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Jun 14, 2008 05:44 PM

louis lunch

you know...I understand the rough and tough approach at Louis' and how the common tourist is challenged to order only the right things...but I really felt for the guy and his wife in there Thursday...

our rotund and talkative counter guy was just down right nasty...the guys wife was really offended and after seeing many people ask for ketchup...and seeing the normal putdown...these folks just wanted to order...they went way overboard and didn;t know when to pull back...

first time I ever left there feeling like maybe the time has find something else

burger was bland too...

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  1. I appreciate the tradition, the atmosphere, and am wimpy enough to challenge nothing there on Crown St. Which is why I bring ketchup in the car and never eat inside.

    1 Reply
    1. re: rosieg

      me too...but the burger lacked flavor for some resason

    2. Hi Sodagirl,
      I was there a couple of weeks ago, prior to seeing Hairspray at the Shubert Theatre. Definately a destination for those who want the experience, but not for the quality of their food. I found the burger fresh and hand formed but nothing above average tasting and well done rather than medium rare as advertised. The potato salad was bland and heavy handed on the mayo. The service grumpy and inconsisten. My potato salad came out five minutes after my burger. My friend got her potato salad immediately when she ordered, but had to wait ten minutes longer than I did for her burger. We ordered at the same time, were the third orders of their day and the potato salad is premeasured and ready to be placed on counter.

      1 Reply
      1. re: sallyct

        Can't argue with any of it. Service is slow food is bland attitude is arrogant

      2. Totally agree. Never feel welcome in there. I do like the burgers, but they're not worth $4.50. The $3 potato salad is below even supermarket quality (and seriously, potato salad is pretty damn easy to make well). The burgers aren't really big enough to constitute a meal on their own, and there is no decent choice of side. Other places around the neighborhood might charge $8-10 for their burgers, but at least that price includes a decent side and friendly service. Louis Lunch wouldn't be able to get away with the product they present if not for the loyal lunch customers, tourists, and the fact that they're in stumbling distance of the clubs and open until last call.

        4 Replies
        1. re: danieljdwyer

          We're in Boston, right??? At the clothing store where Bonwit Teller used to be???

          1. re: danieljdwyer

            Every time I go by there they are closed! I have to say, I have never eaten there. Sounds like I haven't missed anything. Also sounds like they are a freak show that only exists because of history and uniqueness. Too bad; they could do better than stay open late to cater to drunk Yalies. May be why they have a bad attitude.....

            1. re: Scargod

              Um, what exactly do they do if you ask for ketchup??

              We went in one afternoon and it took so long I had to leave burger-less or be late for work. I ate two burgers my husband saved me later, cold, and I have to say, they were med-rare and they were to die for. Like a good meatloaf sandwich, but you don't have to suffer through the meatloaf part. Like a country pate. Like . . .

          2. I'll vouch for the meat: the Lassens have been grinding sirloin in Orange since WW2. Mr. Lassen would not give me a salt shaker. He lectured me for 20 minutes for assuming his meat mix could possibly need additional seasoning or tweaking.
            I just wanted salt. I salt ham.
            But a Louis' burger followed up with a waffle cone of sweet cream ice cream from Ashley's is a quinella winner.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Veggo

              Thanks for the posts. You all saved me a trip from New Jersey. After hearing about and seeing this place on the Food Network or Travel Channel, I wanted to see what it is all about. Although atmosphere, setting, tradition, etc. all add to the experience; for me it comes down to the food. And if it isn't exceptional, then I'll stick closer to home.

              1. re: hotdoglover


                if you wre disappointed w Louis you could have made a stop at Super Duper Weenie on the way back. :-))

                1. re: jfood

                  That's right! Or the Pepe's in Fairfield.

            2. Did any of you invent the hamburger? No? I didn't think so.

              I have never had any problem with the staff being rude. Then again I don't go into a place with a clear sign that says "No ketchup" and ask for ketchup. You want a chipolte bacon double cheese behemoth burger you can go to TGI Fridays, Hardees, or any number of places. If you want to taste the original you go to Louis.

              8 Replies
              1. re: EastRocker

                Based solely on my cold burgers experience, I vote with EastRocker. They're good, they're slow, they're not that salty. Because they are actual food. That said, I wouldn't plan a trip from NJ just to try them.

                Tho' if you are truly a "hotdoglover" I know lots of nutmeggers who would swear you had to visit CT to try this or that hot dog stand . . .

                1. re: zoe p.

                  I moved to Meriden from Bridgeport 4 years ago, I must admit Ted's is worth the trip. Not sure why the steamed burgers are so damn good, but it's good. The got fries and a few more fixins than Louis Lunch. It's a small, small place, so expect to take out, but they move along pretty quick, Friendly too.
                  Haven't been in about 6 months, time to go back

                2. re: EastRocker

                  What about Ted's Steamed Cheeseburgers in Meriden? Same thing as Louis Lunch? Same attitude? No catsup/no fries?

                  1. re: Scargod

                    I must admit, Ted's is one adventure I have yet to embark on.

                    1. re: zoe p.

                      well I'm glad this resulted in so much passion...

                      I've looked and ja=have yet to see a sign that says don;t ask for ketchuo.

                      In my original post I may have mislead...the people never asked for ketchup...I was using it as an anoilogy.

                      The customers were waiting patiently and when their time came the counter was offensive...enough that the grill guy looked right at me and winced...

                      Having experienced diner service in many location...and witn "no names" in Boston as a guideline...I know what to expect, can guage the level of attitude to maintain the ambiance and tradition..but what I saw was downright mean.

                      In regard to the burger...i bever complained abiout the meat..however...if ever chef worth his salt (opun intended) seasons meat before or after cooking...the lack of salt and the attitude that their meat doesnlt need it merely reinforces the point that you don;t have to eat there. I will say that if they did season the burger...the line would be out the door and not populated by drunken Yalies who are too sauced to wait in line at Pepe's...we need to find someto be president who didn;t go to Yale or Harvard...

                      Read the book "Salt" by Mark Kurlansky if you want to understand how and why it is the only rock we ingest...and what it means to history.

                      1. re: Scargod

                        Teds is a pleasure but the product is different. If you've never tried a steamed cheesburger then Ted's is the place. Seasonings no problem!

                      2. re: EastRocker

                        I wouldn't go so far as to say the staff is rude, but their behavior has nothing to do with people asking for ketchup. They just aren't especially customer friendly, whether or not you know what you're doing when you get in there and order "correctly".
                        But bad service I can take. It's an unsatisfying meal that turns me off to the place. I still drop in occasionally for a quick snack, but there are better options in the neighborhood for a really good burger. The meat might be pretty good, but it's not nearly as high quality as the meat they use at Prime 16. The notion that the product Louis Lunch is serving today is what they were serving originally is also simply untrue. Whether or not they invented the hamburger is one thing, but it's just not possible that they were serving it on that style of sliced white bread (invented in the 1920's) topped with Cheese Whiz (invented in the 1950's).
                        Also, since I see comments about "drunken Yalies" so frequently on this board, a short lesson on New Haven nightlife. The drunken crowds in New Haven on the weekend are not primarily composed of Yale students. It would be a stretch even to say that 1 out of 5 people drinking in New Haven on a Friday or Saturday night has any connection to Yale. There simply are not that many Yale students; it's not an especially large school. Certain spots (Rudy's, Naples) do draw a primarily Yale crowd, while others (Toad's, BAR, and the many small trendy joints) have a mix of Yale students and others. Everywhere else in town, which includes the biggest bars and all the clubs but Toad's, is full of locals, or students from Southern and Quinnipiac (most of whom are locals anyway). Combined, Southern and Quinnipiac have more students than Yale. Yale's student body accounts for only about 10% of the population of New Haven, and most of the people out drinking downtown on the weekend are not even from New Haven (if they were, parking would not be such an issue). It would be more accurate to refer to "drunken West Haven townies" than it is to refer to "drunken Yalies", though even then you'd be missing the simple point that what you get in that drunken mix on the weekend in my neighborhood is a fairly representative sample of the under 35 population of non-Gold Coast southern Connecticut.

                        1. re: danieljdwyer

                          Folks, let's stay focused on the food and service discussion. Criticizing your fellow diners and the makeup of the "drunken crowds" has been leading us way off track, and we removed some posts along those lines. This site works best when remain focused on the chow. Thanks, and sorry for the interruption.