League of Champions

These all-time iconic greats have earned their place at the top by being the best for years. Is there room for one more?

  • Kings Place
  • Casper's & Runyon's Nook
  • Convention Grill
  • Vincent A Restaurant
  • 5-8 Club
  • Matt's Bar
  • 112 Eatery
  • Blue Door Pub
  • Lions Tap

Kings Place

In tiny Miesville, Kings goes way beyond the nature of small-town limits. Its stacked patties come in more than 50 variations, topped with all manner of things such as hot dogs, eggs, hot sauce, sauerkraut, cottage cheese, grape jelly, you name it. 14460 E. 240th St., Miesville, 651-437-1418,

Casper's & Runyon's Nook

The burgers are about as famous as the St. Paul icons who eat them. The beef is exclusive, a proprietary grind of Black Angus chuck sold nowhere else, and the burgers are hometown proud: Mauer, Molitor, and Birk all have burger namesakes. 492 Hamline Ave. S., St. Paul, 651-698-4347,

Convention Grill

With all the fancified burgers stealing the limelight, it’s easy to forget how simple the balance of a good flat-top griddled burger can be with a slice of American cheese melting down. Couple it with fries and a shake, and you remember simpler times, even if you never had them. 3912 Sunnyside Rd., Edina, 952-920-6881,

Vincent A Restaurant

On first blush, this is a simple burger sitting innocently on the bar menu of one of the best French restaurants in town. But this is no token burger. Stuffed with slowly braised beef short rib and melty morsels of smoked Gouda, it’s a gift of a burger, it’s the Statue of Liberty. 1100 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., 612-630-1189,

5-8 Club

All the burgers are two-handed luscious bombs of happiness, but it’s the top-contending Juicy Lucy that really garners loyalists for the spot: The half-pound burger is decadently stuffed with a generous hunk of American cheese that oozes forth at first bite. Three metro locations,

Matt's Bar

The corner dive that became a nationally televised burger legend has lines out the door. The Jucy Lucy sets the bar with two pinched patties surrounding a pocket of molten cheese, not so much that it floods the burger, but just enough to keep it moist and tender, the perfect meat-to-cheese ratio. 3500 Cedar Ave. S., Mpls., 612-722-7072,

112 Eatery

Taking the humble burger to higher standards, chef Isaac Becker celebrates ingredients with a densely beefy grind riddled with herbs and onions, crowned with creamy-rich Brie cheese that melts down smoothly into the buttery English muffin bun. The best kitchen-side late-night eating in the city. 112 N. 3rd St., Mpls., 612-343-7696,

Blue Door Pub

These young bucks have taken the local Lucy tradition and turned it up to 11. The original Blucy is one for the books, with bleu cheese and garlic stuffed into perfectly pinched patties. Did Blue Door Pub also locally pioneer peanut butter on a burger in the umami-loving Jiffy burger? Yes, yes it did. 1811 Selby Ave., St. Paul, 651-493-1865; 3448 42nd Ave. S., Mpls., 612-315-2470,

Lions Tap

For more than 35 years, fresh, hand-formed patties have hit the flat-top at Lions Tap. They don’t get too gussied up with fancy toppings. Rather, they are the essence of the honest burger executed perfectly. The double California is a sight that awes: two stacked patties balanced by the classic fixings. You’ll have to “Scooby” it (giving it an accordion smash) to fit in a bite. 16180 Flying Cloud Dr., Eden Prairie, 952-934-5299,

The Contenders: The Best of the TC

Which of these great burgers will make its way into the Burger League of Champions?