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Who Invented The Burger And Where Was It First Made?

The burger is a widely eaten food across the globe. Having been added to the cuisine of many different cultures, the world has seen various iterations of the two, sometimes a three-bun sandwich. While millions of people a day may eat burgers, those same people likely never question the origin of the burger.

So the question is: who invented it?

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What We Know About It

In the modern day, many restaurants serve specialty burgers with different types of bread. It is believed that this sandwich came about sometime in the 19th or early 20th century. As mentioned above, many different cultures eat burgers.

Thanks to restaurants like McDonald’s and Burger King, their franchise locations have helped millions of people enjoy the same meals every day. From the Monster Mac to the biggest thing BK has, there is no shortage of ideas for the old sandwich.

The usual ingredients to a burger are a beef patty, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, mustard, and ketchup. It is not usual to also see many places offer their burgers with barbecue sauce and other, more eccentric ingredients.

Fish burgers are also very popular now, with many people adopting a pescatarian (eats only seafood) way of eating.

The Real Story?

Everyone loves to hear a great origin story filled with some interesting tidbits or a little bit of drama regarding the object or food in question. As mentioned above, sometime between the 19th and 20th century. But where was it first made?

A 4th-century Roman cookbook makes mention of the isicia omentata. This is a baked beef patty, mixed with black and green peppercorns, pine kernels, and white wine. It is believed this is the closest equivalent to the sandwich before someone came up with the word “burger.”

The true origin story of the burger might be hard to pinpoint, but based on a mountain of evidence, the sandwich was created in the USA early on.

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The US Origin Story

Aside from the widely accepted notion that the burger was first put together in the United States, exactly who invented it is still up for debate.

Ohioan brothers Charles and Frank Menches were two of the first to have supposedly made it. According to Frank’s obituary, the sandwich was created when the brothers ran out of sausage at their Summit County Fair food stall in 1892.

To solve the problem, the brothers switched the meat to beef.

The Other US Origin Story

Other reports suggest it was not the Manches brothers, but a man named Charlie Nagreen who resided in Seymour, Wisconsin. The Seymour Historical Society is said to have evidence that Nagreen invented the burgers at age 15 while preparing sandwiches at the Outagamie County Fair in 1885. The historical society also disclosed that its namesake is the Hamburg steak.

Or did it come from Here?

Above are both great and heartwarming stories that would be great to tell. But an even higher authority on history, the Library of Congress, together with the government of Connecticut determined that Louis Lassen was who invented the burger.

According to those two agencies, Lasses first sold the sandwich at his Louis Lunch restaurant in 1895. But a New York report states that a citizen of Hamburg, Germany visiting the United States named the sandwich after his hometown.

Personally, that particular naming story seems a little more far-fetched than the others, though it has the same chance of being true as the others.

Maybe this is The Real Story?

Texas historian Frank X. Tolbert has a different take than the other stories above. He said Athens, Texas resident Fletcher Davis is the true pioneer of the burger sandwich. According to the historian Tolbert, Davis would sell the sandwiches at his lunch counter in the 1880s.

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It is said he too sold sandwiches at a fair. Davis was said to have also sold his “invention at the Saint Louis World’s Fair in 1904.

Close to the Beginning

While the stories make it hard to find a definite answer to the question, it is pretty cool to have a choice on where you might believe it came from.

Among historians, it is believed that the fast food chain White Castle was the first food service provider to actually offer burgers, which occurred in 1921.

The fast-food giant known as McDonald’s would follow suit 19 years later, using their Speedee Service System to sell millions of burgers during one calendar year.

Which origin story do you agree with?

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