My chef tried to goad me into asking for ketchup, but as a former Chicagoan I was wise. Today was my first time, a great dining experience at Louis Lunch, the New Haven classic.
If Louis’ Lunch was not masterfully able to satisfy humans’ cravings for food and coziness, the small counter service shop would have been swallowed up by another Yale University beast of glass and steel half a century ago. Louis Lunch has mastered these juicy arts and more: the hamburger was invented here.
The place is so ancient that the restaurant’s small footprint seems more fitting for a horse stable than a modern building lot. The beauty is that the limitation in space is reworked to craft essential ingredients in the Louis Lunch formula: ordering at a counter, steampunk kitchen with automated vertical toast elevator machine and flattop grill in direct view, the wood counters, tables and custom nooks for dining within.
These wooden tables, counters and walls are carved with all the names of guests who really left mark served since (I believe) 1895.
The service received from the kitchen and counter staff was excellent, exceeding my expectations. There was clearly a depth to the ordering that I lacked, and the staff was patient and kind in their explanations and recommendations, including wrapping a special order hamburger togo. The staff made me feel welcome and were also working hard and efficiently.
The burger was juicy, meaty goodness, loved the flavor of the blackened char and pink interior, so satisfying. The potato salad was also delicious with hard boiled egg, green onion and well seasoned. Hours later, I’m getting hungry writing this, that’s a good sign.
I appreciated Louis Lunch serving only locally made Foxon Park sodas. Real recognize real! I would recommend Louis’ Lunch as an outstanding restaurant experience, and a real pleasure. To this New Haven classic, a well deserved bravo!