The time has come for us to admit what you already know: this burger tour isn’t just about the burgers. It never was. We’re not claiming it has devolved entirely into a “Good Beers and Cool Place That Hopefully Serves Burgers Tour”…but that’s not too far off.
This admission explains why our tour stops haven’t necessarily been the award-winning burger joints. It explains why Lion’s Tap probably won’t appear on this list. It explains why we won’t be visiting Snuffy’s Malt Shop or anything of its ilk.
It explains why we went to Mac’s Industrial Bar.
Mac’s is located in NE Minneapolis, just a few blocks from The Bulldog and Whitey’s. It is a mid-sized, older neighborhood-type bar, complete with darts and pinball and a jukebox. Plenty of locals. Lots of TVs. Trivia on Thursdays. Dig it.
(I wasn’t paying attention when trivia started and didn’t know we were supposed to be writing our answers down, so when the host asked “What location did James Taylor sing that he was going to ‘in his mind’?” I shouted “CAROLINA!” at the top of my lungs. I was immediately met with loud, angry boos from the crowd and the host said, into his mic, “You are a douchebag.” Not my finest moment.)
One of Mac’s best assets is their beer list, which is heaven for beer snobs like Mike and me. Surly, Fulton’s, Cane & Ebel, Magic Hat and Founders are just a few of their many rotating taps. Mike and I indulged in too many of these fancy beers simply out of necessity. It’s not like we had a choice in the matter. They’ve got Mojo Risin’ here. What am I going to do, not order one?
The nice thing about the tour’s lesser focus on the burger is that we can tone down our expectations. Mac’s could have been microwaving Market Pantry patties for all we knew. We were flying blind.
With that in mind, the quality of the burger was a pleasant surprise. We graded it a solid B across the board: flavor of beef, toppings, bun and presentation. Perfect size. Perfectly cooked. You could do a hell of a lot worse than a Mac’s burger.
Further food observations:
— The fries gain points for flavor – you can order ranch or Cajun – but failed badly in the “push test,” which proved many of the fries were far too flaccid. Note to all cooks: no one on the planet enjoys soggy french fries. No one.
— If we were on a Wings Tour, Mac’s would currently sit atop the list with their grand marnier wings. Near perfection.
All in all, a fun time was had at the underrated Mac’s Industrial. Any place that offers solid beer options, good food and entertainment in a comfortable setting is a place after our hearts. We will return soon.
VENUE: B+ // BURGER: B
1b. Five Guys
3. The Bulldog
5. Mac’s Industrial
6. Burger Jones
7. Monte Carlo