New In New Haven

DO NOT ASK FOR KETCHUP AT LOUIS’ LUNCH. NOT EVER. | May 26, 2010

Heed this warning.

So far, this site has been about things to do in New Haven. But there are also things you NEVER do in New Haven.

Like ask for ketchup on your burger at Louis’ Lunch. DON’T DO IT.

It’s so serious, I had to type this post’s headline in all caps.

Don’t worry, I was schooled well enough to not commit this atrocity. But I had the wonderfully sick joy of watching someone else make the grave mistake.

And darn, was this guy clueless. He stumbles in stammering drunk on a Saturday and has the audacity to ask the guests, obviously scarfing down burgers, what they recommend here at Louis’.

“It’s my first time here.”

The guys sitting next to me said, “Well, you can try the burger… or the burger.”

So he goes to order a burger, and what does he do? He asks for ketchup. FAIL.

You know that scene in Back to the Future when Biff walks in and sees George McFly at the end of the bar and shouts, “HEY McFLY”? It was like that. The music cuts off, all talking and chatter abruptly stops, and all eyes are on the man asking for ketchup.

Someone at the counter points to the sign that says “don’t ask for ketchup” and new guy goes, “hey cut me a break, it’s my first time.”

At which point, the guy behind the counter who runs Louis’ says that they don’t cut breaks. Learn how to order right. If his father was there and it was busy with a line out to the street, he would have made him go to the back of the line and wouldn’t tell him what he did wrong. “Come back when you learn how to order.”

That said, the historic Louis’ Lunch is more than the birthplace of the hamburger. It’s one of the best burgers you’ll find, served on toast, deliciously lean and juicy beef, cooked medium rare.

My brother.

My brother, who runs track and xc for University of Tennessee, finds more joy in cheeseburgers than about anything else. He’s like Wimpy from Popeye. He’s had many, many burger delights from around the country, but he’s been salivating over Louis’ since we scarfed there Saturday night. One of the best, if not the best, according to him. I’d trust him when he talks meat, cheese and bread.

In fact, after a few other visits to Prime 16 this past week (my brother spent the week in town with me, which is why my blogging practice fell somewhat wayside) – we decided we’re more impressed by New Haven’s burger scene than it’s much more famous pizza scene. Though, we are Philly boys…so we are disgustingly bias, and carnivorous.

Louis’ Lunch is located at 263 Crown Street, downtown New Haven.

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6 Comments »

  1. I would gladly pay you Thursday for a hamburger today.

    Comment by Evan Brandt — May 26, 2010 @ 5:19 pm

  2. To hell with Louis’…both prime 16 and Kelly’s make really great burgers and you can have whatever you want on them. Surly old farts are so last century.

    Comment by Pat — May 26, 2010 @ 5:25 pm

  3. I loved louis’ code of absurdity. and the beef spoke my language. but yes, prime 16 has had no trouble in winning my allegiance and will quickly become my home away from home.

    ..wouldn’t it be ridiculous fun to stand outside of Louis’ giving away ketchup packets?

    Comment by chris — May 26, 2010 @ 5:47 pm

    • Ditto to hell with Louie’s.

      The Hamburger Nazis, eh?

      Comment by Robert Pentangelo — July 29, 2012 @ 3:20 am

  4. OK, Chris, we have to start thinking about seafood: lobster roll, fried clams. There’s Chick’s in West Haven, the Lobster Shack in Branford, Lenny’s in Branford, Lenny & Joe’s in Madison. There’s even a $10 lobster roll at the Dog House in West Haven, though I haven’t tried it. Let the opinions fly.

    Comment by Ed Stannard — May 26, 2010 @ 10:41 pm

  5. “DO NOT ASK FOR KETCHUP AT LOUIS LUNCH. NOT EVER.
    New In New Haven” was definitely engaging and enlightening!
    In todays society that’s tricky to carry out. I am grateful, Sven

    Comment by http://tinyurl.com/tripguise05156 — February 2, 2013 @ 9:15 pm


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    Who’s the new guy?

    Chris March, a twenty-something music geek packed up his things and moved to New Haven, Ct from suburban Pa to join the online team at the New Haven Register.

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