1046 Broad St
Meriden, CT 06450-3446
No one seems to have the exact date but sometime around the 1950’s, Jack’s Lunch in Middleton, CT made it’s mark on burger history. Jack’s lunch was the first to start steaming their burgers. The phenomenon caught on quickly, well that is if you consider the popularity of something in the Wallingford-Meriden, CT a phenomenon. Popularity contests be damned, central CT is still serving up their ground beef sandwiches steamed and the place to get them is Ted’s Restaurant. Since 1959, Ted’s has served these little numbers to the adorning public topped with their famous “secret” steamed cheese.
When it came up that I would be travelling to Hartford, CT for the Rockstar Mayhem Festival, I immediately wanted to re-try visting Louis Lunch. When Burger Guru George Motz from Hamburger America reminded me that they are closed for August (WHY!?!?!) I immediately swtiched up our destination to Ted’s. The burger meat and the companion cheese are both steamed in a patented device known as the “Burg’R Tend’R” by Dale Greenbacker while the home fries and onions are cooked on a flat top griddle. So it’s not that they don’t have the technology, it’s that they refuse to make burgers on it.
Ted’s is right off the highway and be careful, it’s easy to miss. It’s a small hut attached to a house with 3 green picnic tables outside. Do not be tempted to visit Quality Time, the much larger and easier to find competitor right off the highway, Ted’s is the way to go. With only a few counter stools and tables, there isn’t much room for, well anything. The server will take your order at the door and then you can choose to sit, where your food will brought. It only took a few minutes before our steamed burgers and home fries arrived. Served on large kaiser roll, I got mine with bacon, lettuce, fried onions, mustard and of course the cheese, which once steamed has the consistency of hot lava.
The burger has a very unique texture and taste. The meat is thick and although it’s moist, it isn’t juicy. It’s almost a gamey flavor but not really. The cheese is fantastic and as you can see by the photo below, very, very, very gooey. In fact, I suggest flipping the sandwich over (cheese on bottom) so you get a better taste of the melty goodness. The bacon they use is top notch and actually what made me really appreciate burger. I wish the home fries were a little crispier but I love that the non-standard burger place has a non-standard potato side. The steamed cheese burger is almost hard to describe and it is not intended to be loved by your standard fast food burger fan. True burger fans, this is one for the books.