Sloppy Joe

Its name alone suggests ignominy, but sloppy Joe need not be school lunch of mediocre tomato-sauced beef on a sad bun. Marty’s Cafe in Truckee, California, serves a “Southwest sloppy Joe” that complements the meat with Swiss cheese, chile peppers, and avocado, all on crusty garlic bread. Whiskey Alley of Aiken, South Carolina, makes “sloppy Joe poutine,” which does vaguely resemble the Quebec specialty in that its foundation is a pile of French fries. But atop them instead of gravy you find sweet-tomato spiced ground beef sauce reminiscent of good Bolognese; and instead of cheese curds, the mini-mountain of food is crowned with melted high-quality mozzarella. Sloppy Joe’s was the name of Ernest Hemingway’s favorite bar in Key West. It currently hosts an annual Hemingway look-alike contest, and it claims to be home of “The Original Sloppy Joe Sandwich.” However, historians contend that the first sandwiches named sloppy Joe were a 1930s knock-off of the loosemeats sandwich (aka “tavern”) popular around Sioux City, Iowa (where tomato sauce is not part of the recipe).

Restaurants With This Dish

The Union Public House


Swensons | Drive-In Burgers Fries and Shakes | Akron Ohio


Marty’s Cafe



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