Midwest Living Review
JL Beers is a beer bar that just happens to serve adequate burgers and stellar homemade chips. Walk into the downtown Fargo location and the first thing you think is, "Wow, this place is tiny." It's also welcoming, with the antique tin ceiling, a long bar with stylish metal chairs and a few high-top tables. According to the menu, the place can seat 1,000 24 at a time. And that's about right. The menus are pages thick, but only the first page includes food: Eight burgers, along with fries or homemade chips. The rest of the menu is beer, filling page after page with extensive descriptions of where the beer is brewed, its alcohol content and flavor notes. Beer connoisseurs take note: There are 32 beers on tap, 43 import bottles, a handful of domestic cans and even beer flights. With our beers, we ordered a classic burger ($3.89), with "special" sauce, lettuce, tomato, pickle and hamburger patty on a freshly baked bun, and a 1st Avenue burger, which is a cheeseburger with BBQ sauce and bacon ($4.49). For the side, we split a regular-size order of the homemade chips ($1.99). We wanted to love the food, but it was just a burger. The meat was adequate, but not particularly juicy, the lettuce was shredded iceberg, and the special sauce was a Big Mac-ish version of Thousand Island dressing. The "freshly baked bun" was squishy white bread with no flavor or texture. The bacon looked thick-cut and crispy, but the BBQ sauce lacked zing. But the homemade chips were amazing. Thin spirals of potatoes, deep fried and lightly salted so they were crispy on the edges, but a little chewier closer to the center. Stop by JL Beers for great beer and those fantastic chips (you must be at least 21 years old to enter). Otherwise, there are too many great dining options in downtown Fargo to spend a perfectly good meal opportunity on the JL Beers burger.