Burger Mania

In homage to Americans’ favorite sandwich, we asked Chef Jorel Pierce of the TAG Restaurant Group to grill us up some of the best versions. Photography by Paul Miller

Great Moments in Burger History

Burger illustration
Illustration by Matt Wood

1921
The first White Castle restaurant opens, serving its signature hamburger sliders. Owner Walter Anderson is credited with the inventions of the hamburger bun and kitchen assembly line.

1935
Humpty Dumpty Barrel Drive-in restaurant owner Louis Ballast submits a trademark for his invention of the cheeseburger in Denver. You can visit a monument honoring the birthplace of the cheeseburger at 2776 N. Speer Blvd.

1948
McDonald’s switches from serving barbecue to hamburgers and uses the model created by White Castle. It will become the largest fast-food chain in the world.

1957
Americans get a taste of the first fastfood gimmick burger with the debut of the Burger King Whopper.

1963
Restaurants get creative with mixing textures and flavors. A&W boasts that owner Dale Mulder is responsible for the invention of the Bacon Cheeseburger.

1981
Paul Wenner pioneers his veggie-filled, meatless alternative to the traditional burger, “The Gardenburger.” Gardenburger Inc. then becomes the largest producer of meat-substitute burger patties in the country.

1991
Krusty the Clown’s famed restaurant, Krusty Burger, first appears in an episode of The Simpsons. Universal Studios opens a real-life version of the restaurant in 2013.

1994
“This is a tasty burger!” Samuel L. Jackson eats a Big Kahuna Burger in Pulp Fiction.

2004
Cult classic Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle is released. The pair of stoners embark on an adventure filled with marijuana-induced hijinks in an attempt to satisfy their late-night burger cravings.

2006
An Illinois ballpark begins selling the Luther Burger at ballgames. The burger, named after singer Luther Vandross, features an Angus patty, melted cheese, bacon, and two Krispy Kreme donuts. The 1,000-calorie meal is credited with increased ticket sales, game attendance, and, we’re guessing, cardiology patients.

2013
The ramen burger, consisting of a prime beef patty between two fried ramen buns, overthrows the cronut as Brooklyn’s trendiest meal.

2013
Dr. Mark Post debuts the first labgrown burger made from cow stem cells. The burger originally cost $325,000 to produce but is expected to be available by 2021 for $5 dollars per pound.

2017
Controversy erupts as Google releases a cheeseburger emoji for the Android. Fans create side-by-side comparisons to criticize the incorrect placement of the cheese beneath the hamburger, while applauding competitor Apple for correctly putting the cheese on top of the patty.

2018
California-based chain In-N-Out Burger announces its expansion into Colorado Springs, with plans to open in 2020.

—Compiled by Jaclyn Walsh