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American Original

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September 09, 2020

ost likely, this past Labor Day weekend, you may have consumed a Hamburger, an American Original. By the time you have finished reading, you’ll likely want to go out and find the best burger in Las Vegas. This year, there are 78 area restaurants asking you to consider them the best burger. Between now and September 30th (when voting ends), we encourage you to review the list at BestofLasVegas.com, try several that may be new to you, and then cast your vote!

According to Connecticut Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D), the hamburger, a ground meat patty between two slices of bread, was first created in America in 1900 by Louis Lassen, a Danish immigrant, owner of Louis’ Lunch in New Haven, Connecticut.

As the story goes, a customer ordered a quick hot meal and Louis was out of steaks. Taking ground beef trimmings, Louis made a patty and grilled it, putting it between two slices of toast. Some critics like Josh Ozersky, a food editor for New York Magazine, claim that this sandwich was not a hamburger because the bread was toasted. Louis’ Lunch is still operating today from the original location and using the same unique cooking gear.

There have been rival claims by Charlie Nagreen, Frank and Charles Menches, Oscar Weber Bilby, and Fletcher Davis. White Castle traces the origin of the hamburger to Hamburg, Germany with its invention by Otto Kuase.  According to White Castle, Kuase invented the hamburger in 1891, with a beef patty cooked in butter and topped with a fried egg. German sailors would later omit the fried egg.

The Menches claim to have sold a ground beef sandwich at the Erie County Fair in 1885 in Hamburg, New York. During the fair, they ran out of pork sausage for their sandwiches and substituted beef. The story notes that the name of the hamburger comes from Hamburg, New York not Hamburg, Germany.

The hamburger gained national recognition at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair when the New York Tribune referred to the hamburger as “the innovation of a food vendor on the pike.”

No conclusive argument has ever ended the dispute over invention. An article from ABC News sums up: “One problem is that there is little written history.  Another issue is that the spread of the burger happened largely at the World’s Fair, from tiny vendors that came and went in an instant.

Fletcher Davis of Athens, Texas claimed to have invented the hamburger when his wife Ciddy ran a sandwich stand at the St. Louis World’s Fair.

Since those early years, the hamburger or “burger” has grown in popularity. Some say because of our way of life. With the modernization of the American family through the 1950s and 60s, fast food service was created.

The milkshake can be attributed to the fast-food craze that started with the first Mcdonald's restaurant. Started in 1948 in San Bernardino, California by brothers, Maurice “Mac” and Richard McDonald, the two were shopping for appliances for their small hamburger stand when they met salesman Ray Kroc, who was intrigued by their need for eight malt and shake mixers. Kroc bought the brother’s concept, perfected it and it is the McDonalds we know today. In the 2016 movie “The Founder,” Michael Keaton plays Kroc based on the true story. You can stream the movie on Amazon Prime.

Today, there are so many versions of burgers from driving while you eat, to chef-inspired gourmet. If you can’t decide, there is always a selection of sliders to be enjoyed.

Eat well and make sure to vote each day until September 30th for your favorite burger! Cast your votes at BestofLasVegas.com.


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