National Double Cheeseburger Day
annually on September 15th
Hamburgers are pretty satisfying, but they are just a little bit better when they are topped with cheese and turned into cheeseburgers. They are even better when an extra burger patty is added and they become double cheeseburgers. Celebrated today, double cheeseburgers can be made with many types of cheese—as long as it has good meltability. Fast food restaurants often use processed cheese, such as American, but cheddar, pepper jack, Swiss, mozzarella, and blue cheese are often used to make double cheeseburgers as well. Cheese slices are usually placed on top of burgers right before they are done cooking so that the cheese begins to melt over them. Double cheeseburgers may have one or more slices of cheese. Just as with hamburgers or regular cheeseburgers, many other toppings are often added to double cheeseburgers as well, such as ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, pickles, onions, lettuce, tomato, sauteed mushrooms, avocado, and bacon.
Adding cheese to burgers gained popularity late-1920s to mid-1930s. There are various stories as to how the cheeseburger came to be, and multiple people have claimed to have invented it. The most common story says that Lionel Sternberger invented the cheeseburger sometime between 1924 and 1926 while working at his father's restaurant, The Rite Spot, in Pasadena, California. One version of the story says he came up with the idea to drop cheese on a burger by himself, while another says a homeless person suggested to Sternberger to do so. Eventually, his burger was added to the menu as a "cheese hamburger." One reason some do not give Sternberger credit for inventing the cheeseburger is that his burger was not technically called a cheeseburger.
Three other places or people have been associated with the invention of the cheeseburger. In 1928, O'Dell's restaurant in Los Angeles added a cheeseburger topped with chili to the menu, which could be purchased for 25 cents. Charles Kaelin of Kaelin's in Louisville, Kentucky, claimed to have invented the cheeseburger in 1934, saying he wanted to give the hamburger a little tang. It is possible that if Kaelin wasn't the first to invent the cheeseburger, he may have at least been the first to come up with its name. But, in 1935, Louis Ballast of Humpty-Dumpty Drive-In in Denver, Colorado, received a trademark for the name "cheeseburger," so he is associated with the invention of the cheeseburger as well.
It is not known who created the double cheeseburger, but Bob's Big Boy often gets the nod. In 1937, they began selling a burger with two patties, although that burger had an extra bun between the two patties, unlike a traditional double cheeseburger. In-N-Out Burger popularized the double cheeseburger when they opened in 1948 and began selling their Double-Double, which consists of two beef patties, two slices of cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and a "spread" that is similar to Thousand Island dressing.
How to Observe National Double Cheeseburger Day
Celebrate the day by having a double cheeseburger! Make yourself one or have one at a restaurant. Some restaurants offer double cheeseburger specials in honor of the holiday, so keep an eye out. Have a Double-Double at an In-N-Out Burger to celebrate with one of the most iconic double cheeseburgers.