steamed burgers?

Have you ever had a steamed burger before? 

Perhaps you just said yes, thinking of your most recent encounter with White Castle.  We don’t have to talk about it, don’t worry.  

I’m talking about an entirely unique experience, found only at Ted’s Restaurant in Meriden, Connecticut.

On a recent trip to CT, my family and I decided to take a bit of a detour and go check out these infamous steamed burgers.  More specifically, the steamed cheeseburgers

Pulling up to the restaurant, I noticed its unassuming nature.  It was nestled among a Dairy Queen and other assorted shops, which I conveniently can’t recall (not that it really matters).  What I do remember was the sign hanging outside:



Est. 1959

For the past few years – maybe longer, Ted’s has received a ton of press for these puppies.  These crazy little things called “steamed cheeseburgers”.


Imagine this:

You have a bun – a high quality roll, at that.  Atop the bun sits a generously-sized burger that’s been steamed.  It looks juicy.  Very, very juicy. 

And then, there it is.  This blanket of melty white cheese that is thick, lucious, and literally enveloping 90% of the burger. 

You don’t know what trouble you’ve gotten yourself into.  You really don’t. 

The interior of Ted’s is just as humble as its exterior.  You have a few booths (I think there were only 3), a counter with some bar stools, and a griddle right behind the counter. 

But you won’t find any burgers on the flat top.  Oh no, that’d just be wrong. 

You see, what’s so special about these burgers is their preparation.  So instead of seeing them grilled right before your eyes, they’re carefully tucked away in  nifty little steam boxes that sit adjacent to the flat top. 

I think Ted’s might be hidding them from us.

Anyway, the burgers are steamed in specially designed vessels that sit inside the steam box.  Likewise, the cheese that tops the burgers later on is also placed in the steam box.  Lots and lots of cheese.  Oh.  My. 

Once the burgers are cooked through, they are removed from the steamy box of mystery.  The cook proceeds to drain off any fat that may have surfaced and, with a touch of finesse, takes the burger out of it’s cozy little steam tray. 

Although  the fat from the burger is drained off, it’s more than made up for by the cheese (which, by the way, I think is a mozerella).  And I’m not talking about a pathetic and disappointing amount of cheese.  They load on that melted cheesey-goodness at Ted’s. 

It can’t possibly be healthy.  But it’s so worth it. 

I ate my cheeseburger very simply: lettuce, tomato, and raw onion.  That’s it.  I really wanted to experience the steamed cheeseburger in the most pure, authentic way possible.

I have to say, the option of adding bacon was tempting.  But I can look forward to trying that next time.

Side note: One of the things I found most charming about Ted’s was its modest and unpretentious appearance.  This was present throughout the entire establishment – save for the bathroom. 

I was so amused by this tiny, confused space.  I could not, for the life of me, understand why there was a painting of an Italian trattoria hanging on one wall and a black and white photo of a boat dock on another.  Neither fit with the decor, whatsoever. 

Don’t worry, Ted’s.  I won’t hold your decidedly erratic taste for interior design against you. 



2 Comments to “steamed burgers?”

  1. Those look just delicious. And yes, White Castle was what came to mind….

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