Friday, May 18, 2012


-Got beef?
The Burgers of Wisconsin

Happy Hamburger Month. Regular readers know 'The Burgers of Wisconsin' are a specialty of S'C'&C and today we continue the journey as we eat the burgers of the Midwest. We head into Marinette which is about 250 miles north of Chicago, straight up the lake. Located just across the bridge from Menominee Michigan this beautiful little summertime playground is also the home to one of the best burger experiences in the country. Let's check it out.

a longtime locals favorite in Marinette, WI

I took my first ever visit to Mickey-Lu-Bar-B-Q around this time last year. It was on my radar when I did the Lake Michigan Circle Tour but they were closed for a quick two day repair the day we drove by. It's been on my must get to list ever since driving by and seeing the classic building it sits in. Let me first address the question many others are asking themselves as they read this. So they serve BBQ too? Nope. It's a little different all the way up there. Like many other uninformed Northern folk, they assume BBQ is grilling when the two of them are actually different. Nonetheless the reason they call this famous sandwich place 'Bar-B-Q' is because they use the popular regional style of real charcoal grilling, notice the chimney in the picture above. As soon as your near the place you can smell the goodness. So it is authentic grilling.

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Signs hanging on the walls (top) View from the sandwich bar stools and a pic of a full house (bottom)

Mickey Lu's is an institution with a loyal following, generations of families have eaten there and swear by their burgers. Approaching their 70th year in business it takes you back to another time when rolling up on it and seeing the big 'EAT' sign and neon Bar-B-Q lighting up the night. Then when you step inside it gets an even more authentic feeling with the old time decor. Then when seeing a big flaming real charcoal grill with grillmaster Chuck Finnessy working the wild flames, it makes you realize it's the truth. It's an experience you have to see/taste for yourself but just in case you cant ever make it or are wondering what I'm talking about, here is some video from my 1st visit on this trip. I went there three times the night I stayed in Marinette.

The Flaming (real) Charcoal Grill

When I was able to get this shot on my 1st visit the place was packed, nowhere to sit and hardly any room to stand. It's a daily thing, I was told it actually gets like that a couple times a day. With only so much space on the grill it can take up to 30 minutes for an order to be ready but people didn't care and were willing to wait. They're open 'til 11:30p so I was also able to stop in later that night and they had the local HS baseball team in there celebrating a playoff win. Just like back in the day, Mickey's Lu's is the place to go hang out and chat it up with friends and folks from around town.

The Menu with your options

It's all about the burgers here but since we were in Wisconsin, I had to try a brat too on my first visit. Not worth it as it was a small brat in a large hot dog bun and there are much better to be had. Besides that, the only folks not ordering burgers by the 2's, 3's and beyond were a few of the little kids who got hot dogs and shakes.

Bratwurst from Mickey Lu's

They have the grill down to a science and get the burgers out as quick as they can but again theres only so much space. Luckily the burgers are thin so they cook quick. The patties are ground fresh and delivered daily. Doubles are available but the preferred choice around town seems to be downing a few singles on each visit. I preferred doubles since the meat to bun ratio is more even. Just like past places featured along Lake Michigan, they use Hard Rolls which are toasted to the max on the grill for a minute or two while the flames lay low. Once ready they're double wrapped and brought to you wherever your sitting.

Cheeseburger from Mickey-Lu Bar-B-Q

The burgers come served with catsup, onions, pickles and plenty of butter (brown mustard on request). They take on a great charcoal flavor making it one of the most unique tasting burgers I've had. It shames me to say this but I ordered one of them with catsup and everything else and I thought it worked well with the burger. The buns are crunchy on the outside and the sweetness from the catsup goes well with the kiss of charcoal. I really enjoyed these, so much so that we got double cheeseburgers for breakfast on the way out of town. I asked for them with a fried egg but they wouldn't put it on the burger and at first I didn't understand why but then it all made sense. The egg is on the menu as a sandwich and they don't mess with tradition by putting them on their burgers. You gotta love it. We added the fried eggs by hand and I must say, it became even better.

Double cheeseburger with a fried egg added on by hand

Yet another great burger in a great eating state. Mickey-Lu's first shot onto my radar while doing research on food stops around Lake Michigan while on the Circle Tour. This Guy's analysis is what got me wanting to stop in one day soon. Well it too ka couple years but was well worth the wait. You can check another one off the board and now I understand why...

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...when you need a Mickey Lu, nothing else will do.

1710 Marinette Ave
Marinette, WI 54143
(715) 735-7721

Mickey-Lu-Bar-B-Q on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

I have to check it out, the burgers look great and my summer home is only 40 miles away.

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Anonymous said...

I go through there 3-4 times a year, from MN, and have to stop every time. My son is in college at Sault Ste Marie stops every time he passes through as well. Way better and more addicting than greasy sliders.


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