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Food & Drink

MSP Burgers: Uniting Local Burger Freaks by the Thousands

The booming Facebook group connects cheeseburger lovers from across the state.

MSP Burgers|

Left: Angry Line Cook (top) and Gordy’s Hi-Hat (bottom); middle: Station No. 6; right: Lost Times Tavern (top) and White Squirrel Bar (bottom).

Remember the so-called burger craze of 10 years ago? It never went away. That gooey, crumbly beacon of U.S. food populism is as popular as ever, demanding more space for burger appraisals than our local food/drink media apparatus can support. Luckily there’s a crowd-sourced outlet for limitless, metro-wide cheeseburger dialogue: MSP Burgers.

Now 20,000+ members strong, the five-year-old Facebook group packs an appeal as obvious as a Big Mac’s: burger recommendations, burger photos, and burger reviews, all hashed out among members who, unlike those in many other internet spaces, seem happy to chat and share.     

"Burgers are really accessible; there's no burger in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area that's so expensive that anybody in the group can't go try it,” says MSP Burgers co-admin Jordan Ward, a Prior Lake-based IT pro when he’s not moderating burger chatter. "More or less organically, every step of the way, the burger group just took off and grew without much promotion or us trying to be influencers in any way.”

Ward, a veteran of the local beer group Beer People, says fellow online drinkers noticed the launch of Facebook group MSP Tendies, which encourages members to rate Twin Cities chicken tenders on a one to tendie scale. Other food enthusiast groups began forming with the “MSP [blank]” format, though MSP Burgers eventually gained the most momentum. Ward says the group initially rallied behind some of this town’s most established high-end burgers—Parlour, Revival, Saint Dinette, etc. (He’s partial to the one at Sonder Shaker along E. Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis.) Bebe Zito’s once-buzzy burger took the group by storm, Ward reports, and these days food trucks like Station No. 6 (read our profile here), Angry Line Cook, Salsa Collaborative, and Garillers tend to stir the most excitement. Classics like Gordy's Hi-Hat, Band Box Diner, and Matt's Bar get their hard-won due.

Flashpoints for conflict are rare inside MSP Burgers, Ward says, with the most spirited debate coming from the traditional patty crowd vs. the trendier smashed patty promoters. “No one is ever really that mean… we don't really have to do a lot of moderation other than keeping the spammers and bots out,” he says.       

Snobbery is also in short supply; Culver’s and McDonald’s receive contextual praise every now and then, though Ward says supporting burgers from small businesses is the unspoken norm. Josh Matthews, owner of Station No. 6, said this of the burger group’s impact earlier this year: 

“Every time that I’m going out, slinging burgers, people are throwing posts on the page. Literally every single day since that day. Still. It’s insane. I didn’t know it was going to open up this Pandora’s Box. I know people like their burgers… but I didn’t think it was this culty. There’s literally a cult.”

Ward attributes the slow rise of MSP Burgers, in part, to folks trying to find safe, cheap thrills during the worst of the pandemic. "Going to get a burger during COVID was an event for people, and that probably was a big catalyst,” he obverves. Perhaps coincidentally, the group’s rise has coincided with the popularity of smash burgers and, generally, the practice of cooks elevating the humble foodstuff to cheffy new heights. (Or whatever they’re doing each Friday at 6 Smith in Wayzata…)  

IRL meetups for members of MSP Burgers have yielded inconsistent results. Ward says one gathering drew 60+ folks, while a more recent one attracted less than five. He says the admins will take another stab at it next spring or summer—prime burger weather.

"The world is better when we all break bread, and, ya know, burgers have bread in ‘em,” Ward says with a chuckle. “So let's all get together and break burgers."

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