Today Is National Birth Of The Burger Day

Burger born in 1885 at the Erie County Fair

Richard Root
September 18, 2017 - 3:32 am
Hamburger. MMmmm.



Hamburg(er), NY (WBEN) - The Erie County Fair claims to have given birth to the hamburger, and has designated September 18th as the commemorative day.

Of course, the factual birth day and location of the burger will, perhaps, always be arguable, the Erie County Fair has provided the following history and timeline to make its case. Parenthetically, and more importantly, they have the hutzpah to just go ahead and lay claim to being the origin of one of the world's most popular sandwiches.

The story goes that Frank and Charles Menches of Ohio were traveling food vendors at the Erie County Fair (then known as the Hamburg Fair) during its run from September 16 through 18, 1885.

The Menches ran out of pork for their signature sausage sandwich and a local butcher suggested ground beef as a replacement.

Finding the ground beef bland and dry, they added coffee, brown sugar and other stuff to make a taste they liked. The sandwiches, served with just onions and ketchup, were highly successful.  They called them the "Hamburger" after the "Hamburg Fair".

The Erie County Fair says other claims to the hamburger can be dismissed as imitations.  They say as concessionaires traveled from one fair to the next, they would pick up ideas and imitate the good ones.

They also say their story is the oldest "birth of the burger" story in the USA, and that no other story justifies why a hamburger was named a "hamburger".

Other points:

  • Descendants of the Menches Brothers have an original, handwritten burger recipe.
  • The Menches family is still in the burger business today. No other claim still has an operating restaurant serving the original recipe.
  • In the 1920s, carnival historian John C. Kunzog interviewed Frank Menches about his experience at the Erie County Fair. His detailed hamburger story was published in the 1970 book, “Tanbark & Tinsel.”

The complete story and more information is available HERE from the Erie County Fair's website.

Comments ()