The secret’s out.
What was once a hidden gem that few people knew about, the dive bar known as Lucky 13 is now a place where finding a seat at any time of day or night is a challenge. But you can’t blame the crowd. Once rumors got around town of Lucky 13–arguably the best burgers in Salt Lake City–it was no surprise that people would flock there to have them.
When I first discovered Lucky 13 a few years ago, I remember telling people that they had to go there. The reaction was always the same: “Lucky 13, the old biker bar?! Really?!” But once they tried the heavily-doused garlic fries and the house-smoked bacon burgers, they were hooked.
The “dive bar” status of Lucky 13 has not changed, regardless of the crowds or the fact that the small bar won the title for best burger in the 2012 World Burger Championship in Las Vegas. But the rockabilly-style decor and not quite comfy chairs provide part of its charm. The patio is large and inviting, and once summer is in full force the sunflowers grow tall enough to create a barrier against the traffic on 1300 South. But beware that smokers are usually out there. The biker bar mentality hasn’t fully evaporated.
The small staff does what it can to keep up, but with the recent onslaught of crowds, there are days that your patience is required, especially before Bee’s games (the stadium is across the street) or on Utah football game days when people flood the bar to watch the game. So order a beer (or two or three) to enjoy before your burger. It’ll be worth the wait.
The beer selection changes routinely, but Lucky 13 usually carries a selection of local favorites and national classics. Cocktails and wine are available for the beer-adverse, too.
But the burgers. The menu has just enough to cover all your needs. The burgers aren’t too fancy; they aren’t trying to have the most creative burger, just the best. My recommendation: get something with their house-smoked bacon. Even if you have to add it onto a burger.
My go-to burger is the Bacon Stinky Cheeseburger ($10), topped with that luscious, juicy bacon and heaps of blue cheese and some mixed greens for good measure. Paired with garlic fries–and I’m talking real, visible chunks of beautiful garlic–and it is perfection.
The Ring of Fire ($10) is notoriously spicy, so go that route if you’re a fan of heat (it has bacon, roasted jalapeños and habaneros, plus onions and cheddar). If you’re in the mood for weird, get the Nut Butter ($9.50), with bacon, peanut butter and cheddar. And if you want a real kicker, try the Bear Burger ($17), 14 oz of beef, habanero puree on roasted habaneros with two grilled cheese sandwiches packed with caramelized onions in place of a bun. I once watched someone eat the whole thing and I almost lost my dinner, but hey, to each their own.
The daily special changes, well, daily, offering concoctions like elk burgers, ostrich burgers, guacamole burgers (count this as my official plea to add that to the regular menu) and more. Check twitter, facebook and their website to discover today’s rare gem.
Lucky 13 also serves chicken tenders, sandwiches, and salads. But to be honest, I’ve never been able to go there and not have a burger. They are just too damn good.
Go to Lucky 13 for :: the best burger in Salt Lake City. Notes :: Open every day from 10 am – 2 am (serving food til midnight), plus brunch on Sunday. Remember that it is a bar, so only 21+ are welcome.