Louis' Lunch is just one of those places that, if you live in CT, you have to go to at some point--it is the birthplace of the hamburger! I was here quite a few years ago when the Palace Theatre in New Haven was still open and me and my fellow stagehands were working backstage for a show all day--when we finally got a break, this is where we went. It was much less busy then--thanks to the Travel Channel, Louis' is on many people's radars now--good for their business, not good for a quick lunch.
Tom and I finally stopped in today, at the peak of the lunch crowd. Plan on waiting--we waited nearly 45 minutes for our burgers. Also, as you've seen from pictures, the place is tiny so plan on standing and waiting. When our name was finally called, we headed to the truck to eat more comfortably. The burgers are handmade, ground fresh everyday, served on toasted white bread with your choice of these three toppings--tomato, onion and cheese (canned and spreadable cheese, mind you)--that's it. Don't bother asking for anything else, especially ketchup, because you will not get it. The burgers are cooked in vertical ovens dating back to the beginning of this restaurant--1898. All burgers are cooked medium-rare unless you specify well-done (which I don't recommend)--I can attest to this because out of the burgers we got, 2 were regular and one was well-done (possibly a mixup with another customer's order). The regulars are impossibly juicy and tasty, with the juice soaking into the toast, the taste of the freshly ground meat shining through in each bite; the well-done burger had a nice charred taste but lacked the flavor of the regulars. The simplicity of the burger combined with the history and tried-and-true nature of this place gives way to an excellent lunch experience. Grab a locally produced Foxon Park soda, chips or the house-made potato salad to round out your lunch and you'll leave a happy customer.