Louis’ Lunch: The birthplace of the hamburger

This guest post comes from my wonderful fiancé from AndyGapin.com. I was unable to attend this delicious excursion, due to errands including an oil change and trip to Whole Foods, and homework. However, his return from the trip, he just kept talking about how great the food was, so I figured it’d be a perfect opportunity for him to guest post, something I’ve been asking him to do for awhile. So enjoy!

Over the weekend, a few friends and I took a two state drive up to Louis’ Lunch in Connecticut. Louis’ Lunch is famous for being the birthplace of the burger so it was a perfect destination for our monthly food adventures. The story goes that in 1900, a man rushed into the joint in a hurry and asked Louis Lassen for something he could eat on the run. Louis slapped his own blend of ground steak trimmings between two slices of toast and sent the gentleman on this way. This, my friends, is how a staple of American cuisine was invented.

Over 100 years later, Louis’ Lunch still serves up burgers on sliced white bread instead of buns. The proprietary blend of five meat varieties is not only cooked to order, but it’s cooked in the original cast iron grills which date back to 1898. One of them has even been repaired using a butter knife to replace the handle.

Besides the burgers, Louis’ Lunch doesn’t serve much else. You can get chips, soda, pie, and potato salad. That’s it. The burgers can come with cheese, tomato, and/or onions. That’s it. You can remove any of those options, but you can’t add anything else. As they say, it’s not Burger King. Don’t even think about asking for ketchup. I think this kind of thing at fooderies is a bit snobby and gimmicky. They’re not the only place that does it, many hot dog places do the same. I just think it’s silly. Why tell people they can’t enjoy your food how the like it? I can support restaurants refusing to make additions to the food the serve, but to deny customers ketchup for them to apply themselves is simply snobbery.

Louis’ Lunch has a few tables, but it’s not a sit-down joint. You order at the counter and then wait. When I say wait, I mean it. You might be waiting a little while. We had to wait about 20 minutes for our burgers. Being that it was a nice day out, I have no complaints at all, but the joint is small inside so if the weather isn’t being friendly, your experience may not be as pleasant.

I ordered a “cheese works” which is the cheeseburger with tomato and onions. It was delicious. The burger was cooked perfectly. No char, nice and juicy with lots of flavor. It reminded me a lot of the steamed burgers that I make at home–incidentally, I got this idea from another burger place in Connecticut. I was afraid that the bread wouldn’t handle the burger properly and it would soak through, but this didn’t happen at all. It was perfectly toasted and held it’s own.

It’s a simple burger, but it’s one of the best I’ve ever had. I would most definitely drive two and a half hours for another.

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