The famous Louis’ Lunch in New Haven, Connecticut, is known as the “Birthplace of the Hamburger Sandwich,” a title so appealing, Ethan and I drove all the way from the Boston area to Yale Land just to see what the hubbub was about. Some days you feel like driving two hours to see if something lives up to the hype.
For those who have never been, this place is small, very small. The restaurant’s quaint little building was originally a tannery. It’s probably pleasantly cozy during it’s slow hours with its nook-like seating and dark wood paneled walls (that are covered with lots of carved graffiti). Unfortunately, we got there in time for the lunch rush and got a good feel for what it’s like to be a sandwich ourselves. A lot of people were ordering to go and the phone was constantly ringing with take-out requests.
The limited menu focuses on the star of the show (i.e. the burger), but they also offer potato salad, chips and pie. We’re not sure what kind of pie because it was listed on the menu simply as “pie” and we were there for the hamburger sandwiches.
The grills at Louis’ Lunch date back to 1898 and look like something you’d find in a Victorian mad scientist’s laboratory. It’s kind of fun to watch them in action.
The burgers are pretty serious: thick patties simply dressed with just onion and tomato between white toast. Their thing is that they’ll “kill you” if you ask for ketchup, something like that, so…don’t do it. The burgers are so rare you’ll think you have ketchup anyway.
They do make a good burger. These were tasty and we enjoyed the novelty of toast instead of a bun. We didn’t miss condiments either. We’d probably go here semi-regularly if we lived nearby and recommend checking it out if you’re in the area, or even within a couple hours driving distance if you’re curious.