Sasha and I finally did something in New Haven, Connecticut. We ate at the infamous Louis' Lunch. Louis' (pronounced Louie's) is the arguably the first place on earth to serve hamburgers. We first sat at the space left at counter and later moved to a teeny booth. It took some time to prepare our meal, so we had time to take it all in.
Here is a very authentic video on the Louis' experience. It is a lot more crowded and a bit more gritty than the way they portray it. This video shows one of the proprietors we spoke with and is bit more like what we encountered.
The place hasn't changed much in a century and refuses to ever do so. If you are ever in New Haven right near where highway 95 and 91 meet stop by.
The burgers are slowly (painfully so) cooked to order in one of the three vertical gas grills you see in the back of the first photo. You can get them with sliced tomato, onion, or a schmear of cheddar cheese spread (which they call "cheese"). It is served on sliced white toast. There are no condiments. No ketchup, nor catsup, no mustard (my usual preference). Other than that, they only have home-made potato salad with hard boiled eggs (not my preference), potato chips, and bottled drinks. Nothing else except tradition.
Our $5 burgers were worth the trip. Mine was one of the best burgers I can recall. It tasted wonderful - like actual cooked beef. It is a mixture of freshly ground meats and not what we usually encounter which is usually a puree of beef and fat. The closest I think I've had was something that cost $20 at an upscale eatery somewhere in New York City, but that usually comes with fries. I enjoyed it more than the well reviewed and yummy joint Local Burger which is here in our city in Massachusetts. But I have to admit that our Louis burger would have been truly amazing had it included red-onion instead of yellow, an actual slice of cheddar, and served on a Portuguese roll with some mustard, but then we'd be messing with a 100 year tradition. Also, it sure wouldn't have hurt to have a side of fries, but then again most anything tastes good with a side of fries.