A Texas State legislator has introduced a bill challenging the traditional claim of New Haven, Connecticut’s Louis’ Lunch to the invention of the hamburger. Representative Betty Brown’s contention that the hamburger was invented in Athens, Texas by a local resident named Fletcher Davis at a luncheonette he operated in the late 1880s is based upon research by a local Texas historian and newspaper columnist named Frank X. Tolbert.
If Fletcher Davis invented the hamburger at a luncheonette in Athens, Texas, one might suppose that an invention so successful would have kept that luncheonette in operation.
Despite the passage of time, progress, and New Haven’s inexorable downtown development, Louis’ Lunch remains in business after more than a century. John Harmon’s dismissal of Louis’ clam is not well-reasoned, in my view. Since Louis’ has declined to switch from using their archaic vertical gas broilers, and has refused to switch from using toast to buns, and has refused even to countenance such innovations as ketchup, how can one possibly assume that Louis’s sandwich has ever changed from something else to ground beefsteak?