I may, from time to time, actually travel outside of Boston, a frightening idea I realize. We did make a trip to Louis Lunch in New Haven, Connecticut months ago, which graces our home page at the moment. Louis Lunch claims to have invented the hamburger and there is evidence to support that. They don’t have ketchup, they don’t offer ketchup, so please don’t ask for it, I guess this is how it was done years ago and they have stayed true to that original format. Walking in to Louis Lunch, which is no bigger than a show box, is like walking into the “Soup Nazi” episode on Seinfeld.
Look, I appreciate the attitude (not really) and I know working with the general public is a nightmare (although I don’t understand how people work in an office either) but if your job is customer service, then try to do it properly. Don’t be pissed if someone orders incorrectly, quite frankly, its not charming. Now if the burgers were fantastic, I might let it slide, it might be endearing, but the burgers at Louis Lunch are anything but. Over-cooked, vertically broiled hockey pucks that come with a cheese-wiz style sauce and a side of potato salad, which coincidentally happens to be better than the burger, are not appetizing. I say, go once, for the history, which is impressive especially if you’re burger obsessive like myself, say that you went to the place that invented the hamburger and never return again.
There are many lists out there for everything, one such list from GQ magazine ranks the top 20 Hamburgers you must eat before you die. Appearing at number 20 is the aforementioned Louis Lunch, and sneaking in at number 18 is Poag Mahone’s in Chicago, which I went to earleir this month. Equally disapointing as Louis Lunch, Poag Mahone’s is just a burger, nothing I haven’t had millions of times before. Not to be outdone, I also went to the famous Billy Goat Tavern, made famous by the John Belushi skecth on SNL years ago. It couldn’t have been worse. The same problems I had with Loius Lunch, The Billy Goat Tavern became famous, and stopped (although maybe they never did) caring about quality and just lived off their fame. Maybe places should be famous for making a good burger, rather than be famous for being famous.