We know you’re excited and out celebrating National Cheeseburger Day with a version of the American tradition for each of your three meals today. But did you know that Kentucky was home to the very first cheeseburger? Yep! Kaelin’s Restaurant in Louisville invented the cheeseburger. Well at least according to some.
A cheeseburger is a hamburger with cheese added to it. Seems simple enough, right? Well it isn’t if you’re the one trying to stake claim on crafting the very first cheeseburger ever made. Ever.
Adding cheese to your beef-and-bun combo became popular in the 1930s, and here in Kentucky, every good citizen and burger enthusiast knows that the cheeseburger was invented at Kaelin’s Restaurant in Louisville. In 1934, Carl Kaelin threw caution to the wind and placed a piece of American cheese on a hamburger patty in his new restaurant. A culinary treasure was born, and Louisville still claims to be the birthplace of the cheeseburger, and rightfully so.
Restaurants in Pasadena and Los Angeles, California, both claim the rights as their own. Ultimately, in 1935, a trademark for the name “cheeseburger’ was awarded to Louise Ballast of the Humpty Dumpty Drive-In in Denver, Colorado. But what’s in a name? That’s simply a formality.
Today, Kaelin’s Restaurant is closed and Kaelin’s Coffee House now stands in its place on Newburg Road. But the legend of the cheeseburger lives on, and with it, a town proud of its claim to culinary fame.
Enjoy a patty with cheese for us today! We just tried this delicacy at the Kentucky State Fair: a bacon cheeseburger sandwiched in the middle of two Krispy Kreme donuts! We know you’re jealous.