French Dressing from Bursch’s in Hopkins

100

Location:
Hopkins, Minnesota

Status:
Permanently closed

Dates active:
1941-1986

Bursch’s restaurant was a beloved fixture in Hopkins, Minnesota. It was established in 1941 by three brothers, Gus, Benard (Ben), and Arnie Bursch, who purchased and transformed the site of Neiders Cafe into a welcoming eatery for blue-collar diners. The original location at 706 Main Street, was conveniently located near several manufacturing facilities, including Minneapolis Moline. 

Bursch’s quickly built a reputation for serving delicious, home-cooked food at fair prices. Popular items included the crispy duck served with orangey pan gravy and wild rice, and Salisbury Steak that was regarded by many as the best in the West Metro. And, with a plate of T-bone steak lunch or dinner costing just $1, it’s no wonder that Bursch’s drew a loyal following. 

In 1959, Arnie bought out his brothers’ share of the restaurant and relocated it to a larger building at 17 Eighth Avenue. The new location was four times larger than the original site and featured a formal dining room, a piano bar, a liquor store, and a “workingman’s bar.” In the 1960s, a banquet facility was added to the lower level. 

When Arnie retired at the age of 74, his son Russ took over the restaurant. In the 1980s, Hopkins experienced a shift in demographics as younger, white-collar workers moved into the area. In response, Russ remodeled the restaurant and updated the menu to cater to a new crowd while still maintaining items for their loyal clientele. 

To bridge the gap, Arnie continued to work as a host during lunch, sharing stories from the past and staying up-to-date on regulars’ families, work, and other news. Despite their efforts, the restaurant’s new direction failed to appeal to either customer base, and in 1986, the Bursch family sold the business to Dennis Madden and Susan Ledbetter. 

They transformed Bursch’s into McThirstys, a casual dining meets sports bar establishment that served cheap, uncomplicated food. McThirsty’s didn’t last long, I couldn’t find any mention of the business after 1989. 

Today, the original Bursch’s location no longer exists, but the later building still stands and is used by a retail business.

Bursch’s French Dressing

Served at Bursch’s in Hopkins, Minnesota.
Servings 1 quart

Ingredients

  • 1 egg white
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped in salt
  • 1 whole onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup catsup
  • 1 cup chili sauce
  • 1 cup salad oil
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

Instructions

  • Place all ingredients together in a blender or mixing bowl and blend or mix until smooth.
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