On Friday I had the pleasure of spending the evening with my parents. They drove down from Washburn to Fargo for my sister’s 30th birthday! One thing she really wanted to do was go to JL Beers. I told my parents we would have better luck going to the West Fargo location since they seat 49 (according to their website, the sign in the restaurant said 72 maximum capacity) versus the downtown Fargo location which seats 24. I also thought if we went at 8pm we might have a better chance of snagging a table for 6 instead of right at 6 or 7 when more people might be eating.
I have been to both locations before and neither one of them disappoints in my opinion. The appeal is the small restaurant which serves only burgers and focuses on beer. There is a limited 1 page menu of burgers and several pages of beers! They also have root beer on tap and fresh cut fried chips.
Of course, I did forget that it was the Minnesota Twins opener that day! I think a lot of Fargoans support the Twins so there were some fans there. Although, the were probably sad because their opponent Toronto was whooping them.
We got a parking spot in the lot and went in to see the seating situation. As expected we did have to wait a while for a table to open up. While waiting, our server asked us if we wanted a beer. My parents weren’t drinking but I asked our waitress for a recommendation for something similar to Blue Moon – light and fruity. She recommended the Widmer Hefeweizen – and I was skeptical. I have a few other Widmer beers before and I didn’t care for them. I wanted to go with the flow though and be adventurous and I said OK. To my surprise she brought over a small pour for me to sample. In my previous trips to JL Beers they did not offer this and I was very happy she did. I did like the beer and ordered a tall one. I wish it would have came with a slice of lemon or orange but otherwise it was great.
A table quickly opened – we probably only waited for 5-10 minutes and we snagged it. My sister was not scheduled to arrive for another 15 minutes (my parents surprised her with their arrival!) so the rest of the table ordered drinks. JL Beers doesn’t have ice! You can order a bottle of water or a pop but no ice. I think that is kind of neat and shows they focus on burgers and beers. We also decided to order a large fresh cut chips for the table. As always, they came out super quick and hot. I continued to sip on my hefeweizen which was refreshing, quenching and a bit hoppy.
I also signed up for JL Beers text club where we are supposed to receive special offers on occasion so I’m looking forward to that.
My sister and her fiancé arrived and the table ordered. I got the Rajun Cajun burger which comes with pepperjack cheese, cajun lime sauce, grilled red onions and a hamburger patty on a fresh baked bun. Others at the table order the BLT Blu, Humpty Dumpty (with egg!) and a plain cheeseburger. My husband order a large Cajun chips for us to share.
One of the best things about JL Beers to me is the quick time it takes for your food to arrive. The burgers are pressed and grilled from each side (no it does not make them dry) and take a mere 1 minute and 20 seconds to cook (I timed it). They hand cut the potatoes to make the chips and I think it takes longer for them to fry than the burger to be grilled on the flat top.
The burger was delicious. The highlight for me was the bun. It was incredibly fresh, so soft and airy and grilled just slightly to warm it. The cajun lime sauce added a nice flavor and I suspect they also season the burger. The onions were grilled to perfection. My only complaint (and my sister had the same) was the cheese was a little overwhelming. We both love cheese and felt like it could have been less. I’m not sure if they use two slices or if it is sliced thick but there was so much cheese it took away from the burger. The burger was cooked perfectly with just a hint of pink inside. The chips were hot and seasoned great with the Cajun flavors. My Mom ordered the Cajun Lime sauce on the side for dipping and that was also yummy. I need to know where those buns are made!
Midway through my meal (we seriously only had to wait for like 5 minutes for our food is all!) I decided to order another beer on my own and asked for a Kokanee Glacier. At my last visit they were out so I was happy when I server said they had it. It was a very light pilsner lager and is created by making the beer from mountain stream water. I thought it was extra bubbly and had a very good feel in my mouth. I was happy with these two beer selections as I wasn’t in the mood for anything heavy or dark.
For dessert Mom had ordered a 1919 Root Beer float and that thing was huge! I had a sip and it was also good. Our server was always nearby to help us with anything and any questions we had. I will definitely return many more times. My sister was turned off by the “cramped” style but that is part of their appeal and what makes them unique. It is best if you have a small group and aren’t afraid of sitting at the bar.
On the menu they said something about asking for a postcard. My Mom inquired and sure enough, they had a postcard with JL Beers on the front and our server told us we could fill it out to anyone we wanted and they would pay postage to mail it for us. Luckily, I had one of our family friends contact info in my phone so we sent her the postcard to Center, ND. Maybe one day they will join us for a hot burger and cold beer! My Mom also purchased one of the many t-shirts they had for sale. It was only about $17 and it was very soft.
JL Beers – I love your burgers, simple no nonsense menu and large selection of beers. Your buns are top notch and your quick service is appreciated. Two big thumbs up! Next time I will sit at the bar by the fryer and flattop so I can get some more details on your cooking techniques!