Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Kaelin's Restaurant, located at the corner of Newburg Road and Speed Avenue in the Highlands of Louisville, has claimed for decades to be "the birthplace of the cheeseburger".
Whether that's actually true or not remains unconfirmed. The title has been claimed by The Rite Spot in Pasadena, CA (1926) and The Humpty Dumpty Barrel Drive-In in Denver, CO (1935). Kaelin's claims to have invented the cheeseburger in 1934. Since the other two locations no longer exist, Kaelin's has at least a claim of being the last surviving of the cheeseburger originators.
That is, until yesterday. The Courier-Journal reported that Kaelin's has closed its doors. Permanently? Well, no, one of the owners, Tim Clark, claims it's just for remodeling, but at the same time they're talking an awful lot about how sales were down and how the economy is bad and how the restaurant faced "real estate and operational hurdles", whatever that means.
A note on the door when I went there today emphatically stated the closure was only temporary for remodeling.
Most tellingly, their phone has been disconnected. I don't think they'd do that if this was just a temporary remodeling. Another part owner, Kevin Wagner, said he was unclear what will happen to the property, or whether the birthplace of the cheeseburger will reopen.