It was supposed to be a diptych. The plan was to hit the reopened O'Rourke's in Middletown for a steamed burger then get to Ted's for another steamed cheeseburg during the same lunch. But on the way back down to NYC we (myself and expert burger taster Kris Brearton) found it impossible NOT to stop at Louis' Lunch in New Haven. Not often do you get to quaff 3 world-class burgers for lunch in one day. We did though, and we were better for it. At O'Rourke's we chatted with the visibly weary but engaging Brian O'Rourke (rumor has it that he's had 1 hour of sleep since the diner reopened Monday) and ate great steamed cheeseburgs made with medium-sharp NY cheddar. Brian visited our table and pointed out that, "Traditionally, steamed cheeseburgers should only be eaten with mustard and onion." I quickly removed my tomato and lettuce. After a ten minute drive to Ted's, we grabbed the only 2 stools left in the tiny diner. Ted's is now owned by Paul Duberek's nephew-in-law and the restaurant was super busy at lunchtime. After we sat, a line started to build at the door. We ate our excellent steamed cheeseburgs and were out the door in 10 mins. Soon thereafter, a hamburger tractor beam pulled our full bellies directly into Louis' Lunch. We were in the cradle of burger civilization for their historic 'Hamburger Sandwich', if not the first burger in America, clearly the oldest continually sold burger for the past 108 years. No one from the 3rd and 4th generations of the Lassen family were there but the place was packed and the wait allowed our stomachs to make some room. The drive back to NYC was marked by burger hallucinations and traffic. Regardless, I'd do it again tomorrow if I could.
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