Lake Zoar Drive-In named Best Cheeseburger in Connecticut

Stevenson restaurant wins the most reader votes

While hamburger origin stories are numerous, one of the most enduring (and recognized by the Library of Congress) is that it was first cooked up by Louis’ Lunch in New Haven, Connecticut. No matter where it was invented, it didn’t take long for burgers to start featuring cheese–a trend that became popular during the 1920s and 30s. Connecticut’s modern-day burger joints range from seasonal stands to gourmet affairs serving up just about every type of cheeseburger you can imagine. One notable offering you’re not likely to find outside the state is the steamed cheeseburger (or steamer), served almost exclusively in Central Connecticut. 

  • Lake Zoar Drive-In
    Stevenson

    The specialty at Lake Zoar Drive-In is the Zoar Burger, a bacon cheeseburger topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, mayo, mustard and ketchup.
    Photo courtesy of Lake Zoar Drive-In / Facebook

  • Dew Drop Inn
    Derby

    Dew Drop Inn, a local hole in the wall in the town of Derby, is known for its top notch burger menu served alongside a selection of rotating craft beers. Cheeseburger fans can opt for a classic with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion and mayo, or try a more adventurous burger, like the Parmesan Butter Bacon Garlic Burger.
    Photo courtesy of Dew Drop Inn

  • Burgers, Shakes & Fries
    Greenwich

    Each cheeseburger at Burgers, Shakes & Fries in Greenwich starts with a choice of a single or double patty. Diners can choose between four cheeses–American, Swiss, cheddar or gorgonzola–as well as fixings like lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions or hot peppers.
    Photo courtesy of Burgers, Shakes & Fries

  • K LaMay's Steamed Cheeseburgers
    Meriden

    The famous Central Connecticut steamed cheeseburgers from K LaMay’s come topped with sharp cheddar cheese from Wisconsin. Make it a double, or add a side of hand-cut fries or onion rings.
    Photo courtesy of K LaMay's Steamed Cheeseburgers

  • Sara J's
    Wallingford

    Sara J’s, a breakfast and lunch takeout spot in Wallingford, cooks up a traditional steamed cheeseburger each day. Get it with just meat and cheese, or add lettuce, tomato and onion (The Classic); ketchup and potato chips (The Gourmet) or bacon and blue cheese dressing (The Bacon Blue).
    Photo courtesy of Marcus Balcher / Flickr

  • Ted's Restaurant
    Meriden

    Ted’s has been serving up classic steamed cheeseburgers for half a century. While diners can opt for a simple version with just meat and cheese, the signature menu item at Ted’s is The Everything, topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, ketchup, mustard, mayo, salt and pepper.
    Photo courtesy of Ted's Restaurant / Facebook

  • Prime 16 Tap House + Burgers
    New Haven

    Prime 16 specializes in gourmet burgers, each served on a brioche roll with a pickle and a side. The classic Tap House comes topped with Vermont aged white cheddar, lettuce, tomato and Tap House sauce, while the Smoker features smoked gouda, applewood-smoked bacon, sautéed onions and crimini mushrooms.
    Photo courtesy of Prime 16 Tap House + Burgers

  • Louis' Lunch
    New Haven

    This is where it all started. Founded in 1895, Louis’ Lunch is the birthplace of the hamburger and ranks among the oldest family-run businesses in the nation. Cheeseburgers here start with a blend of five cuts of meat ground fresh each day. Unlike other burger joints, this one comes on white toast with cheese, onion and tomato.
    Photo courtesy of larryfishkorn / Flickr

  • Shady Glen
    Manchester

    Shady Glen Dairy Stores, an institution in Manchester, is known for its homemade ice cream and Bernice Original cheeseburger–a 4-ounce patty topped with four slices of cheese that ooze onto the griddle to form an unusual “crown” of crispy cheese.
    Photo courtesy of jaimekop / Flickr

  • American Steamed Cheeseburgers
    Wallingford

    At American Steamed Cheeseburgers, diners can choose between a single or double version, served on a plain or poppy seed roll with American or cheddar cheese. Each burger is made to order with a choice of toppings and condiments.
    Photo courtesy of American Steamed Cheeseburgers / Facebook

The top 10 winners in the category Best Cheeseburger in Connecticut are as follows:

  1. Lake Zoar Drive-In - Stevenson
  2. Dew Drop Inn - Derby
  3. Burgers, Shakes & Fries - Greenwich
  4. K LaMay's Steamed Cheeseburgers - Meriden
  5. Sara J’s - Wallingford
  6. Ted's Restaurant - Meriden
  7. Prime 16 Tap House + Burgers - New Haven
  8. Louis' Lunch - New Haven
  9. Shady Glen - Manchester
  10. American Steamed Cheeseburgers - Wallingford

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts CT Bites, Taylor Hicks (State Plate), Eric D. LehmanTracey MedeirosCindi D. Pietrzyk and Mike Urban were chosen based on their knowledge and experience of the state food scene.

Congratulations to all these winning restaurants!

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CT Bites

CT Bites

Taylor Hicks

Taylor Hicks

Eric D. Lehman

Eric D. Lehman

Tracey Medeiros

Tracey Medeiros

Cindi D. Pietrzyk

Cindi D. Pietrzyk

Mike Urban

Mike Urban

10Best Editors

10Best Editors