Home of the Hamburger
New Haven, Connecticut
Several towns claim to be the Birthplace of the Hamburger, including Hamburg, New York; Athens, Texas; and Seymour, Wisconsin. But only New Haven has the original restaurant that served that first hamburger: Louis (pronounced LOO-eez) Lunch.
Louis Lassen supposedly made and sold his first hamburger in 1900 to a customer in a hurry. Louis had no catsup then, so the hamburgers sold at Louis Lunch have no catsup now. He also had no rolls, so Louis Lunch burgers are still eaten between two slices of toasted white bread. And they're still cooked on the 1898 cast iron grills that cooked Burger Number One.
Louis Lunch was about to be bulldozed in the early 1970s when local burger fans rallied to save the tiny restaurant and move it to its current location. One of its inner walls was rebuilt with rocks and bricks sent by fans from around the world. Most of these are labeled, including one from far-away Bora Bora, proving that distance is no barrier to Louis Lunch fandom.
The restaurant has never left the Lassen family, and is currently operated by one of Louis' great-grandsons.