The United States welcomed its first Big Mac in 1968. At a whopping 49 cents it quickly became a popular fast-food option. Today hamburgers are as American as apple pie and baseball. While many assume Hamburg, Germany to be the home of the first hamburger, the concept of minced beef likely predates Hamburg and the idea of eating meat in between two slices of bread was conceived much later. Where all hamburger origin stories agree is this: by the 19th century, beef from German Hamburg cows was minced and combined with garlic, onions, salt, and pepper, then formed into patties (without bread or a bun) to make Hamburg steaks.
When German immigrants began arriving in New York and Chicago, many opened restaurants which featured Hamburg steak as an Americanized version of the German dish. These early burgers were considered gourmet and were quite pricey. During the Industrial Revolution, however, food carts began offering the steaks–sans bun–to factory workers as a quick meal option. Difficult to eat while standing, Hamburg steaks were eventually served between two bread slices and were later served at restaurants with or without onions. It was not until the 1920s that this popular sandwich secured its iconic status as a hamburger patty served on a sliced bun.
Born as an innovation of necessity on the streets of New York City and Chicago, the modern hamburger is now cheered as an American pastime. May 28th marks National Hamburger Day and the unofficial beginning of grilling season.
Whether you enjoy your burgers simple and fast or buried in bacon and grilled onions, Kenmore hosts a variety of restaurants that offer delicious burger selections, including Kidd Valley, HodgePodge Cafe, Jay’s Cafe, and the Guest House Restaurant. If you prefer to grill in your own backyard, the Butcher Shop Cafe offers a great selection of meats as well as other menu items.
Whatever way you prefer to enjoy this iconic dish, remember you can hold the pickles if you choose, but in the end this is a sandwich that might be difficult to hold.