Louis’ Lunch

Louis Lunch

Louis’ Lunch in New Haven, Connecticut, advertises itself as the first restaurant to serve hamburgers and as being the oldest hamburger restaurant still operating. Opened as a small lunch wagon in 1895, it was also one of the first places in the US to serve steak sandwiches. Louis Lassen, a butter dealer, operated a lunch wagon where he served steak and ground steak hamburger sandwiches, made from scrap trimmings, to local factory workers. According to family legend, one day in 1900 a local businessman dashed into the small New Haven lunch wagon and pleaded for a lunch to go. Lassen hurriedly sandwiched a broiled hamburger between two slices of bread and sent the customer on his way, so the story goes, with America’s first hamburger being served.

The fourth generation of Lassens own and operate Louis’ Lunch today. The restaurant flame broils the hamburgers, the original way, in antique 1898 vertical cast iron gas stove with hinged steel wire gridirons to hold the hamburgers in place while they cook simultaneously on both sides. The patties are hand formed from ground steak made from a secret blend of five different cuts of beef. The hamburgers are prepared with cheese, tomato or onion as the only condiments or garnish; never any mustard, ketchup or mayonnaise on two square pieces of toasted white bread.

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One Comment to “Louis’ Lunch”

  1. Wonderful post. I’ve never heard of Louis Lunch restaurant before but then again I don’t visit Connecticut enough to know about it. When I visit New Haven again, I will definitely stop by this place. Thanks for the suggestion.

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