Okay, so can I prove that this is the birthplace of the Hamburger Sandwich? No. But Louis’ Lunch in New Haven, CT is confident enough in the claim that they put it right on their website and after trying these bad boys I’m not disputing it! These are some damn tasty hamburgers. Since I grew up watching my dad make hamburgers at home on the stove-top and throwing them between two slices of white bread slathered with mayo (seriously, so good!) I knew he would love checking this place out too, so last time I was home visiting in MA we took a drive down to CT to check it out.
This place has been around since 1895 and developed the hamburger sandwich back in the early 1900s in response to a customer in a rush who requested something that he could eat on the run. Ground steak trimmings were thrown between two pieces of toast and the beginnings of hamburger history began! It’s exactly the type of place that I love, too. Line out the door full of regulars, local workers on their lunch breaks, and of course the requisite tourist or two. But really you get an immediate vibe that this is a locals place with the staff behind the counter chatting everyone up and calling them by name. It’s super small, but cozy and has a great atmosphere. Grab a spot as soon as one opens up even if you’re still waiting in line to place your order…especially if you can get one of the seats built into the wall, so cool.
Once you get to the counter your options are limited, which I also love. I respect a place that is focused and stays true to it’s roots, and Louis’ Lunch definitely does so with their menu. Hamburger sandwiches is what they’re all about and that is what you’re here for so order it up! The burgers are made fresh daily with a proprietary blend of five meat varieties and they’re cooked to order…medium rare is the default and how I recommend you getting them done as well.
These delicious hand-shaped patties are then grilled on one of their three antique cast-iron broilers over an open flame. They are seriously beautiful pieces of kitchen equipment!
Louis’ Lunch also has a firm no-condiments rule…cheese, onion and tomato are your only options. Christian would have real problem with this…he loves a ton of ketchup on his burger! And the bun, well, it’s not a bun. It’s toasted white bread…genius. These burgers are legit…grab a birch beer and a slice of homemade pie to go along with it and you have yourself a perfect New England meal. Feels like home!