Louis' Lunch

Burgers, American
$ $
261 Crown St
New Haven, CT 06511
(203) 562-5507
11:00am - 3:45pm
11:00am - 3:45pm
12:00pm - 2:00am
12:00pm - 2:00am
12:00pm - 2:00am

Sigh. Deep breath. A conversation about Louis’ Lunch is never simple. Is it the birthplace of the hamburger? Supposedly, one day in 1900, a gentleman hurriedly told proprietor Louis Lassen "he was in a rush and wanted something he could eat on the run" resulting in a blend of ground steak trimmings between two slices of toast being sent with the gentleman on his way. But is it a "burger," or is it a "sandwich"? Some argue that historically and semiotically speaking, the "original burger" is a sandwich and not a hamburger because a hamburger is technically a ground-beef patty on some form of yeast bun. It’s a smart conversation, one it would be fun to get Chicago’s deep-dish lovers to take on (theirs is a casserole, not a pizza). But because of the "it’s a burger" answer that comes from 99.995 percent who answer the "what-is-this" question, and because, well, give us a break, it’s a place in the pantheon of hamburger sandwiches (how is a burger not a sandwich anyway?), Louis’ Lunch made this list.

Sandwich, hamburger, whatever. So what do you get? A flame-broiled burger made in a vertical hinged-steel wire gridiron that cooks the burgers on both sides at the same time. That’s what. It’s a hamburger sandwich supposedly made from a blend of five cuts of ground steak. If you want condiments, you’ll have to ask. The extent that your burger is going to get tricked out is cheese, tomato, and onion. No mustard, ketchup, or mayo. But do you really need all that? You can practically taste the nostalgia. And that never disappoints. — Arthur Bovino



  • Jeff Lessen, owner of Louis Lunch, makes expert level Cheese Works sandwiches." --Adam Richman, Man V Food Nation
  • Go to Louis' Lunch, Order the Cheese plain. Don't ask for ketchup.
  • Hello SCSY delegates! The first hamburger ever was invented here -- check out this culinary landmark!
  • Your burger options are cheese, tomato, and onion. Large variety of local bottled sodas - try the birch beer.
  • They invented the hamburger in 1900. No, really. And they still use the same 100+ year old cast iron gas cookers to make them.
  • Where the hamburg was invented! {really - it was, right here!!}
  • Lays claim to the birthplace of the hamburger sandwich. Grab a burger with everything (onions and cheese). Don't even think of asking for ketchup-- it ain't allowed.
  • Get a cheese works and a birch. Don't ask for ketchup.
  • Never ask for ketchup the burger is perfect without it!
  • The Birthplace of the Hamburger Sandwich. Their original burger recipe has hardly changed since its inception in 1895.
  • everytime i drive by new haven, i gotta to stop a louis lunch ... best hamburgers in the world
  • Dont even think about asking for mustard or mayo: the only approved toppings are tomato, onion, and cheese.
  • The strongest claim to the birth of the hamburger comes from Louis Lunch in New Haven, Connecticut.
  • Bring cash, order a Birch beer, and don't ask for ketchup, mustard, or mayo.
  • One cheese, worksthat's a burger with cheese, tomato, and onion. The sweetness of the onion is key, and the salt from the cheese and the moisture of the tomato are a good step away from condiments.
  • This great little place has been serving hamburgers since 1900, and is now a fourth-generation family business. They also serve up a local favorite, Foxon Park sodas, to wash down your burger.
  • The cheese works... is the business
  • Don't ask for ketchup. Don't pay with credit, or be "escorted out"
  • 2 Cheese Works, Birch Beer, and Cape Cod kettle cooked potato chips. You will thank me later, trust me.
  • Grab a cheeseburger with tomatoes and onion. While the restaurant needs to be experienced, I found eating outside was quite pleasant (weather permitting).

Nearby places

254 Crown St (at College St.)
157 Wooster St (at Brown St.)
1111 Chapel St (btwn York and High)