Louis Lunch New Haven

The Globe has an article about old(est) restaurants in the New England and this one I did not know.
But I am not in New Haven very often. Has anyone any insight? Thanks

In spite of the name, Louis’s Lunch is open for dinner, too. KINDRA CLINEFF

Louis’ Lunch, New Haven, Conn.

Do not ask for ketchup. Louis’ Lunch is a condiment-free zone, and they can do as they please; this family-run burger joint has been recognized by the Library of Congress as the birthplace of the hamburger sandwich. It is also the longest continuously operating hamburger restaurant in America, and one of the country’s oldest family-run businesses. Since 1895, they’ve been making their classic burger with a proprietary blend of five cuts of freshly ground beef, set a-sizzle on cast-iron grills purchased by founder Louis Lassen. Lassen’s great-grandson, Jeff, now runs the place. It’s an unassuming little spot, but a true burger lover won’t care — Louis’ Lunch is the mothership. (The building itself was relocated to Crown Street in 1975.) In spite of the name, they’re open for dinner, too. Murf and Paul are the resident burgermeisters.

Menu: Then and now

Initially, the restaurant served steak dinners. “A customer came in who was in a great rush and needed something he could eat on the run. My grandfather ground up some steak, put it between two slices of toast, and sent him on his way,” says Jeff Lassen. Word got out and a great American sandwich was launched.

Not much has changed. Everybody orders a burger with the works: a one-third-pound, hand-shaped patty made with their secret blend of ground beef, topped with a sharp Cheddar cheese spread, onion, and tomato on white toast ($7). House-made potato salad and a Connecticut-made Foxon Park birch beer are typical add-ons. Why the lack of condiments? “That’s the way my great grandfather did it. It’s all about the meat — we don’t want to cover up the flavor,” Lassen says. (They poke fun at this, selling a “no ketchup” T-shirt, featuring a bottle of ketchup, crossed out.) “People think we’re anti-ketchup, but we’re anti- all condiments,” Lassen quips.

Famous guests:

Steven Spielberg and Laurence Fishburne are among the celebrities who have dined here.

Secret sauce:

During the pandemic, “we made the burgers bigger, not smaller,” Lassen says. “We stay true to ourselves and our customers.” Lassen says. Families, working folks, tourists, Yalies — they’re all welcome here, provided they don’t ask for ketchup. www.louislunch.com


Hamburger wars!

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That’s what I was wondering…its like who invented fried clams? The Clam Box or Woodmans?
Will we ever know? Does it matter or are we just happy someone did?


My dearly departed Dad loved Louis’. He always cautioned me not to ask for ketchup and not to ask for it rare, medium rare, well done, etc. They prepare it the way they prepare it and you’ll take it that way and enjoy it. Plus, he was a Foxon Park birch beer maven. I think you can only buy it in Connecticut. Whenever I drive by Louis’ I think of him with much affection.


It’s a neat spot in that it is unique. My daughter really dug the “burger toaster”. That said, I can’t really recommend the food. If you are infrequently in New Haven, better to systematically check off all of their excellent pizza options.


I have read of Louis Lunch many times but never been. I assumed the patty was small, not a third of a pound.

So, no Biggie Fries or Animal Style burgers?

I wonder if this is where George Foreman got the idea for his grill? :innocent: :innocent:

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