A Quick Bite into the History of the Cheeseburger

Summer heat and the cool breeze of fall both create the same effect—a craving for cheeseburgers. The best cheeseburger oozes warm, cheesy deliciousness on top of a juicy patty, leading to your stomach loudly demanding a taste this very minute.  

We have Lionel Sternberger to thank for his invention, or so the legend goes. Much like the hamburger, it’s impossible to know sure who created America’s first cheeseburger. Lionel was 16 years old in 1926, flipping burgers at his dad’s restaurant, the Rite Spot, in Pasadena, California. Out of boredom, the teenager slapped a slice of American cheese onto a hamburger frying on the griddle. His dad approved of the creation, and so the cheeseburger was born—though they called it the slightly wordy “cheese hamburger.” 

The first sandwich to actually be called a cheeseburger was created in Louisville, Kentucky. Charles Kaelin invented the cheeseburger in 1934 to bring extra flavor to his hamburger offering. But he didn’t trademark it. Nope, that honor instead went to Louis Ballast of Humpty Dumpty Drive-In in Denver, who trademarked the name “cheeseburger” in 1935. 

To all three men, we thank you for your ingenuity.  

The original burger was a simplistic, satisfying burger cooked well-done, with options to add cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, and/or onions, and mustard, ketchup, and/or mayonnaise. Delicious, but it could be more. Now, we go crazy when adding to our burgers. You don’t only choose how well done you want your meat. Oh, no. First, you choose your bun, and who knew there were so many options for bread? Then there are endless options of cheese. You can even spread some pimiento cheese onto your patty. For toppings, you can add bacon, guacamole, egg, sauteed onions, mushrooms, and more for a .50 upcharge. As for condiments, barbecue sauce, garlic aioli, chipotle mayo, or Dijon mustard often appear. 

These Cheese Stuffed Burger Sliders with Onion Jam fall into the more modern burger, getting innovative by putting the cheese inside the burger. Amazing. 

However it’s topped, though, a good burger is always served with French fries or onion rings, a mixed basket of both if you’re feeling wild, and a thick milkshake or a sweating glass of soda. So grab all you need and get to biting into the most delicious cheeseburger in creation. It’s time for a satisfying cheeseburger!