Restaurants in Meriden, CT

In the heart of Connecticut, Meriden boasts several restaurants serving a specialty dish that is unknown in the rest of the U.S.: the steamed cheeseburger. This is a hunk of ground beef that gets cooked not on a grill or grate, but in a steam cabinet, the meat held inside a squarish stainless steel tin as it browns but does not sizzle. Adjacent to the cooking beef patties in the steam cabinet are tins into which are placed small blocks of cheddar cheese. The effect of the steam on the cheese is to make it molten. The concept of steaming meat and cheese was supposedly devised in the 1920s, when steaming food was considered more healthy than frying it. Steamers customarily are served dressed with lettuce and tomato, mustard and onion. Some local diners offer steamed cheese as a topping for slices of apple pie and one even makes a steamed cheeseburger omelet.

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