Previously, on Burger Friday at StarTribune.com/burger:
Yes, the namesake menu item at the Anchor Fish & Chips (302 13th Av. NE., Mpls., 612-676-1300, www.theanchorfishandchips.com) is all that. But sometimes the Burger Siren calls, and when she does, this perennially popular Northeaster knows how to answer, with a blue-collar kind of burger: a brawny, third-pound-er of grass-fed beef, grilled to succulent medium-rare ($9.50, with fries). A fancier version ($12.50, with fries) is jazzed with just enough bells and whistles (white Cheddar, a fried egg, a slice of fried ham) to keep it interesting without betraying its working-class bona fides.
The quick-service burger ($5.50 and up) at Bread & Pickle (4135 W. Lake Harriet Pkwy., Mpls., www.breadandpickle.com) pays far more attention to detail than its McDonald's/Wendy's/Hardee's brethren, using premium beef, a fine New French Bakery bun and plenty of fresh, flavorful garnishes. Hurry in before the seasonal lakeside restaurant closes for the season.
The granddaddy of upscale sliders ($8.50) continues to impress at Bar Lurcat (1624 Harmon Place, Mpls., 612-486-5500, www.cafelurcat.com), where chef Adam King incorporates plenty of butter, onions and thyme into each juicy patty, dressing them with slow-cooked shallots and parsley and sending them out, two to a serving, on flavorful potato rolls.
Be'wiched Deli (800 Washington Av. N., Mpls., 612-767-4330, www.bewicheddeli.com) chefs/co-owners Mike Ryan and Matt Bickford craft an eye-catching and imaginative meat-free burger ($6.50) that hurls its competitors into a shame spiral. The duo goes to tremendous lengths to insert flavor and texture elements, blending roasted and grated red beets, raw carrots, quinoa and aromatic steel-cut oats, slipping it into an onion-topped house-baked roll. Garnishes include roasted garlic paste and garden-fresh greens tossed in a mild citrus vinaigrette. No fries; instead, the kitchen sends out what Ryan describes as a "teaser" portion of its outstanding potato salad.
The beef-avoiding subset of the burger-loving population will fall all over the extraordinary turkey burger ($13, with fries) at Craftsman (4300 E. Lake St., Mpls., 612-722-0175, www.craftsmanrestaurant.com). Chef Ben Jacoby grinds dark and white cuts, folding in eggs, plenty of fresh thyme, breadcrumbs and mellow, butter-soaked slow-cooked onions, hand-forming the mixture into tender, fall-apart patties that get a crispy, tantalizingly browned pan sear. Toss on a riot of microgreens and a generous swipe of aioli and add a darkly grilled bun, and say hello to a signature dish. "It was on the menu when I got here seven years ago," said Jacoby. "We're still making it pretty much the same way. People keep coming back for it. It's one of those items that we can never take off the menu."
Gather (1750 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls., 612-253-3410, www.gatherbydamico.com) chef Josh Brown fattens bison's naturally lean profile with slow-cooked onions, Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Two key garnishes — lemony aioli and the runny yolk of a fried egg — boost the juiciness even more. A toasted pretzel bun is the perfect gift wrap for this most artful of burgers ($13), served only at lunch.
Sun Street Breads (4600 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls., 612-354-3514, www.sunstreetbreads.com) has the great-burgers-require-great-burger-buns equation down to an art form. The patty is similarly first-rate, a house-ground mix of tri-tip, chuck and beef fat, and the whole shebang ($10.75, with fries) is served with a generous handful of hand-cut, skin-on fries. Extra incentive: Buy a burger, and the price of a beer is cut in half.
Finally, after running the kitchen at his Modern Cafe (337 13th Av. NE., Mpls., 612-378-9882, www.moderncafeminneapolis.com) for the past 2½ years, co-owner Jim Grell recently put a new chef at the helm: Bachelor Farmer vet Taelyn Lang. A new chef means a new burger, different from the one I raved about on the blog in June. The newcomer ($13, with fries) is garnished with pineapple, ham, Swiss and mayo (no wonder Lang calls it the "Big Kahuna Burger"), and if it's anything like its predecessor, it has to be a doozy.