New In New Haven

DO NOT ASK FOR KETCHUP AT LOUIS’ LUNCH. NOT EVER.

May 26, 2010
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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.


My first New Haven pizza: Modern Apizza

May 20, 2010
7 Comments

Your pizza ain't burnt. That'sa tha'way New Haven does apizza.

Not unlike Philly and it’s trademark cheese steaks; I learned pretty quickly that New Haven has no shortage of places for their trademark “apizza.”

Just about everyone here in New Haven has a different joint to point you to – but the holy trinity of legend for New Haven’s pizza scene are the originals: Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana on Wooster, Sally’s Apizza on Wooster, and Modern Apizza on State Street. It used to be Pepe’s vs. Sally’s… but Modern has snuck it’s way into the conversation through the years.

And apparently, choosing one or the other is like choosing good or evil. Leno or CoCo. Pepsi or Coke. The Stones or The Beatles. Sox or the Yanks. Cats or dogs… Mass. hysteria.

(more…)


New Haven likes to eat out

May 19, 2010
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Anybody catch this SOUNDOFF post on NHRegister.com last week?

We asked readers a simple request- to name their favorite restaurant. And they did, in droves. 134 responses popped up on that page.

But that’s not the part that astounds me, I knew there were plenty of great places to eat your heart out here in New Haven. What astounds me is how few of these places were actually repeated in those comments.

I nerded out and tallied through every single comment only to find just about every reader gave a shout out to a different place throughout the greater New Haven area. I expected to see a long list of Pepe’s vs. Sally’s. But what I got was variety. In taste, and in options. Again- not surprised by the variety itself; but it’s fascinating to see how proud New Haveners are of their treasured little eateries, and that everyone has a different one.

So if you want a place to go out to eat tonight, why not just take a look at that Soundoff post and pick something new or at random? I’d be shocked if anyone had been to every one of those places.

The best responses though?

“My mother’s house in Hamden got them all beat. The prices are fantastic. “
“The vending machine in the New Haven Register first floor. It’s top notch. “

Where to get that first New Haven pizza?

May 15, 2010
2 Comments

New York style can screw itself. This is New Haven style.

So New Haven has, like, all these great places for pizza. That’s what everyone keeps telling me. And I’m all for that.

But, where do I start? Where does my first bite into your savory east coast crust HAVE to be?

I’m leaning towards Frank Pepe‘s, but still- I’d like to see if anyone out there feels the need to contend with something else.

Let’s talk etiquette too. Do I say “mootz” if I want mozzarella? Wikipedia says that’s how we New Haven natives say it.  Don’t worry, I won’t make fun of it. In Philly, we don’t say “cheese” either. We say “whiz.”

Gonna grab a bite this weekend, so I’ll post pics and text about the experience later on.


    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.

    follow @LouderCMarch

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