January 16th, 2012
03:45 PM ET
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Pasadena, California: birthplace of two iconic figures in food history - Julia Child and the cheeseburger. While various towns lay claim to to the latter, local legend has it that the cheeseburger was invented in the 1920s at the Rite Spot Cafe by 16 year old Lionel Sternberger.

As the story goes, the teenager was working at his Dad’s restaurant when he "accidentally burned a hamburger," says Paul Little, head of the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce.

“Rather than throw it in the trash, he flipped it over, put a piece of cheese on it to hide his mistake and served it to a customer who was delighted to have it," Little claims.

The senior Sternberger put the new “cheese hamburger” on their menu, calling it the "Aristocratic Hamburger." It sold for 15 cents.

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Filed under: 100 Places to Eat • Burgers • Sandwiches

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