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Louis Lunch

263 Crown St., New Haven, CT - (203) 562-5507
Louis Lunch, which claims to be the birthplace of the hamburger, starts with freshly-ground steak that is hand-flattened into a patty and placed inside a wire holder inside a vertical iron oven that holds the meat suspended between two heat sources. As the patty cooks, the grease drips off it and the meat sears. When it is done, the hamburger is removed from its wire holder and placed between two pieces of toasted white bread. A schmear of Cheese Whiz or a slice of tomato is optional. Ketchup is not.
71% Approval Rating (63 votes)

Scorecard

4 - Overall: One of the Best - Worth a Trip
Overall: One of the Best - Worth a Trip
cheeseburger
hamburger

Highlighted Reviews

rating
Michael Stern - Photos (8)
Roadfood.com Editor
"A small brick building with school-desk seats and an ancient wooden counter with years' worth of initials carved into it, Louis Lunch cooks hamburgers in fat-reducing metal broilers that predate George Foreman’s Lean Mean Grilling Machine by almost a century. A ..."   [Read More]
rating
Joan Keating
March 25, 2009
"What a letdown! We made a special trip to Louis Lunch just for the great burgers. We walked in and found it packed with first-timers like us, standing in a confused mob inside the door. The counterperson (owner?) and the cook, standing next to each other at the ..."   [Read More]
rating
Nomi Lubin
November 09, 2006
"I grew up in New Haven and ate at Louis many times over the last thirty years. It was great for most of those years. But the last couple of times I've gone there, it's been disappointing. I hate to be writing this about a place that should be so perfect in every ..."   [Read More]
rating
james babek
January 24, 2005
"After several years of wanting to eat at Lou's I finally had the opportunity this weekend. The building itself, a national historic landmark, is like stepping back in time to the early 1900's. The atmosphere is something to experience and something to behold. I ..."   [Read More]
rating
David Panagrosso
July 23, 2004
"I was disappointed. Having grown up just outside of New Haven, I've been hearing about Louis Lunch for 30+ years. I was a little ashamed to say I had never been there until recently. Now I've gone, and probably won't go back. First impressions are everything. Not ..."   [Read More]

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Map & Web Site

263 Crown St., New Haven, CT
(203) 562-5507

http://www.louislunch.com/

Hours & Policies

Seasons:Open Year Round
Meals Served:Lunch
Operational Hours:Always Call Ahead!
Credit Cards Accepted:No
Alcohol Served:No
Outdoor Seating:No
Reservations Accepted:No
Delivery Available:No
Takeout Counters:No
One cheeseburger, with Louis's works, which are onions (grilled into the burger as it cooks) and sliced tomato.  Ketchup is forbidden at Louis lunch.
"One cheeseburger, with Louis's works, which are onions (grilled into the burger as it cooks) and sliced tomato. Ketchup is forbidden at Louis lunch."
Michael Stern





Louis Lassen III explained to us that he once tried to use a machine to make the burger patties, but it ruined their flavor and texture.  Today, as in the beginning, each hamburger is hand-formed.
"Louis Lassen III explained to us that he once tried to use a machine to make the burger patties, but it ruined their flavor and texture. Today, as in the beginning, each hamburger is hand-formed."
Michael Stern


Bread for burgers is still toasted the old-fashioned way at Louis.  Of course, there are no buns for burgers ... because hamburger buns had not yet been invented when Louis Lassen invented the hamburger.
"Bread for burgers is still toasted the old-fashioned way at Louis. Of course, there are no buns for burgers ... because hamburger buns had not yet been invented when Louis Lassen invented the hamburger."
Michael Stern


These metal broilers are what give Louis Lunch hamburgers a succulence inside their crunchy exterior. Note how a knife is used to keep the door latched on the left broiler.  That's been the technique for at least the three decades we've been eating Louis' burgers!
"These metal broilers are what give Louis Lunch hamburgers a succulence inside their crunchy exterior. Note how a knife is used to keep the door latched on the left broiler. That's been the technique for at least the three decades we've been eating Louis' burgers! "
Michael Stern


The original Louis Lassen at his lunch counter some time in the 'teens.  That's the SAME counter at which customers dine today.
"The original Louis Lassen at his lunch counter some time in the 'teens. That's the SAME counter at which customers dine today."
Michael Stern


Vintage graffiti scratched into a Louis table. Graffiti on the counter dates back almost a century!
"Vintage graffiti scratched into a Louis table. Graffiti on the counter dates back almost a century!"
Michael Stern


Freshly-painted Louis on a bright winter day. Jeff Lassen told us that the family now owns the property on which Louis sits, so no matter what sort of urban renewal happens around it, Louis is not going anywhere.
"Freshly-painted Louis on a bright winter day. Jeff Lassen told us that the family now owns the property on which Louis sits, so no matter what sort of urban renewal happens around it, Louis is not going anywhere."
Michael Stern


Louis Lunch is tiny.  Expect to wait for a seat during lunch hour.
"Louis Lunch is tiny. Expect to wait for a seat during lunch hour."
Michael Stern



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