One version of legend has it that the burger story began in Wisconsin. At the tender age of 15, enterprising Charles Nagreen launched a meatball business at the Outagamie County Fair. But fairgoers found the meatballs difficult to eat while walking around, so Charles hit upon the radical; idea of flattening the meatballs and serving them between slices of bread. The meatball maestro is also alleged to have christened his creation the ‘hamburger’.
Depending on who you listen to, another claim anoints New Haven, Connecticut as the birthplace of the hamburger. Apparently, restaurant proprietor Louis Lassen served a customer who was in a hurry and needed to eat on the run, so he ground up and cooked beef and served it as a sandwich – creating the world’s beloved hamburger.
Last, and by no means least, is a version which credits the St Louis World Fair as the occasion of the hamburger’s invention. Fletch ‘Old Dave’ Davis, from Athens , Texas, allegedly had a brainwave one fine day. He grilled a raw hamburger steak to crisp brown and sandwiched it between two thick slices of homemade toast, adding a slice of raw onion on top. His customers fell head over heels for the new dish, and its popularity soared. He’s also said to have been the first person to serve fried potatoes alongside the hamburger. Burger lovers everywhere are forever in his debt.
1940, First Macdonalds opens
When brothers Dick and Mac McDonald opened the first McDonald’s restaurant in San Benardino, California, they had no idea their burger joint would become a global phenomenon. In 1948 their new ‘Speedee Service System’ created the first ever ‘fast food’ restaurant, and its mascot, was a man with a chef’s hat atop a hamburger-shaped head. In 1967, though, he was replaced by Ronald McDonald, and the Big Mac went on to become the biggest-selling hamburger of all time.
1954, First BurgerKing opened
In 1954 the first Burger King restaurant opened in Miami, Florida, giving McDonald’s a run for its money, with its signature burger The Whopper vying for burger supremacy against the McDonald’s Big Mac.
1969, First Wendys opened
The opening of the first branch of Wendy’s marked a radical change in the burger world, selling square-cut hamburgers. Three years later, the first franchise branch of Wendy’s opened in Indiana, sparking a huge expansion.