A cheeseburger is a hamburger with
cheese. Traditionally, the cheese is placed on top
of the patty, but the burger can include many variations
in structure, ingredients and composition. The term
itself is a portmanteau of the words "cheese"
and "hamburger." The cheese is usually
sliced, and then added to the cooking hamburger
patty shortly before the patty is completely cooked
which allows the cheese to melt. Cheeseburgers are
often served with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles,
mustard, mayonnaise, or ketchup.
In fast food restaurants, the cheese used is typically
processed cheese, but there are variations, such
as cheddar, Swiss cheese, mozzarella, blue cheese
and pepper jack. When cheese is added to a burger
the nutritional value of the burger can be changed
substantially. For example, a slice of Cheddar cheese
can add 95 calories and 4.5 grams of saturated
fat to a burger. Other types and amounts of cheese
would have varying effects, depending on their nutritional
Adding cheese to hamburgers became popular in the
mid-1920s to mid-1930s, and there are several competing
claims as to who created the first cheeseburger.
Lionel Sternberger is reputed to have invented the
cheeseburger in the mid-1920s at the age of 16 when
he was working as a fry cook at his father's Pasadena,
California sandwich shop, "The Rite Spot,"
and "experimentally dropped a slab of American
cheese on a sizzling hamburger."
An early example of the cheeseburger appearing on
a menu is a 1928 menu for the Los Angeles restaurant
O'Dell's which listed a cheeseburger smothered with
chile for 25 cents.
Other restaurants say they invented the cheeseburger.
For example, Kaelin's Restaurant in Louisville,
Kentucky, say they invented the cheeseburger in
1934. One year later, a trademark for the name "cheeseburger"
was awarded to Louis Ballast of the Humpty Dumpty
Drive-In in Denver, Colorado. According to Steak
'n Shake archives, the restaurant's founder, Gus
Belt, applied for a trademark on the word in the