Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Birthplace of A Legend

During my Massachusetts upbringing Connecticut was most often referred to as 'the state you have to drive through' and the dividing line between Red Sox and Yankees fans. Thus, CT is not quite a glowing gem in the geological wonder that is the Northeast.

That all being said, I had heard stories about one ultimately redeeming quality of The Constitution State. Legend has it that it is the birthplace of our beloved hamburger. On a recent jaunt back to NYC from MA, I stopped in at Louis' Lunch in downtown New Haven to investigate. I was flabbergasted with my findings.

Louis' is no bullshit and you can feel it from the moment you walk through the door. Dimly lit, hardwood all around, clean but gritty. Two employees: one taking orders and one cooking burgers. A sign conveniently points out that there are two condiments, tomatoes and onions, and that 'this is not Burger King' and 'you cannot have it your way'. Menu options are Hamburger, Cheeseburger and one side, Potato Salad.

I went for the cheeseburger with tomatoes, onions and a Foxon Park Ginger Beer (a delicious local soda) then took a seat where I could watch the cooking process. Louis' uses 3 vertical, gas powered, broilers to cook. Their patties are fresh, not frozen, and they are placed into a grilling basket then inserted vertically into the broiler. They are cooked from the sides; not the top and bottom. The result is the juiciest more flavorful burger I've ever tasted and with the accompanying onions, tomatoes and toasted white bread to sop up the juice, the deal is instantly sealed.

Connecticut you are redeemed...for now.

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