Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Home of the Juicy Lucy

In 1954 a customer at Matt’s Bar in Minneapolis walked in and asked owner Matt Bristol to sandwich a piece of cheese between two burger patties before cooking it. After taking his first bite and having cheese ooze out, the customer is said to exclaim, “That’s one juicy lucy.” With that, a Minneapolis tradition was born. It should however be noted that long time rival for the best JL, The 5 – 8 Club also lays claim to the invention. Not only do they not agree on who invented it, they can’t agree on what cheese to use (Matt’s is American ONLY whereas 5 – 8 has options). Heck, they can’t even agree on the spelling. With Matt’s spelling it “Jucy Lucy.” 5 – 8 will tell you that “If it’s spelled right, it’s made right.”
BM LogoThe Lucy has spread it’s tentacles out from the Twin Cities over the last decade or so. It’s made its way over seas and caught the attention of gym teacher by day and burger guru by night, Mohammed “Big Moe” Saleh. Together with his sister, Naticia, they are faces of the 2 burger shops in Toronto’s east end that clain to be the “Home of the Juicy Lucy.”
Big Moe’s has brought a bit of a fair flare to the business. Carnival treats like Funnel Cakes and Tornado Dogs (available on the summer menu) round out the menu and add to the fun. They’re also experimenting with Waffle Fries for the upcoming season. 
They're grinding their own beef in house that is brought in fresh daily from a Halal butcher. Being Halal also means there are no pork products. So don't go asking for bacon. They are experimenting with cow bacon though. 
Big Moe's WardenIn an area that’s got it’s (and a few other city’s) share of shawarma places having a burger joint is a nice change of pace. The mid Scarborough restaurant occupies a corner unit in a small plaza and the bold sky blue colour really attracts attention from the road.
Big Moe's interiorThe inside is somewhat spartan and bathed in natural light. Those large windows allow the place to be flooded during the day time. There’s seating enough for about a couple dozen and there’s both and open kitchen where the final cooking is done and a back kitchen where all the prep work happens. Including freshly grinding their own beef.
So let’s get a look at what Big Moe has coming out of his kitchen.
Juicy Lucy (2)When you claim to be the home of the Juicy Lucy (in TO anyway) you'd better make a good one. Moe's does. This incarnation uses American cheese and it works well. There's a good amount that counters the beef without being lost or dominating. The crust created by the flat top adds a nice bit of crunch. The only real drawback with this burger is the beef on either side of the cheese is thin and tends to get over cooked. This one was fine but if the cook doesn’t know what they’re doing, you end up with a patty just this side of descicated. One other small defect was the bun was just slightly too big. Said bun is terrific though. Very light and mild in flavour that’s buttered and grilled on the flat top.
Double CheeseburgerWhile the Lucy is nice to have once in a while the Cheeseburger is really where it's at. This double is pretty close to everything you could want in a burger. The meat is very beefy and as I said above, the bun is perfect. The choice of American cheese is nice as it's the default cheese for these types of burgers. Where this becomes more than just a good, homemade burger is the cooking. The flattop adds the crust for added flavour and texture. The edges in particular were very crispy and it all adds up to one fantastic sandwich. One of the better ones the city has to offer. As you can see by the picture, the bun is a better fit here.
Tornado PotatoThe Tornado Potato is excellent. A spiral cut tater skewered and deep fried. Being a real potato it of course has good tuber flavour and deep frying it like they do it gets nice crisp edges and a soft middle. It comes with S & P which I though could've been heavier handed but you can always add more at the table. One of the great things is they offer a cayenne pepper shaker as well and that really took this to another level. I just thoroughly enjoyed it.
FriesNot to be outdone, the fresh cut fries are fantastic as well. Not quite as crispy (but crispy enough) as some of the other fresh cut speciemens I've had at the new burger places but no less tasty. First off you need a good potato. Secondly, cook them properly. Lastly, but certainly not leastly (huh??) season them properly. On that last part in particular, they nailed it. Exactly the right amount of salt for my tastes.
Funnel CakesIf you have room for dessert they offer up some tasty Funnel Cakes. Something similar to pancake batter deep fried, topped with icing sugar and other, assorted condiments. I opted to keep it simple and went with just plain strawberry syrup and it was great. The syrup had a nice taste from the berries and while sweet, I didn't think it was cloyingly so. These come in 2 sizes with the smaller 6" variety more than enough for a single person. I barely got through half.
So there you have it folks, another great burger joint in a city that’s come a long way in the hamburger department over the last few years.
You can find Big Moe’s at 1961 Lawrence, Ave. E in Scarborough, On.

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You can also find them at 3517 Kennedy Rd, Scarborough, On. as well as on facebook.
Big Moe's on Urbanspoon
Well that’s all for now folks, see ya next time in the food court.


  1. I'm sorry Davwud (and Mohamed) but the Juicy Lucy was pretty bad. Why do I want to eat a burger that squirts molten cheese when I bite into it? The cheese also boils the meat from the inside, while the outside is overcooked. I gotta say, the only thing going for this place is the Funnel Cakes. I've been looking for a funnel cake place in the city for a long time and now I have found it. They should stick to ONLY making funnel cakes. Sorry.

  2. After re reading my comments on the JL I feel I must have been in a good mood when I wrote it. The one I tried, while as described, was disappointing.
    I wouldn't order it again and to be honest, I don't think I'd order one anywhere outside Minneapolis.
    I will stand 100% behind my assessment of the Double Cheeseburger as I had 3 over the course of 3 weeks and loved them all.