Bite of the Week is a weekly feature showcasing an exceptional meal or dish, curated by The Growler.
Calling the Baby Cheeseburger at Band Box Diner “no frills” really doesn’t express how completely frill-free this lunch option actually is. This humble patty topped with melted American cheese is housed in a thoroughly buttered and griddled bun and is otherwise completely unadorned. It’s a handheld museum, an edible telescope that points backward in history to a time when hamburgers were much simpler things. Then, they were unadorned by piles of trendy toppings and were merely tasty little flat patties of griddled meat rather than springy baseballs capable of feeding a family of four.
The simplicity of this thing is its genius. Charred meat, toasted bun, crunchy versus tender, salty versus umami—add a bit of tangy ketchup and you’re in burger nirvana. In being such a naive throwback to old-school burgers, this thing succeeds brilliantly where its overpriced, overstuffed, and unbalanced modern rivals fall on their faces. In a nutshell: it’s a quick, delicious lunch, utterly shorn of pretense and served up in a classic American diner.
THE DISH: Baby Cheeseburger, $6.50
THE PLACE: Band Box Diner, 729 S 10th St, Minneapolis
THE REASON: You can’t get any more basic than this cheeseburger—and that’s a huge plus