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A Little Bit About a Lot of Things

A lifestyle blog with a focus on my food adventures

I saw Louis on Food Networks 101 Chowdown Countdown. They said that the burger was invented here in 1900. They flame broil the burgers in the original vertical cast iron gas stoves. The Metropolitan Cafe also cooks burgers vertically-this allows all the fat to drip down away from the burgers.

Louis is this tiny little, no nonsense kind of place. They have either hamburgers or cheeseburgers, and the only toppings you can get are cheese (cheese whiz), tomato or onion. And don’t even think about asking for ketchup. The burgers come on two pieces of toasted white bread and it’s wrapped in wax paper. All burgers are cooked medium rare unless you ask nicely for more well done. The burgers are placed 7 or 8 at a time into a contraption that looks like a fish grill basket and placed into the oven to cook.

Expect a wait. There was a line outside of about 10 people when we rolled up at 2pm. I thought that there would be no line since it wasn’t peak lunch time, but there was. And that was the first of the lines. Once you get inside you wait in another line to order. Once you’ve ordered, you have to hover in the corner and wait for your food. From start to finish we waited about an hour. Thankfully¬† it was a nice day outside because we were worried that we weren’t going to be able to find a seat inside. (We ended up eating on the bench outside) There are 5 stools at the counter, a large square table that has benches for family style picnic eating, and then some singles seats reminiscent of those chairs in elementary school with the desks attached. This isn’t a place to sit and mingle, not unless you people giving you death stares. As we were waiting for our food all I could think was, “this is what sardines must feel like”. If you watch the chronicle clip below, it looks a lot more spacious than it really is, tv magic I suppose.

For you Bostonians, I would equate this place to a lesser version of Bartley’s Burger Cottage. Bartley’s always has a line as well, but here is where they are superior: Bartley’s takes your order while you are waiting in line so that when you get inside, your burger is ready and you can sit down and eat. Louis would gain so much if they just followed suit.

Some of the reviews that I read before we went talked about how poor the service was. I equate the service to what you would get a Durgin Park. And keep it in context, if I had to work in a place that size, 12 hours a day, behind a counter that two grown men can stand, arms stretched out, touching fingers, with tourists constantly snapping pictures in my face, I might not be a happy camper either. People also complained about the wait. Well if you saw this place on the Food Networks, don’t you think that hundreds or thousands of other people also saw that very same program and want to try it out? And finally, people were saying that either it was the best burger they’ve ever had or the worst. Here’s the thing, if your idea of a great burger is gourmet meat, toasted brioche buttered roll, produce from the local farmers market, yes, of course you aren’t going to think that this is a great burger. It has almost no seasoning and it’s served on toasted wonder bread. Put your review into context people.

The burger was good. It wasn’t the best burger I’ve ever had, but it was good. Having it on white bread was a new experience for me. I felt like the bread didn’t really hold the burger very well which made it a little messy to eat…so I wasn’t too big of a fan. The burger itself was juicy and moist. The meat was tasty but it was gone in six or so bites. They don’t have fries there, but you can order chips by the bag. They have these great sodas there made by Foxon Park as well as the regular suspects. When we got there, they were running out of sodas, desserts, almost everything!

So it was good to try it out, and say that I’ve been there. Will I go out of my way again to go there, probably not…but like I said before, it was fun to try it once. One more thing, make sure you bring your cash because they don’t accept credit cards!

Louis Lunch

263 Crown St New Haven, CT 06511

(203) 562-5507

Hours: Tue-Wed. 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.; Thu-Sat. 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.

Louis' Lunch on Urbanspoon

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