Ah the cheeseburger. It’s as American as, well, American cheese. But that’s as far as the patty’s origin gets narrowed down. Various eating establishments (mostly in California) claim to have invented the cheeseburger. The Pasadena Sun did due diligence in investigating the burger’s background and while it heavily leans toward one over the other, it’s left undecided.
The front runner for the American classic is “The Rite Spot” in Pasadena, California. Legend has it, one of the cooks there, Lionel Clark Stenberger, slapped a piece of cheese on his burger and the rest was history. The year was around 1924, but could have been more like 1927. Backing up this assertion, the other main family laying claim to cheeseburger’s fame reportedly worked at the Rite Spot before going out on their own.
Whatever the history, the cheeseburger has cemented its place at the American table. Chefs across the country have jumped on the meat wagon, coming up with ideas like Kobe, lobster and brie burgers, or burgers laden with Swiss cheese foam, seared foie gras and Coca-Cola ketchup.