Today is National Hamburger Day in the United States, and Connecticut is home to where this American culinary icon served between bread was born.
In 1900 at Louis’ Lunch in New Haven, Louis Lassen created the first hamburger sandwich for a customer who needed an item to go, long before the drive-thru window.
Hand grinding some beef and placing it between two slices of toast, a legend was born.
May 28 is National Hamburger Day. “The humble hamburger is a staple of western culture,” according to publicity material. “Burger joints, takeaway food outlets and all-night-eateries serve them up in their millions.”
Library of Congress documentation
Documented by the Library of Congress as the birthplace of the hamburger sandwich (a hamburger inside bread, a bun or a roll), the original process remains unchanged at Louis’ Lunch. Burgers still are grilled in the original vertical cast-iron grills dating back to 1898.
And keeping with tradition, the only toppings are cheese, tomato and onion. Not on the menu are ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise.
“The Lassens remain committed to the belief that the beef speaks for itself,” according to Visit New Haven, the city’s tourist bureau.
Some other locations in the United States also claim to be the birthplace of the hamburger sandwich.
‘Truly a national treasure’
Ginny Kozlowski, executive director of Visit New Haven, said Louis’ Lunch is a popular place to visit in the Elm City.
“The first question out of many visitors’ mouths is, ‘Where is Louis Lunch?’” Kozlowski said. “With national and international media coverage and worldwide acclaim, Louis’ is truly a national treasure.”
For anyone planning a visit, Louis’ Lunch at 261-263 Crown St. in downtown New Haven is open Tuesday and Wednesday from 11 a.m.-3: 45 p.m., and Thursday to Saturday from noon-2 a.m. It is closed
Bring cash, because credit and debit cards are not accepted.
The eatery is traditionally closed during the month of August, with the dates this year being Aug. 3 to Sept. 1.