Was The Iconic ‘Sloppy Joe’ Sandwich Really Invented In Iowa?
What do you call it … Sloppy Joes, Taverns, Loose Meat, Slush Burger, Manwich, Yum Yum? When I was growing up we called it a 'Sloppy Joe'.
When we make 'em at our house we brown some ground beef then toss in some Ketchup, Mustard, Chopped Onion, Worcestershire sauce, then salt and pepper to taste. That simple.
The key to a great Sloppy Joe is the bun. My personal favorite is fresh-made Hawaiian Buns. And for some reason, you can't stop with just one.
Was the Sloppy Joe Invented in Sioux City, Iowa?
The one I find most likely is that they originated in the 1920s at Ye Olde Tavern Inn in Sioux City, Iowa. They were prepared by a cook named Joe who mixed in his loose meat concoction and referred to it as a 'Sloppy Joe',
The other story is that it arrived in the United States when famous author Ernest Hemingway introduced the concept for the sandwich to a bar in Key West, Florida, and suggested they name it the 'Sloppy Joe' after the owner of the bar Joe Russell.
I've eaten Sloppy Joe's at Sloppy Joe's in Key West. They were darn tasty.
The original Ye Olde Tavern in Sioux City was opened by Dave Heglin in 1920. The original 'Tavern Sandwitch' recipe was a closely guarded secret for years. The restaurant was sold in the 1930s after Heglin's death.
The new owners continued to sell the original sandwich for ten cents each, served on wax paper, for decades. Its popularity grew making it a local favorite.
This version of Ye Olde Tavern closed in the early 1970s. Several different restaurants have occupied the space since. Most recently The Garden Cafe continued the tradition, keeping the sandwich on the menu until it closed in 2020.