Juicy Lucy’s on Carrollton is the most recent addition to the exploding hamburger scene in New Orleans. As the name implies, their focus is on Juicy Lucys, which are burgers stuffed with cheese and other things (cheddar cheese and bacon, pepper jack cheese and jalapenos, etc., etc.). While the Juicy Lucys are the main event, the menu also has non-stuffed burgers, a few cheese boards (plates), and some satay/meat-on-a-stick dishes and a few sides.
As far as burgers go, Juicy Lucys may present a bit of a problem for some of you, particularly for purists (some have called the stuffed burgers, “meatloaf”). In order to get the center of your burger hot and melty, you’re getting a pretty well done burger. While this is unfortunate, it also is a rather common occurrence for burgers around town. What makes this a bigger issue for me is that I didn’t really see where stuffing the burger versus simply topping the burger made a damn bit of difference. I mean anything that is tasty on the inside will be tasty on top and vice versa. The one difference made possible by using the stuffing method is it allows Juicy Lucy’s to take the cheese from melted to molten.
If you can get past the purity arguments for the stuffed burgers, you’ll find that you’re in for a pretty tasty meal. This is particularly the case when you pair it with the kick-ass onion rings, which have been Juicy Lucy’s most talked about item. While the fries or sweet potato fries were tempting, I love onion rings and they do them really well here.
We sat at the bar and service was great. Attentive, friendly and informative, the bartender helped us through the menu, had suggestions and provided an honest opinion when asked.
With a casual, but nice, decor and the burger-laden menu, Juicy Lucy’s is a nice little neighborhood burger joint. Right? Not from what we’ve been told. Look closely at the logo, see what Jessica Rabbit is clutching in her hand? Yup, a glass of wine. We’ve been told that Juicy Lucy’s wants to be a wine and cheese bar that happens to serve burgers. Currently they have about 35 different red wines and about 40 or so different whites. Over the coming months, if things go as planned we’ll be looking at 150 different reds and 100 or so white wines. Which sounds great. I mean, we like wine and we like cheese and we like being able to walk home, so what’s the problem?
I think the problem is, I’m confused. Everything about Juicy Lucy’s screams “quick burger stop.” Nothing, save the wine rack/room I didn’t notice when I walked in, says wine bar. Maybe the execution of this transformation from burger joint to wine and cheese bar will be seamless. Maybe I’m not thinking out the box enough to see the vision clearly. Maybe my standard coupling of beer and burgers isn’t sophisticated enough to “get it.” Or maybe a little bit of all that, and then some.
For now, I’ll take Juicy Lucy’s for what it is, a decent place to grab a burger (and some onion rings) and call it a day.