No matter how you make this hot sandwich, on March 18th, celebrate National Sloppy Joe Day.
The Sloppy Joe is one of America’s all-time favorite hot sandwiches. Its base ingredient is often ground beef. However, others use turkey and buffalo, too. The other elements give it its flavor, though. Onions, tomato sauce, brown sugar, cola or maple syrup to sweeten it and seasonings to spice it – and of course, any secret ingredient families may add over the years. All of it is served up on a hamburger bun or roll. And is it ever sloppy! Be sure to grab more than one napkin!
Who Created The Sloppy Joe
There are different claims to the origin of the sloppy Joe. In Havana, Cuba, in the 1930s, there was a genuine bartender who gained popularity with vacationers who went by the name of Sloppy Joe. He earned his name for his less than enthusiastic way of cleaning the bar. He was, however, an attentive bartender, and the bar was a hot spot for the jet set.
However, no mention is found in papers from the era of a hot sandwich on the menu matching the description of a Sloppy Joe, and the man of the same name retired to Spain in 1933.
Town Hall Deli
Reader Steven Hirsch wrote to National Day Calendar and informed us that Town Hall Deli in Maplewood, NJ has a direct connection to Sloppy Joe of Havana fame. It opened in 1927, and during the 1930s, Maplewood’s Mayor Sweeney traveled to Havana, where he met the bartender named Sloppy Joe and was served a delicious sandwich. The mayor came back to New Jersey and with a well-developed taste for Joe’s sandwich. The mayor enjoyed it so much he asked one of Town Hall Deli’s proprietors, Fred Heinz, to replicate it. According to the website, “It was made with coleslaw, ham, cow tongue, swiss cheese, with lots of dressing and was served on thin rye bread. Hence, the origin of the Sloppy Joe sandwich and how Town Hall Deli of South Orange became The Birthplace of the Sloppy Joe!”
Then in 1934…
At the Ye Olde Tavern Inn, in Sioux City, Iowa, Abraham and Bertha laid claim to the Sloppy Joe when they added a loose meat sandwich on their menu in 1934.
Whoever brought the Sloppy Joe to the world, Hunt’s made it more convenient in 1969. They put it in a can and called it Manwich.
Today many families have their secret recipes that make their Sloppy Joe’s special. Whether it’s an unusual spice, a novel ingredient for sweetening or a homemade tomato sauce, a Sloppy Joe lends itself to originality and personality. A new flavor is just around the corner. In the south, you might come across a barbecue flavor while in the north, Sloppy Joe might be a little sweeter. Whatever your flavor, it is undoubtedly an all-American food holiday!
HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalSloppyJoeDay
You know what to do! Whip up your favorite Sloppy Joe recipe and sides. Enjoy one of the following Sloppy Joe recipes:
Use #NationalSloppyJoeDay to post on social media.
NATIONAL SLOPPY JOE DAY HISTORY
National Day Calendar continues researching the origins of the food holiday. However, you know, with all the recipes, we get sidetracked.
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