The horseshoe was conceived at the Leland Hotel of Springfield, Illinois, in 1928 as an open-faced ham sandwich that resembled a horseshoe on an anvil with French fries scattered around like shoeing nails. Horseshoes have grown since then, and those found today in Springfield (the only place they’re known) are giant plates of food that go far beyond any reasonable definition of sandwich or any resemblance to equine footwear. Diners pile ‘shoes with hamburgers, pork tenderloins, fried chicken, whitefish, or even just vegetables along with fistfuls of French fries and a flood of cheese sauce. It’s the sauce that can make a horseshoe sing, at best a silky orange emulsion that starts with a roux to which beer may be added, giving the sauce a verve that balances its heft. Shoes have become immensely popular for breakfast. Made with bacon or sausage and hash browns, and cream gravy as a substitute or supplement for the cheese sauce, morning horseshoes frequently are available in downsized versions known as pony shoes.

Restaurants With This Dish

Charlie Parker’s | The Amazing Springfield Horseshoe


Sunrise Cafe


Eggs and breakfast meats are buried under a mound of hash browns, cheese sauce, and gravy.


Breakfast horseshoe is a mountain of hash browns
D&J Cafe



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