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The Steamed cheeseburgers is a regional food particular to very few establishments in Meriden, Connecticut where it was invented in the early 1900s. The steamed cheeseburger is cooked in a stainless-steel cabinet which contains small trays that hold either an individual hamburger or a chunk of cheese to be melted. The cheeseburger is served by scooping the meat onto a bun and pouring the melted cheese over the meat. The burger can be served with a number of customary toppings.
Posted By Editor: Chris Ayers & Amy Briesch on February 28, 2011 5:33 PM
Roadfooders worth their salt know Meriden, Connecticut as the steamed cheeseburger capital, with all roads leading to the world famous Ted’s. The once humble Ted’s has grown to national prominence, thanks to the Food Network and Travel Channel. Folks may not realize, however, that Meriden is home to several other steamed burger meisters, namely K. LaMay’s, the newest kid on the block.
Kevin LaMay learned about steamed cheeseburgers from the best: he worked at Ted’s as a teenager, and now he’s struck out on his own. His burger is indeed different from the rest: it’s steamed in a bigger, plastic tray that accommodates a 1/3-lb. burger. Other restaurants use the standard metal trays that steam 1/4-lb. burgers. The Kaiser roll he uses arrives fresh every day and is a bit larger to properly offset the meat/bread ratio. Maybe the plastic tray helps to lock in more moisture, because my burger was especially juicy and flavorful. Kevin may add some spice to the meat, but he’s not telling and I couldn’t identify it (maybe garlic? or pepper?). The Wisconsin sharp cheddar seems to be a similar cheese used around town, and as usual it’s the perfect foil for the meat. He also stocks Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce as a condiment on each table, which is another reason to love the place. Overall, the burger is quite excellent and should be sampled by all burger lovers, not just those be-all, end-all Ted’s proponents.
Kevin also sets himself apart by offering Foxon Park sodas, including white birch (what, no Iron Brew?). These, in addition to a wide selection of Stewart’s sodas and the usual Snapples, offer a respite from the pedestrian Coke/Pepsi products that others peddle. Fries and onion rings are available, in addition to a full line of Deep River potato chips, made in Old Lyme. The store is located next to Les’ Dairy Bar, to which one can stroll over for soft-serve ice cream in the warmer months. Locals awarded K. LaMay’s the Best Classic Burger award in last year’s Meriden Battle of the Burgers, and Kevin has a loyal following of fans who call in orders ahead of time. K. LaMay’s is open Monday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.