Little Tavern Shops Hamburgers

Total Time
Prep 20 mins
Cook 5 mins

Little Tavern Shops is a defunct chain of hamburger restaurants in Baltimore, Maryland, and Washington, D.C that appears to be on the cusp of a revival. The slogan of the chain was "Buy 'em by the bag", and its signs promised "Cold drinks * Good Coffee". The stores were quite small and could accommodate only a few seated customers, while most business was take-out. This recipe is posted in response to a HUGE forum discussion. If you wish to make larger patties, roll the meat into 1.7 ounce meatballs and cook as directed.

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 8 ounces hamburger, rolled into 1-ounce balls
  • 4 teaspoons dehydrated onion, reconstituted in warm water
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • hamburger dills, slices
  • 8 dinner rolls, sliced


  1. Place meat balls in a hot pan or flat-top griddle.
  2. Add a good pinch of the onions to the top of each meat ball (about 1/2 teaspoon each).
  3. Smash each meat ball flat with a spatula and cook for a minute or so.
  4. Flip each burger, add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. If you wish, toast/fry the split rolls in the burger grease as the meat is cooking (this is optional).
  6. Remove rolls from grill and place a slice of pickle on each one.
  7. Once the burgers are cooked (they are very small, it won't take any time at all) place one on each roll.
  8. At the restaurant, the burgers were put in a steamer drawer to hold until sale. You may have to come up with some sort of steaming device. Try paper towels or "Handiwipe" towels, soaked in water (and squeezed out to "damp"), to cover the burgers while in the steamer drawer.
  9. Serve with condiments of your choice.
Most Helpful

Yes I use to see the folks behind the counter do all the things you mentioned, and I thank you so much with your precision. I have one question though, that one seems to address about those burgers... Please tell me what kind of BREAD or BUNS did little tavern use? Also, there seems to be some confusion as to whether they used dehydrated (chopped) or (minced) onions by mc cormick... Could you clarify? Thanks so much Molly...

majesticgoldeneagle November 18, 2015

! worked behind the counter at the Silver Spring, College Park, Wheaton, and Bethesda Little Taverns in the early 1980s, and the recipe is exactly the one we used back then. Loved the burgers, and loved these places! The UMD students in College Park used to call me "Tavern Man" because when I wasn't on duty behind the counter cooking the burgers, I could usually be found on the other side of the counter buying and eating them by the dozen! They were cooked on a heavy iron grill, but if you don't have one a heavy cast iron pan would probably most closely approximate the heat distribution.

Buster G. August 07, 2015