2013

There is a restaurant that I have been going to all my life.  Well.  “Restaurant” might be a stretch.  It is more of a dive.  A joint.  It has not been remodeled–ever.  It still has the textured wallpaper that looks like it is little pillows of vinyl, until you touch it.  It is just flat, no puff pillows with no button in the middle.  I touch the wallpaper, if we are near it, every time I go there.  This Dive-Bar is called Matt’s Bar.  It is famous for its Jucy-Lucys, and serves the best french fries to boot.  The Jucy Lucy burger is two thin hamburger patties with cheese in the middle,  the patties are pinched together around the edges.  It is sort of like a Bismarck doughnut except with hamburgers.  My dad used to live in one of the houses around Matt’s.  He used to go there and study when he was in college.  I remember sitting on the bar stools when we used to go there for dinner.  My family got a table, and I sat at the bar by myself.  I was a weird child.

Yesterday, two things happened.  Nicholas saw the magnet on our refrigerator that celebrates Matt’s existence, and said to me, “Matt’s.  We haven’t been there in a long time!”  I told him to talk to his father.  Secondly, Jeff was reading a Food and Wine (Aug. 2013) magazine that ranked Matt’s as one of the best twenty burgers in America.  It was a reader poll.  It came in at number 12.  Well, you can’t ignore two signs from above, can you?

Today it was decided that we would go to Matt’s for lunch.  The last several times we have made the trek into Minneapolis to eat there, the line has been out the door.  There are things you should know about Matt’s.  There are expectations of the customer.  It is old school, and doesn’t cater to mamby-pambys who have demands.  The customer conforms to how Matt’s is run.  There is no ice at Matt’s.  There is also no silverware and no plates.  Even if you ask.  And, they don’t take names at the door, or reservations.  You come, if there is no table, you stand and wait for a table to open up.  Period.  There are very few restaurants left with these old school values.  And people still go and stand in line.  If there is a line, unless you are the first ones in line, you can wait a long time.  We have done it.  We aren’t really interested in doing it again.  Therefore, when we drive up to the corner, if we see a line, we keep on driving.  We thought we would skip the dinner rush, and go for lunch.

When we got off the freeway, we were right by Lake Nokomis.  Matt’s isn’t too far from there, however, there were police cars blocking the road.  We could see that there was some sort of race going on…it turned out to be a triathlon.  We had to figure out a different way to get there.  So, we toured Minneapolis for quite a stretch.  We finally got to a street that we knew would go through, and it was beyond the lake–yay!  There was parking right in front of Matt’s.  I could almost taste the Jucy Lucy!

We got out of the car, ran across the street, flung open the door, and there was the line.  Several people deep.  It was close to 1:30.  We were all hungry.  We left.  We were sad.  We still went out to lunch, but it was nowhere near the caliber of Matt’s.  Matt’s is one of the best in the nation!  And we haven’t been there in a long, long time.  Maybe next time we will have better luck.

  1. July 15, 2013 12:33 pm

    You have to go early! for dinner! :D

  2. July 15, 2013 8:48 pm

    Yes. That failed as well. Even at 5:00. Sheeesh!

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