Who Invented the Burger? The Surprising History of America’s Favorite Food

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The burger is an American classic, loved by millions around the world. Whether you enjoy a classic cheeseburger or something more creative, like a veggie burger or a gourmet burger with all the toppings, there’s no denying the appeal of this delicious sandwich. But have you ever wondered who invented the burger? In this article, we’ll take a look at the surprising history of this beloved food, and explore why it has become such a staple of the American diet.

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Who Invented the Burger?

The origins of the burger are shrouded in mystery, but most food historians agree that it was invented in the United States in the late 1800s or early 1900s. Here are a few contenders for the title of “inventor of the burger”:

  • Charlie Nagreen: This Wisconsin native claimed to have sold the first burger in Outagamie County in 1885. “Hamburger Charlie” Nagreen reportedly flattened a meatball and placed it between two slices of bread to make it easier for fairgoers to eat.
  • Louis Lassen: According to legend, Lassen invented the burger in 1900 at his small restaurant in New Haven, Connecticut. He placed a beef patty between two slices of bread and added cheese and condiments, creating the first “hamburger sandwich.”
  • Oscar Weber Bilby: Bilby was a cook in Oklahoma in 1891. He ran out of pork for his famous “pork sausage sandwich” and substituted a beef patty, creating what he called a “hamburg steak sandwich.”

While we may never know for sure who invented the burger, it’s clear that it quickly became a popular food in the United States. By the 1920s, burgers were being sold at roadside stands and diners across the country, and by the 1950s they had become a symbol of American culture and fast food.

Why Has the Burger Become a Staple of the American Diet?

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So why has the burger become such a beloved food in the United States? Here are a few factors that have contributed to its popularity:

  • Convenience: Burgers are quick and easy to make, making them a popular choice for busy Americans who don’t have a lot of time to cook. They’re also easy to eat on the go, making them a favorite food for road trips and outdoor events.
  • Affordability: Burgers are relatively inexpensive to make, especially when compared to other types of meat. This has made them a popular choice for budget-conscious Americans who want a filling, satisfying meal without breaking the bank.
  • Versatility: Burgers can be customized in endless ways, making them appealing to a wide range of tastes and dietary preferences. Whether you prefer a classic cheeseburger, a veggie burger, or something more exotic, there’s a burger for everyone.
  • Cultural significance: Finally, it’s worth noting that the burger has become a symbol of American culture and identity. From fast food chains to backyard barbecues, burgers are an iconic part of American cuisine.


person who invented the hamburger burger happened largely at the erie county fairThe history of the burger is a fascinating one, and it’s clear that this simple sandwich has had a huge impact on American culture and cuisine. Whether you love classic burgers or more innovative variations, there’s no denying the appeal of this iconic dish. So the next time you sink your teeth into a juicy patty and a soft bun, remember the history and the legacy of the burger, and how it has become a symbol of American cuisine and culture.