Flavor: Size matters

Things are getting smaller.

From iPods you can fit in the palm of your hand, cell phones you can clip on your ear, and burgers you can eat in two bites, mini is in.

Mini burgers have grown in popularity over the past few years, going from Lunchable-sized novelties to restaurant mainstays. And for three Minneapolis bars and restaurants, mini burgers are a valued part of their menus.

Food to share

“It’s something people can share,” said Ty Lahr, a bartender and manager at Grumpy’s Bar on Washington Avenue.

Three mini burgers come in an order with free fixings and chips. Lahr said the burgers have always been consistent sellers, along with their other mini items — tacos and corndogs.

“They’re tasty,” Lahr said. “People like them, so we keep selling them.”

Lahr said the bar atmosphere contributed to more people splitting orders, rather than keeping them all to

“We see a lot more people coming in and sharing food, especially the mini items,” he said. “You can just kind of munch on them.”

Perfect for one

At the Herkimer Pub and Brewery in Uptown, mini burgers are an award-winning part of their menu. They added the burgers to the menu five years ago and have served 159,000 since, general manager Chad Jamrozy said.

The Herkimer’s menu features five varieties of mini burgers ranging from pot roast burgers to a vegetarian option.

Diners get five in an order, arranged in a circle around a small cup of ketchup atop a pile of lettuce. The burgers are about as mini as mini can be — the circular patties can be finished off in just two or three bites.

So at Herkimer, sharing is an option, but Jamrozy said customers mostly order mini burgers for themselves.

“Our five burgers are the perfect size for one person,” he said.

They also have a $10-after-10 p.m. deal every night, which gets you mini burgers, fries and a beer for $10.

Smaller is cooler

At the Bar Lurcat on Harmon Place, staff said the key to their mini-burgers’ success was the red wine shallot butter. Red wine and shallots in sugar dried and mixed in butter melts from the heat of the bun and the meat and gives their burgers a sweet and flavorful taste.

“It makes them absolutely delicious,” general manager Ann Grant said. “It’s in the burger; it’s on top of the burger; it’s delicious.”

The Lurcat Burgers — an order of two with the signature butter — are the most popular item on the menu at the Bar Lurcat, and have been on the menu since they opened in 2002.

Grant thought people liked small plates that would still fill them up.

“Everything looks cooler smaller,” said Adam King, the Bar Lurcat’s executive chef.

The restaurant offers several other mini items, which have boosted business, King said. But the burgers have stayed their number one seller.

“Big burgers are an entrée, but mini burgers are appetizers,” King said. “They’re ideal for a bar.”

There are differing opinions about what has lead to the popularity of mini burgers — they’re perfect for sharing, they’re a lighter option or they just look cool.

Whether you’re looking for a full meal or something to snack on while watching the game, there is something between an entrée and an appetizer — the mini burger is there for you.

The Herkimer Pub and Brewery
2922 Lyndale Ave. S.

Grumpy’s Bar

1111 Washington Ave. S.

Bar Lurcat
1624 Harmon Place