Best of the Red River Valley 2019
Written by: Tracy Briggs of The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead on November 30th, 2019
“It’s an amazing honor to win this award for the 10th straight year! Wow, thank you all for your support! We have really big smiles on our faces right now,” JL Beers co-owner and President Lance Thorson said.
Thorson said his job is fun and rewarding because of the people he gets to work with and the customers they all get to meet.
“Our focus is on consistently providing great quality food, craft beer, and customer service to all our guests, whether it’s their first time in JL Beers or their 100th time,” he said.
He said the “Not Just a Nutter Burger” made with their fresh-ground peanut butter and topped with red pepper jelly, diced jalapenos, pepperjack cheese and cottage bacon, is a favorite for many guests. He said they also recently started serving breakfast sandwiches.
“I enjoy the challenge of developing new ideas, equipment, technology and products to make the JL Beers experience even better. It’s definitely rewarding to be recognized with awards like this, but it’s always rewarding to be able to give back to the community and make an impact as well,” he said.
Best Beer Selection
Written by: Melissa Davidson of The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead on November 30th, 2019
What goes perfect with the area’s best burgers? The area’s best beers.
JL Beers caters to all beer lovers’ palettes with a wide selection of local, international, specialty and blended brews, from hoppy pale ales, ciders and funky sours to porters, stouts and blends. Many varieties are great on their own, but also pair well with the restaurant’s iconic 13 mouth-watering burgers.
While its beer menu can change based on season and location, you’ll often have more than 30 beers on tap to choose from, including JL Beers’ own Berlinger Weisse, an easy-drinking, kettle-soured ale. The restaurant also has a diverse menu of bottled and canned varieties. Visitors can get a taste of one of the 16 brews from around the world or sip on one of its eight mixed beers such as the St. Andrea’s Fault, a blend of oatmeal stout, vanilla porter and 1919 root beer. You can also sample a range of brews with one of JL Beers’ flights or take a favorite on-tap variety home in one of their 32-ounce crowlers.
In addition to its awesome beers and brews served every day, JL Beers also holds many events throughout the year, including ugly Christmas sweater parties, Ales for ALS and many “tap takeovers,” which are a collection of beers from other breweries.
Locations: Fargo, West Fargo, Moorhead, Grand Forks with additional locations in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota
The Single Greatest Burger in Every State
Written by: April Benshosan of EatThis.com on August 6th, 2019
Our friends at Yelp helped us find which burger joint reigns supreme in your home state. Sure, you can pull through the McDonald’s drive-thru when you’re craving a beef patty on a bun. But there’s something special about eating a gourmet burger—one that has fancy condiments, a special bun, or a slice of artisanal cheese. For those occasions, you’ll want to head to a local restaurant. And lucky for you, we have plenty of recommendations. We’ve partnered with Yelp to bring you the best burger in every state.
To come up with this list, Yelp went through the “burgers” category and found the best burger restaurant in each state. In this case, “best” is defined by both Yelp’s star ratings and by how many reviews each restaurant has. Using Yelp’s list of best burger restaurants, we looked through the reviews to find the individual burgers that stood out at each establishment.
The Totally Slawesome Burger
at JL Beers (Fargo, North Dakota)
Sure, you can get a bacon cheeseburger plenty of places. But how many of them will serve
a bacon cheeseburger that’s also topped with coleslaw? JL Beers does!
MSN.com – The Best Burger in Every State
Written by: Dan Myers on May 29th, 2019
When you think of a food that’s all-American, nothing comes to mind before the burger. The simple sandwich of ground beef on a bun allows for considerable creativity from the chef or home cook who’s making it, and there are thousands of variations out there, each more delicious than the last. To celebrate this all-American dish, we’ve tracked down the absolute best restaurant for burgers in every state as well as Washington, D.C.
On our hunt for the best burger in every state, we took into account the fact that there are three main burger styles out there these days: the inch-or-so-thick patties that drip juice down your arm; the “smash burgers,” sometimes called fast food-style burgers, thin patties cooked on a griddle that get an ample crust; and the high-end burgers, usually served in steakhouses and made with scraps of aged beef and other premium cuts, that elevate the burger to fine dining status. All of these styles are represented in our list.
In order to assemble our list, we started by taking a look at our annual ranking of the 101 Best Burgers in America, which is compiled by creating a survey with hundreds of burgers on it and asking a panel of noted writers, journalists, bloggers and culinary authorities from across the country to place their votes. For the remaining states, we extensively researched beloved burger joints in big cities and small towns alike and dug through online reviews and combed existing best-of lists, both in print and online. Even though each of the burgers we found was unique, certain qualities were universal must-haves: high-quality beef (you’ll find no non-beef burgers in our ranking), proper seasoning, well-proportioned components and an overall attention to detail.
North Dakota: JL Beers
JL Beers is a beloved local chain, with seven locations in North Dakota along with three in Minnesota and two in South Dakota. And with 40 beers on tap, a fun and welcoming vibe, and some truly great burgers, it’s not surprising to see why it’s so popular. More than a dozen burgers are available, made with never-frozen beef; The Original Hamburger Stand Burger, topped with only pickles and special sauce, is definitely enough to satisfy a craving, but you might as well go all-in and try the JL Burger (topped with grilled onions, cheese, special sauce and two patties); the Rajun Cajun (pepper jack, Cajun lime sauce, grilled onions and Cajun seasoning); or the Not Just a Nutter Burger (fresh peanut butter, red pepper jelly, diced jalapeños, raw onions and lettuce).
The Best Burgers in Fargo-Moorhead, According to Locals
Written by: Danni of the Fargo-Moorhead Convention & Visitors Bureau on June 16th, 2019
Photo credit: @prairiestylefile
We polled locals on Facebook and asked them where to find the best burgers in Fargo. The response was huge. Apparently, people love their burgers. Below we compiled the ones that received the most love, in order:
1. Humpty Dumpty Burger at JL Beers
This burger was overwhelmingly the top choice among locals. Basically, it’s a freshly pattied burger with a fried egg and cheese on top… on one of the best buns in the league. JL Beers is a local chain with four locations in the area. They’re constantly voted as the Best of the Red River Valley and HPR’s Best of the Best as the best burger and fries in town. Each location has cozy (small) seating area indoors with a long bar serving up regional beers.
OTHER HONORABLE MENTIONS AT JL BEERS
The 13th Avenue Burger (also called the 1st Ave Burger, 32nd Ave Burger, etc.), the Not Just a Nutter Burger, and the Totally Slawesome Burger.
CraftBeer.com Announces Great American Beer Bars 2019
Written by: Andy Sparhawk on February 28th, 2019
It is no secret that America is home to perhaps the largest variety of beers in the world. More than 7,000 small and independent craft brewers call the United States home, and they have great beer bars to thank for helping educate beer lovers about what makes their beers so special.
CraftBeer.com’s Great American Beer Bars 2019 highlights dozens of the unique, passionate and community-focused beer bars that work in partnership with brewers to serve the nation. Each of these beer retailers brings a unique approach to our favorite beverage. CraftBeer.com is proud to present you this year’s list of beer bars to seek out on your beer travels. Congratulations to this year’s winners of CraftBeer.com’s Great American Beer Bars 2019.
NORTH DAKOTA – JL BEERS
Year Founded: 2009
JL Beers is locally owned and operated with a staff that is friendly and knowledgeable about craft beer. Pair a local favorite, Drekker Broken Rudder, with one of JL Beers’ burgers made with the freshest of ingredients and hand cut fries for an All-American classic combination.
MSN.com – The Absolute Best Burger in Every State
Written by: April Benshosan on December 5th, 2018
JL Beers (North Dakota)
While JL Beers won the title of best burger joint in ND, the shack serves up a mean brew, too. The impressive beer selection ranges from robust Belgians to a hot beer cheese dip accompanied by crunchy chips. We’ll take another round of both, please.
Best of the Red River Valley 2018
Best Burger & Best Fries
Written by: Lis Beam of The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead on November 25th, 2018
What makes JL Beers burgers the best?
“I really think it’s the time and effort that we put into our food,” said General Manager Caitlin Hedberg. “It’s all freshly made and we really try and take our time to prepare everything with as much flavor as possible.”
What’s new for JL Beers or coming up?
“Our downtown location is now serving breakfast, which is going really well. We’ve got some super tasty sandwiches on the breakfast menu that are definitely worth trying out,” Hedberg recommended. “If breakfast stays popular at the downtown location over time, we’ll try bringing it to all of our stores.”
What’s a great burger and beer pair to try?
“My favorite is the Ragin Cajun burger with our Bell’s Two Hearted Ale,” Hedberg said.
How does it feel to keep winning best fries?
“It obviously feels awesome,” said General Manager Caitlin Hedberg, “and is just super encouraging to know that we have the support of our customers behind us.”
What’s the best thing to put on or drink with your fries?
“We’ve got a ton of different seasonings that you can choose from, but my personal favorite is the Cajun seasoning,” Hedberg said. “My favorite IPA to drink with fries — or anything really — is the Bell’s Two Hearted Ale.”
Why are JL Beer customers the best?
“Our customers are always in such a good mood and really create the positive, fun atmosphere that we try and go for here. We always want to have a good time and make sure everyone is in a good mood,” Hedberg said.
The Absolute Best Burgers in Every Midwestern State
Written by: Zach Johnston of UPROXX on July 11th, 2018
Is there a region of the United States more in love with the burger than the Midwest? The endless, snowy winters mixed with summers that demand plenty of “make hay while the sun shines” indulgence combine to create the perfect year-round atmosphere for burgers to dominate the scene.
The Midwest is where burgers met their crazy, overblown, and delectable potential as a medium for getting calories into the body at the highest rates possible. As a result, the region is home to some of the cheesiest, heart-stoppingest, gargantuann riffs on the genre ever created. So let’s dive headfirst into a whole pile of great burgers where the blasphemous words “too much” are never uttered.
These are our picks for the best burgers in the Midwest.
NORTH DAKOTA: JL Beers
Okay, we know JL Beers is a chain with spots in Minnesota and South Dakota too. But, goddamn if their burgers aren’t the best around in their home state of North Dakota. Pillory us for choosing a chain all you want but we dare you not to love the burgers at JL Beers.
JL prides itself that “all of our ingredients come from someone’s backyard.” That care and localvore attitude translates to a great burger. The meat is freshly ground. The buns are a house recipe. The bacon comes from around the corner.
The Humpty Dumpty burger is their award winner — with an excellently cooked runny egg on the classic cheeseburger. The real star, for us anyway, is the Not Just A Nutter Burger with a healthy smear of peanut butter accompanied by local red pepper jelly, diced jalapenos, pepper jack cheese, and locally smoked bacon. It’s a spicy, umami, cheesy, crunchy mess of a burger that hits you deep in the far-reaches of your burger-loving soul.
HPR’s Best of the Best 2018
May 23rd, 2018
JL Beers Awarded – Best Burger!
Best of the Red River Valley 2017
Best Burger & Best Fries
Written by: Kris Kerzman of The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead on November 24th, 2017
What do you do that makes you stand out from other restaurants?
“Our open kitchen behind the bar allows guests to see how their food is prepared and also the cleanliness of our kitchen,” said Lance Thorson, a co-owner of JL Beers.
What does it take to consistently make good burgers?
“It takes great people that genuinely care about each and every burger that is made,” Thorson said.
Besides your burgers, what should people try on your menu?
“We are best known for our burgers, but we also offer terrific beer-brined chicken sandwiches as well,” Thorson said. “Our name is JL Beers, so make sure to check out our extensive beer selection too.”
What makes for a good french fry?
“We source all of our own potatoes, cut them fresh to order, and cook them in cholesterol free soybean oil,” said JL Beers co-owner Lance Thorson. “Once cooked, they are a beautiful white french fry packed with flavor.”
What sets you apart from your competitors?
“We have a lot of our own proprietary products and ingredients that you simply can’t get anywhere else,” Thorson said. “All of our hamburgers and French Fries are fresh and made to order.”
Besides ketchup, what should people try on their fries?
“First off, we have a wide assortment of seasonings that can be added for no additional cost — sea salt, Cajun, jalapeno cheddar, BBQ or parmesan garlic,” Thorson said. “Secondly, we make all of our own dips including ‘R’ Dip, cajun lime, ranch, BBQ ranch, chipotle, jalapeno ranch, and most notably our famous beer cheese dip. With all of these seasonings and dips, our guests have numerous options to take their taste buds on a little trip.”
HPR’s Best of the Best 2017
July 17th, 2017
JL Beers Awarded – Best Burger & Best Restaurant Service!
Fargo Monthly’s Flavor Awards 2017
Written by: Erica Rapp of Fargo Monthly. May 2017
Best Burger – Humpty Dumpty®
The Humpty Dumpty burger has been a staple menu item at JL Beers since day one, and has created somewhat of a legacy for itself when it comes to local burger lovers. With just a fried egg and cheese stacked amidst perfect buns and a patty, this burger proves that less really can be more when it comes to great flavor. You can also add bacon or even substitute the beef for a black bean, wild rice and quinoa patty if you’re not a meat-eater.
Best of the Red River Valley 2016
Best Burger & Best Fries
Written by: Tracy Briggs of The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead on October 29th, 2016
What is your reaction to your follow-up win?
“We try to put out the best burgers and beer everyday and we’re just glad people seem to appreciate what we do,” said Brandon Nilson, general manager of JL Beers in downtown Fargo.
What makes your burgers different?
“We use the best possible ingredients because we know that’s how you get the best products,” Nilson said. “There isn’t a bad burger on the menu.”
What’s your favorite burger?
“I’d have to say the Humpty Dumpty burger. It’s just a burger with a fried egg and American cheese on it. That’s it. But it’s really good,” he said.
What makes your fries different?
“They’re ours,” Nilson said. “We don’t pre-cut our fries and chips. We cut them after you order them. You can’t get more fresh than that!”
What would you say to someone who has never been to JL Beers?
“We’re in our seventh year in Fargo-Moorhead,” Nilson said. “I’d invite them to come out and try it.”
Fargo Monthly’s Flavor Awards 2016
Written by: Erica Rapp of Fargo Monthly. June 2016
Photography by: Paul Flessland
Best Burger – Humpty Dumpty®
As the winner of many burger awards, including some of our own, the Humpty Dumpty burger has been a staple menu item at JL Beers since day one. With just a fried egg and American cheese amidst a perfect bun and patty, this burger proves that less can really be more when it comes to great flavor. You can also add bacon or substitute the beef for a black bean, wild rice and quinoa patty as your heart desires.
HPR’s Best of the Best 2016
June 5th, 2016
JL Beers Awarded – Best Burger & Best Craft Beer Selection!
The Best Bar in Every State
Written by: Talia Avakian of Business Insider on March 4th, 2016
America is home to some incredible drinking spots. We teamed up with Foursquare, the city-guide app for discovering new places, to put together a list of the top-rated bars in each state and Washington, DC, based on user ratings on the app. The list ranges from upscale cocktail bars to wine joints to craft beer bars.
NORTH DAKOTA: JL Beers
JL Beers is famous for its outstanding beer and burger selection. It has imported bottles from around the globe, mixed brew selections, and “beertails” like the Oatmeal Cookie — an oatmeal stout mixed with a splash of Lindemans Framboise (Raspberry) Lambic.
Best of the Red River Valley 2015
Best Burger & Best Fries
Written by: John Lamb of The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead on October 31st, 2015
What’s the appeal of the JL burgers?
“Honestly, it’s the simplicity. We don’t over¬complicate it. It’s straight¬forward. Because we keep our menu simple, we keep our products fresh,” says Lane Johnson, assistant manager at the downtown Fargo location.
What about the fries?
“It’s a fun thing to watch, people trying to see how that works. They see that pressurized fry¬cutter and every time they hear that noise they look over and say, ‘Oh cool. That’s how they do it.’ It’s kind of entertaining to them. It gives them a show. They can see everything that’s being made for them. There’s no curtain.”
How many potatoes do you go through in a day?
“It depends on the day, but we can go through 250 pounds.”
HPR’s Best Bets 2015
May 28th, 2015
JL Beers Awarded – Best Burger, Best Craft Beer Selection, and Best Lunch!
MSN.com – The Best Burger in Every State
MSN Food & Drink – February 2015
We conducted painstaking journalistic research to figure out the very best burger in every state, from mom-and-pop joints to celebrity-chef restaurants and everything in between.
NORTH DAKOTA: JL BEERS
For less than five bucks, you can get JL Beers’ delicious Humpty Dumpty, which comes with cheese and a fried egg on a soft bun. This regional chain, which originated in North Dakota, recently won best burger by High Plains Reader and other publications.
JL Beers’ Staff Donates Portion of Tips to Charity
Written by: The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead on January 23rd, 2015
The staff at JL Beers, 4240 32nd Ave. S., Fargo, raised more than $1,500 by saving nickels, dimes and pennies from their tips throughout 2014.
The employees donated $1,000 to the Sanford Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Fargo in $25 increments of Target gift cards. The cards will be distributed to families that are in the NICU.
The employees donated the remaining $500 to 4 Luv of Dogs, a local dog rescue group.
2014 Best of the Red River Valley
Best Burger, Best Fries, and Best Beer Selection
Written by: Dave Olson of The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead on November 22nd, 2014
Locations: 518 1st Ave. N., Fargo, (701) 492-3377; 4240 32nd Ave. S. Fargo, (701) 356-4240; 2902 Highway 10 E., Moorhead, (218) 422-4400; 810 13th Ave. E., West Fargo, (701) 373-8484
Reaction to winning: “We’re excited to be recognized again. We’ve won those same awards the last couple of years, and it really means a lot to us for our customers to vote and show their appreciation continually in those categories,” said Lance Thorson, co-founder of JL Beers.
Secret to your success: “I think just having a love for what we do and having a true passion for craft beer. As far as the food portion of it, we don’t have a huge menu, so items we do have – hamburgers, fresh-cut fries and chips – we try to do the best we can to maintain a quality and a value people enjoy.”
Something people don’t know about your business: “We are continuing to expand. We have a franchise in Minot that will be opening in February, and we’re looking at another location in Sioux Falls, S.D.”
Fargo’s 10 Best Restaurants: From Local Eats to Fine Dining
Written by: Chloe Hay of The Culture Trip on September 15th, 2014.
As North Dakota’s largest city, Fargo is recognized as the cultural centre of the state. Home to a plethora of exquisite restaurants specializing in everything from seafood to pizzas, and steaks to sushi; Fargo has a restaurant to suit every fancy. With so many to choose from and new ones opening every day, we have updated our previous city restaurant guide to include some new eateries worthy of praise.
Living by the mottos ‘red meat is good for you and potatoes are vegetables’, and ‘the problem with the world is that everyone else is a few beers behind’, JL Beers specializes in homemade freshly ground beef burgers served on signature buns with a side of crispy fries. Diners can choose from an array of tasty toppings to add to their burger including grilled onions, jalapenos and slaw. As the name would suggest, JL Beers also has a huge array of beers to choose from including those on tap, imported bottles, domestic cans, mixed brews and beertails.
Best Burgers in Fargo
Written by: Andrew Jason of Fargo Monthly on June 12th, 2014.
Photography by: J. Alan Paul Photography
Of all the food groups, burgers might be our favorite. What other food says summer like a juicy, thick and succulent burger topped with unique toppings. We took a poll to find out your favorite burger in town. Welcome to Fargo Monthly’s first annual best burger competition.
Humpty Dumpty from JL Beers
Shocking, right? Was there even a debate about what the best burger in town was? The Humpty Dumpty burger is the consensus favorite in Fargo, and for good reason. Not only has JL Beers become a staple burger spot in Fargo, their beef is always memorable and they are always rolling in new beer on tap. Any burger on the JL menu is a winner, but there’s only one that can make you second guess your decision to order anything else. The simplicity of the ingredients makes the Humpty Dumpty burger extremely appealing for any hungry Fargoan. The flexibility that comes with a quarter pound burger patty, one egg and cheese is endless. Bacon is a popular choice among patrons looking to spice up their Humpty Dumpty experience. Add a shot of Sriracha if you dare to walk the line of deliciousness and mediocrity. Ultimately, like any great burger, it comes down to the burger patty. The quarter pound greatness that comes off the JL grill is juicy and enticing enough to have anyone salivating.
The Chive – Best Burgers in Every State
May 22nd, 2014
It’s National Hamburger Month for those of you who didn’t know. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m sure there will be much controversy over the burgers which were crowned the “Best” in the state. However, I think that makes for the perfect opportunity for you guys to voice your opinions as to what you think the best burger is in your own state.
This list was created based on accolades, reviews, and taste tests according to the good people over at Businessinsider.
NORTH DAKOTA: For less than five bucks, you can get JL Beers’ delicious Humpty Dumpty, which comes with cheese and a fried egg on a soft bun. This regional chain, which originated in North Dakota, recently won best burger by High Plains Reader and other publications.
HPR’s Best Bets 2014
May 1st, 2014
JL Beers Awarded – Best Burger, Best Craft Beer Selection, and Best Lunch!
JL Beers went home from HPR’s awards event with a triple win, so it must be doing something right. Clearly the extremely fresh and tasty burger selection, fresh-cut fries and variety of dipping sauces have something to do with it.
2013 Best of the Red River Valley
Written by: Wendy Reuer of The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead on November 16th, 2013
Locations: 518 1st Ave. N., Fargo, (701) 492-3377; 2902 Highway 10 E., Moorhead, (218) 422-4400; 810 13th Ave. E., West Fargo, (701) 373-8484; 4240 32nd Ave. S., Fargo (701) 356-4240
Reaction to winning: “It’s always exciting to be recognized and honored as the local fans’ favorite in the community,” said Lance Thorson, part-owner of JL Beers. “We greatly appreciate that.”
Secret to your success: “We just love what we do and we’re passionate about craft beer, our burgers and our products,” Thorson said.
Something people don’t know about your business: JL Beers places a priority on using locally produced products as a way to give back. “Our potato products are all North Dakota potatoes, so they’re all grown locally,” he said.
JL Beers Says: ‘Tap That App’
Written by: Angie Wieck of The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead on December 7th, 2012
Photography by: David Samson
JL Beers is encouraging their customers to “Tap that App!”
The bar and restaurant has launched a free mobile app to help customers keep up with JL Beers’ ever-changing selection of tap beers, read, write and share beer reviews, and keep a diary of personal consumption and tasting notes.
Co-owner Lance Thorson came up with the idea based on existing beer review websites. He wanted to create a site that concentrated on the beers they serve locally.
Because JL Beers brings in several beers every week, it doesn’t print new menus each time a new product is introduced.
“This (the app) is the quickest and most informative way for us to get what we have on tap into the hands of our customers,” Thorson said.
MacDalton Berns and the team at Absolute Marketing in Moorhead made Thorson’s vision a reality.
They designed an app that also allows customers to search beer offerings by state or country of origin, by style of beer and by customer ratings.
Berns said the original app was quietly debuted months ago. After making a few enhancements based on customer feedback, a second version was recently launched. The app has now been downloaded more than 1,000 times.
The app is an extension of JL Beers’ social media strategy, Thorson said.
When customers post a comment through the app, they will be able to post that information to their Facebook page. Friends who see the post may continue a conversation about the beverage through Facebook.
“It kind of creates a beer culture and camaraderie,” Thorson said. “It’s just kind of a fun thing for our guests to experience and share with one another.”
To download the app, visit jlbeers.com/apps or search for JL Beers in Google Play or the Apple app store.
JL Beers has locations in Fargo, West Fargo, Moorhead, Grand Forks, Bismarck and Sioux Falls, S.D.