Burgers and beer, a match made in heaven

A local North Dakota burger chain, JL Beers is located at 2531 South Columbia Road.

Dakota Student / Nicholas Nelson

A local North Dakota burger chain, JL Beers is located at 2531 South Columbia Road.

Nick Sallen, Editor-in-Chief

Finding the best burger in a town has been a guilty pleasure of mine since moving to Grand Forks. In searching for the best bang for your buck these past four years, I’ve been to burger places that are easy on the wallet and higher class restaurants, but I haven’t been everywhere.

So far I’ve greatly enjoyed Burger Time and Five Guys, two middle-of-the-road hamburger specialists that combine affordable prices with a quality meal and great service.

So for my roommate’s 21st birthday, I thought I’d start the celebration with him at JL Beers.

Neither one of us had ever been to JL. The burger and beer restaurant came highly recommended by my cousin and a few friends. They all mentioned the great burgers and outstanding beer selection.

Could JL dethrone two of my favorite restaurants in Grand Forks, or would JL be chalked up as another burger place in a city with new burger and pizza restaurants every year?

I found JL beers to have a lively atmosphere. The dinner rush came in full force as the restaurant is limited on space, hindering the maximum number of customers. By 9 p.m., the restaurant has plenty of room for those who do not like waiting for a booth.

The beer selection at JL Beers has to be mentioned first. With around 50 craft brews and a plethora of beer on tap, JL is a must-see for connoisseurs. Every so often, new beers are added to the menu. Even if you aren’t a beer expert, JL makes for a great starting location if you plan to go downtown later in the night.

I started my night with a Bent Paddle. The Minnesota blonde ale comes highly recommended, especially for those who enjoy a hint of citrus.

My roommate ordered an Empyrean Peanut Butter Porter. The dark beer surprised him, as he was expecting a rich, hoppy flavor. The rich taste was palpable, but there was also a strong note of chocolate and peanut butter. Next time, I think I’ll start with the porter.

With many burgers to order, I decided to try JL’s signature burger, a double-decker accompanied by a mountain of grilled onions, cheese and their very own special sauce and fries. When the waiter asked what sauce I wanted, I had no idea. Ketchup is, and always has been, my go-to. He insisted I try his favorite, the Cajun lime dipping sauce.

The JL burger was excellent. Juicy, warm and cooked well. The fries were slightly over-cooked and perfectly average, but with the Cajun sauce it was really tasty. I ended up using most of my dipping sauce on my burger, which was a good, albeit messy, choice. If you have the means to, opt for the loaded fries. You won’t be disappointed.

You must be 21 years old to enter JL, and you can expect to pay a reasonable price of around $20 for the entire a meal and beverage. Without drinks, most burgers alone cost $6.

In summation, the only reason not to go try JL beers is if you are a vegetarian. JL Beers clearly values the quality of their burgers and service. As good as their burgers are, the beer selection is this restaurant’s best feature. I’m glad I found a restaurant that serves beer and is as good as Five Guys and Burger Time.

JL Beers is a cozy place with excellent burgers and a rotating beer menu. If you’re interested in trying a bite, the restaurant can be found near the Columbia Mall. JL is open daily from 11:00a.m. to 12:00a.m.

Nick Sallen is the editor-in-cheif at The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]