Happy National Cheeseburger Day 9/17/18
A historical look back at America’s Cheeseburger fascination.
Adding cheese to hamburgers became popular in the late-1920s to mid-1930s, and there are several competing claims as to who created the first cheeseburger. Lionel Sternberger is reputed to have introduced the cheeseburger in 1926 at the age of 16 when he was working as a fry cook at his father’s Pasadena, California sandwich shop, “The Rite Spot”, and “experimentally dropped a slab of American cheese on a sizzling hamburger.”
An early example of the cheeseburger appearing on a menu is a 1928 menu for the Los Angeles restaurant O’Dell’s which listed a cheeseburger smothered with chili for 25 cents.
Other restaurants also claim to have invented the cheeseburger. For example, Kaelin’s Restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky, said it invented the cheeseburger in 1934. One year later, a trademark for the name “cheeseburger” was awarded to Louis Ballast of the Humpty Dumpty Drive-In in Denver, Colorado.According to Steak ‘n Shake archives, the restaurant’s founder, Gus Belt, applied for a trademark on the word in the 1930s.
Currently, the most expensive cheeseburger in America belongs to New York City food truck 666 Burger. It’s a $666 burger that is wrapped in gold leaf and topped with lobster, caviar, truffles, foie gras, and aged gruyere cheese melted with steam from champagne poured on the hot griddle.
The largest cheeseburger ever made in the world weighed 2,014 pounds (914 kg), “60 pounds [27 kg] of bacon, 50 pounds [22.5 kg] of lettuce, 50 pounds [22.5 kg] of sliced onions, 40 pounds [18 kg] of pickles, and 40 pounds [18 kg] of cheese.” The record was broken by Minnesota’s Black Bear Casino breaking the previous Cheeseburger record 881 pounds (400 kg).
Chris Edwards Napa