A cloud of steam billows from a small metal chamber as Paul Duberek removes one of many tiny pans from its interior. He scoops a meaty leaf of ground beef from it onto a waiting kaiser roll. A second tiny pan cradles the gooey white cheddar that tops the famed steamed cheeseburger at Ted's Restaurant in Meriden, Connecticut. Travel with Hamburger America for a visit.
Steamed cheeseburgers are a regional specialty in south central Connecticut, and are limited to roughly a 25-mile radius centered on Middletown. Ted's Restaurant, in Meriden, is now thought of as the home of this burger style, but it was created at the now-defunct Jack's Lunch in Middletown. Until late 2006, O'Rourke's Diner was one of a handful of steamer joints serving these burgers, but it burned down, which is a shame, because, according to Jason Perlow on eGullet.com, it was the legitimate heir to Jack's sandwichJack's son, Brian O'Rourke, owned the place.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKER This video is an excerpt from Hamburger America by George Motz. We like George because of his tireless passion for all things hamburger and the simple but thorough way he tells the story of America's best burgers through film. The full-length DVD is available on his website.