Ted’s Steamed Cheeseburgers
The counter cook at Ted’s might well be the Jean Georges of hamburgers. He takes making this quintessential Connecticut anomaly, the steamed cheeseburger, very seriously. Why bother with steaming meat? It was a health fad in the twenties (though judging by the folks lined up at the counter, it’s not dietetic), and Ted’s, open since 1959, purportedly makes the ONE. Squarish burgers emerged from the antiquated steaming machine every few minutes., then get a shmear of steam-melted cheese (a proprietary cheddar blend). They’re served up on a rather large Vienna roll (it matters, the high protein content holds the ingredients together), add a pickle for crunch and you’ve got one juicy and interesting sandwich. More riveting, though, are the hash browns (no french fries here!), crisp chunks of potato, sprinkled with bacon bits and jalapeno, then smothered in chili and topped with the “secret” cheese. A wonder!