The History Of Hamburgers

A little hamburger history lesson for you.


Origin of a hamburger

The extensive backstory of hamburgers has been well documented, with many claiming that they invented the delicious dish worldwide. The two countries with the most' beef' would have to be the USA and Germany, with both claiming to have invented the burger.

In 19th century Germany, evidence suggests that the Hamburg Steak became hugely popular in the ports of Hamburg. The location was hugely popular for those emigrating from Hamburg to New York. As we advance to the later years of the 19th century, the Hamburg Steak became tremendously popular on many menus around New York City. The dish consisted of a fried patty containing chopped beef, eggs, onion, and seasoning. The oldest record of the famous dish is found on the menu of Delmonico's Restaurant, offering this for 11¢ in 1873. 

The exact origin of the hamburger is shrouded in mystery, controversy, and disputes. Still, most historians believe that the invention was developed by a cook in a small town in Texas who first put a Hamburg Steak between two slices of bread. In contrast, others note that it was large burger chain White Castle's founder when he developed the 'Hamburger Sandwich'.


somebody eating a burger at a barbecue

Other people who claim to have invented the burger


Charlie Nagreen

A gentleman named Charlie Negreen claimed to sell meatballs when he was a teenager at a summer fair in Seymour, Wisconsin, in 1885. While his new business idea didn't gain much traction, he decided to develop the offering slightly and served his meatballs between two pieces of bread and the 'hamburger' was allegedly born from there. He also claimed to have coined the term 'hamburger' too!


Louis Lassen

The man of Louis' Lunch fame, a burger restaurant in New Haven, Connecticut, also claims to have invented the classic hamburger in 1990. He said he made a grilled beef patty sandwich when his customers asked for something they could eat 'on the go'. This allegedly was the birth of the hamburger that we know today, originating from his kitchen.

The restaurant is still operating today and is as famous as ever, with Louis' great-grandson now taking the helm of the iconic establishment. They still make their burgers the same way they did all those years ago, flame-grilled in cast iron grills that cook the meat vertically.

Whether or not they did invent the hamburger, we think everyone can agree this establishment is an essential piece of burger history.


Why is called a hamburger when it is usually made from beef?

You would be forgiven for thinking that the original hamburger was made from chopped ham or pork, but the name derives from the original Hamburg Steak, which then developed into the Hamburger Sandwich that we all know and love today.


Evolution of the hamburger

It is no secret that burgers have evolved between their inception and the present day. But what makes them different now? The most notable change would be the bread vessel they now come in. Most are traditionally served in a sesame seed bun, quite often a brioche one. The exception is a Patty Melt, served between two thick slices of Texas toast.

Also, toppings. Cheese is now considered to be a classic topping for any hamburger. Also, bacon is often found alongside grilled or fried onions on a burger. 

Other notably delicious toppings include beef chilli, onion rings and pulled pork. We cannot forget the massive variety of burger condiments available – ketchup, mayo, and mustard. The three can sometimes be combined to create a burger sauce.


somebody taking a bite out of a burger at a barbecue

Our take on things

While we have now come to the end of this blog none the wiser on who actually created the first ever hamburger, this is not a cause for concern in our books. Rather than splitting hairs over who made the first-ever burger, we should be celebrating the fact that somebody brought this delicious food item into the lives of billions of people worldwide. And that folks, we are here for!


Are you looking to try one of the best burgers invented in the modern day by our very own Chef Dean Banks? Give our Signature Waagyu Burger a try. You won't be disappointed, trust us.


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