Juicy Lucys are brilliant. Pizza is divine. So, putting them together seems like an ingenious idea, right? That, or a health hazard on a plate. You be the judge.
A deep-dish crust is stuffed with seasoned hamburger patty, American and mozzarella cheeses and caramelized onions, and topped with ... salad.
This Minneapolis-Chicago mashup comes courtesy of Chicago-style pizzeria Giordano’s, and is the latest over-the-top food to be featured in our Outta Control video series. Watch past videos about glitter-topped ice cream cones and another on a meter-long bratwurst.
The Juicy Lucy Pizza is only available at Giordano’s two Minnesota locations, in Uptown (2700 Hennepin Av. S., 612-444-3143, giordanos.com) and Richfield (3000 W. 66th St., 612-444-3731) until Dec. 31. It is one of a handful of regional specialties that will be competing by online vote for a permanent spot on national menus. Gyro pizza in Chicago and carnitas taco pizza in Phoenix are also in the running. (Editor's note: Giordano's has brought back the Juicy Lucy Pizza, from Feb. 6 through April 1, 2019.)
When the local Giordano’s team met to discuss what could be a Minnesota contender, hot dish and walleye were thrown out as suggestions. But the Juicy Lucy — the famed Minneapolis-born cheese-stuffed burger (that is, yes, sometimes spelled “Jucy Lucy”) — won out, said Giordano’s Uptown general manager Ryan Gagnon.
So how do they do it?
Pizza dough lines the bottom of a deep-dish pan, and is covered in one pound of ground beef that’s been mixed with ketchup and mustard. The meat layer is topped with caramelized onions, followed by sliced American cheese and shredded mozzarella. In total, it’s a pound of cheese. Then, another layer of dough making a “lid” for the pie is slathered in a butter/margarine blend — no sauce. The whole thing is baked for 30 minutes in a 450-degree oven. When it’s done, it’s topped with a chopped salad of lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle all tossed with a creamy dressing.
A traditional Juicy Lucy, known for its molten center of processed cheese, isn’t exactly thought of as healthy. OK, that’s an understatement. It’s a calorie bomb. So why top a pizza that’s meant to resemble such a thing with greens?
“There’s nothing healthy about the salad, either,” Gagnon laughed. “It’s tossed in mayo ranch.”
The idea was to crown the pie with traditional burger toppings.
Miraculously, that tomato-onion-pickle mix, along with the ketchup-mustard flavor of the meat, gives each bite of this hefty pizza a kind of Big Mac vibe. Juicy Lucy die-hards probably won’t consider this a contender in the Matt’s Bar/5-8 Club/Blue Door rivalry, but there’s a definite molten-American-cheesiness that makes this seem more like a burger than a pizza. Even if it doesn’t really look like either.
“It’s so salad-y,” said Leah Dunbar, who was waiting in the restaurant for a takeout order with her 4-year-old daughter Kira.
“It doesn’t look good,” Kira said.
But a couple of bites changed their tunes.
“It tastes like having a hamburger. But I feel like I need ketchup or something,” said Leah, who never tried a Juicy Lucy.
Kira was hooked. “It’s like a pizza hamburger,” she said. “I love this.”
Then added, “Now I want French fries.”