Texas, Connecticut Battle Over Burger Birthplace
Don't mess with Texas. And, by all means, don't mess with Texas's hamburger. A state legislator there is embroiled in a burger battle with Louis' Lunch of New Haven, Connecticut, over which state can claim to be the birthplace of the hamburger. Says New Haven's mayor, John DeStefano Jr.: "We are even the birthplace of George Bush, who wants people to think he's from Texas. So yes, the hamburger is as much a New Haven original as President Bush. Get over it, Texas."
Louis' Lunch, which opened in 1895, claims to have come up with the marvelous idea in 1900, when a hurried customer requested something he could eat on the run. Republican state representative Betty Brown, however, has proposed a resolution in the Texas legislature declaring Athens, Texas, as rightful birthing ground, noting that Fletcher Davis sold burgers from a luncheonette there in the late 1800s.
Things have gotten heated. Says New Haven mayor John DeStefano Jr.:
"It's a well-known and established fact that New Haven is the home of the hamburger. In fact, New Haven's claim to the hamburger is even supported and documented in the Library of Congress."
In our own research on Serious Eats site A Hamburger Today (admittedly web-based), we found yet another city calling itself the home of the burger: Seymour, Wisconsin. There, in 1895, it's said that "Hamburger" Charlie Nagreen started selling the mighty meaty sandwich. (Here's AHT's History of the Hamburger post.)
This is a debate that will never be resolved, we think, only because there seems to be scant hard evidence as to who invented the burger as we know it and when.