In a time in which businesses are lucky to remain open for a few years, Ted’s has been a fixture on Broad Street in Meriden for more than 50 - and it's just opened up a new site in Cromwell. The restaurant is most well-known for its steamed cheeseburgers.
“The reason why I believe we have been able to last so long is because we have a unique product that people come every day for,” said Ted’s owner Bill Foreman.
Customers have their own opinions as to why Ted’s has been able to survive for so many years.
“What I like about coming here is that the burgers are extra juicy, there is a wide selection of toppings to put on your burger, and the service is really fast,” said Jim Dicklow of Bristol.
Besides regular customers, Ted’s employees have also encountered patrons who have traveled a great distance just to try a Ted’s steamed cheeseburger.
“People have driven all the way from New Jersey just because they have heard about us and want to try one,” said Richard Neils, an employee at Ted’s for the past three years.
The process of steaming a cheeseburger involves a machine that is loaded with ground beef and produces a burger about the size of a quarter pound. Each burger is then placed in special trays that go in a steam box for approximately 10 to 12 minutes before being ready to serve. On a given day, Ted’s makes and serves anywhere between 10 and 12 dozen burgers to their customers.
Ted’s was founded in 1959 by Theodore “Ted” Duberek. Ted had worked in the restaurant business for several years before he decided to venture out on his own. In the early 1970’s his son Paul became involved in the everyday operations. Paul Duberek owned Ted’s up until March of 2007, when due to a decline in health he sold the restaurant to his nephew Bill Foreman who currently owns the restaurant.
Foreman, 37, originally worked for his uncle when he was a teenager before leaving for an extended period to work in the golf industry. But when his uncle asked him to take over the family business, he felt it was a good opportunity.
Ted’s and its steamed cheeseburger has drawn the attention of TV shows and movies such as Hamburger America, a small independent film, and the travel channels Hamburger Paradise. Recently, Ted’s was featured in an episode of Man vs. Food. Host Adam Richman even spent several hours at Ted’s sampling food and interviewing patrons.
“They were here for nine hours that day, but it was a lot of fun and really exciting,” said Foreman.
As far as the show’s host, Adam Richman, Foreman only had good things to say.
“With Adam (Richman) I would say what you see is what you get, he is definitely as he appears on TV,” said Foreman.
However, not everything about owning a small business is fun and easy.
“It is a seven-day-a-week business and even when I’m not here my cell phone is always with me because I never know when someone will need me for something,” said Foreman. Things will only get busier as the Cromwell restaurant, which opened this March on 43 Berlin Rd, gets in full swing.
Some Meriden customers are excited to have another option to get their Ted's steamed cheeseburger fix.
“I’ll go, I can’t wait to see the new restaurant and try it out,” said Dicklow.