Lots of people claim to be the inventor of America’s favorite sandwich, but who do you think should get the credit? There are four leading contenders for the title of “Hamburger Inventor.” Vote for your favorite below.
Contestant #1- “Hamburger Charlie” Nagreen of Seymour, Wisconsin. When only 15-years-old, this enterprising young man was selling food at the Outagamie County Fair in 1885, when he thought of putting a patty on a bun. He called it a “hamburger” after the popular Hamburg steak. The State of Wisconsin declared Seymour, Wisconsin to be the “Original Home of the Hamburger.”
Contestant #2- Charles and Frank Menches of Unionville, Ohio. These experienced food vendors were also selling food at a county fair, the Erie County Fair in Hamburg, New York. Their story also takes place in 1885. They called their ground beef patty on a bun a “hamburger” because they were in Hamburg. Thank goodness, they weren’t in Poughkeepsie, New York!
Contestant #3- Louis Lassen of New Haven, Connecticut. In 1895, Lassen started selling ground steak sandwiches to factory workers from a food cart in New Haven. However, his sandwich didn’t become famous until 1900 when a man rushed into Lassen’s restaurant (Louis’ Lunch) and ordered a quick meal that could be eaten on the run. Lassen served him the ground steak sandwich. That started a new craze and Louis’ Lunch became famous, at least in New Haven. The Library of Congress officially recognizes Louis’ Lunch as the birthplace of the hamburger sandwich.
Contestant #4- Fletcher Davis of Athens, Texas. Known as Old Dave, also told a story about a feeding a customer in a hurry at his restaurant in the late 1880s. Old Dave was also mentioned in a newspaper article about the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair about the new fabulous fair food called hamburgers. But Old Dave said that they weren’t new at all because he’d been selling them for more than twenty years.