If you’re hungry for a good burger and a taste of history at the same time, take a trip down to Louis’ Lunch in New Haven, Conn. Louis’ Lunch is the original birthplace of the hamburger and serves authentic beef sandwiches to this day.
Louis’ is located on Crown Street, central to the Yale University campus. The site is surrounded by beautiful historical architecture and university buildings, but more importantly it’s home to one delicious burger that has remained unchanged for almost 120 years.
Back in 1900, a man walked into Louis’ Lunch and asked for a lunch on-the-go, so the chef at the time, Louis Lassen, gave him a quick beef patty between slices of toast, and unknowingly created the most well-known sandwich in America. Now, Jeff Lassen, Louis’ great grandson, makes these burgers the exact same way, and even uses the same grills from 1898.
The best two words to describe Louis’ would be authentic and simple. There is no ketchup allowed in this establishment (yes, you read that correctly) to prevent anything from detracting from the original taste of these burgers. Louis’ has their signature burgers, potato salad, chips, pie and drinks. That’s it.
New Haven has a very unique historical feel, but when you step into Louis’ Lunch, you step into an environment where you can immediately sense its originality and richness. The seats are carved out with customers’ names and there are stones from all over the world used to create this cozy brick establishment.
Enough with the aesthetics: How’s the food? Great, just what you would expect. The burgers, which are cooked medium rare – or requested to be well done – are absolutely delicious. They take the notion of “less is more” and give us the best possible outcome.
The large and juicy patty of beef is set between two thin crisp slices of toast and not a regular bun. It’s layered on top of melted cheese and topped with grilled onions and a tomato slice. This burger simply doesn’t compare to any other burger. Why? Because it’s the original, and because it is absolutely homemade, cooked-to-order, fresh food.
The beef patties are made fresh every morning, the burgers are cooked right in front of you after you order and the fact that there are only five simple ingredients makes for a burger that has quality you can actually taste. Remember, this sandwich originated from a simple creation that developed into a national food only because it tasted good the way it was.
In short, the food at Louis’ Lunch is nothing short of a legend. We Americans love the hamburger, but we probably often forget about its humble roots. Louis’ is the original and has the hamburger sandwich at its purest with nothing to substitute or mask its authentic taste.
Ordering one of these burgers is an easy choice. Ordering anything else at Louis’ is just as easy because of the simple and short menu. Here it is: The Original Burger $5.25, Potato Salad $4.00, Potato Chips $2.00, Homemade Pie (per slice) $4 and up and a selection of assorted drinks.
Louis’ Lunch is a short train or car ride away from Fairfield, and considering the historical nature of the restaurant – and the simply good food – students would be missing out if they didn’t try it at least once.
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