First cheeseburger was made in southern California: different theories suggest

National Cheeseburger Day

As this Friday, September 18, is being celebrated as National Cheeseburger Day, many people must like to know about this much-admired food item’s origin. The Los Angeles Area holds bragging rights to a plenty of things, and some historians now claim that the cheeseburger was also invented in the area.

The generally accepted notion about the birth of cheeseburger is that a 17-year-old cook named Lionel Sternberger made the first cheeseburger in 1924 at a restaurant called The Rite Spot in Pasadena. He slapped a slice of cheese on a burger and called it “The Aristocratic Burger” and added it to the restaurant’s menu.

Paul Little, president of Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, is so proud of Pasadena’s cheeseburgers that he founded the town’s annual “Cheeseburger Week” that takes place in January every year.

Little has his own theory about the origin of cheeseburger. He said, “One story is that he burned one side of the burger and rather than throw it away, he flipped it over and put a slice of cheese on it … also be the home of everybody’s messy food at the same time is fun.”

Andrew Smith, a professor of Food Studies at NYC-based New School and author of “Hamburger: A Global History,” believes that the hamburger industry started in Southern California. He said the multibillion-dollar burger industry could be traced back to San Bernardino, where McDonald’s first restaurant was opened in 1940.

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