Where and What to Eat

City Lunch: The Lowry’s Short Rib & Chuck Burger

City Lunch: The Lowry’s Short Rib & Chuck Burger
Photo by Katherine Harris
Can a “celebrity” East Coast butcher make a good local burger?

True burger freaks may be the only ones who know it, but our shores are being invaded by über-butcher (and Food Network star; see Meat Men) Pat LaFrieda of North Bergen, New Jersey. LaFrieda created Shake Shack’s ground beef mix, which propelled him into a New York City food icon, his name (and custom grinds) showing up on the best menus in the tri-state area.

Turns out national wholesaler US Foods exclusively markets a LaFrieda ground beef in the provinces. It’s a mainstay on the menu at Blue Plate Restaurant Co.’s Highland Grill and The Lowry, offered at an ambitious $15 a burger. “I’d been tracking that cat [LaFrieda] in the trades,” says Blue Plate co-owner David Burley, who says he can’t create a custom grind of LaFrieda’s quality at US Foods’ price.

LaFrieda’s meat is coarsely ground and arrives here fresh, not frozen. As for Lowry’s eight-ounce burger, it is intensely beefy and minerally, though leaner than you’d imagine. The croissant bun and field greens are a bit genteel for something this redolent of slaughterhouse. I’d add a slice of cheese, leave the house seasoning off the fries, and ponder the question of whether this particular burger is too New Jersey for hipsters.

The Lowry
2112 Hennepin Ave., Mpls.

The Highland Grill
771 Cleveland Ave. S.,St. Paul