1. Horseshoe Sandwich
This open-faced sandwich was created in Springfield, Illinois, where it is considered a local specialty. Typically, a horseshoe consists of two slices of toast topped with two meat patties or ham segments, french fries, and cheese sauce. It was originally served on a heated metal plate known as an anvil, with ham and fries representing the horseshoe rivets, hence the name.
There is also a variation of this sandwich called a pony shoe sandwich, which is half the size of a standard horseshoe. In the late 1920s, a caterer named Joe Schweska at the Leland Hotel in Springfield devised the sandwich.
2. Loose Meat Sandwich
The loose meat sandwich, also known as the tavern sandwich, is an American invention composed of a divided hamburger baguette filled with ground beef and sautéed onions. The beef is unseasoned (it is typically slow-cooked in a variety of seasoning combinations), and the sandwich is typically stuffed with mustard, ketchup, cheddar, or pickles.
In a sandwich store, you will likely receive a spoon with this sandwich in order to consume the minced beef that has fallen off. David Heglin created the first tavern sandwich in 1924 in Sioux City, Iowa, and Fred Angell created the first flexible meat sandwich in 1926 in Muscatine.
3. Shredded Chicken Sandwich
Sandwiches with shredded poultry are a specialty of Northern and Central Ohio. Chicken is cooked and shredded with a utensil before being cooked in chicken broth or condensed chicken soup with flour, bread crumbs, or pulverized potato chips.
Black pepper is added to the mixture before it is served on hamburger buns. The sandwich was a fixture of school lunches, dairy bars, and church gatherings in the 1960s. It was prepared with ancient, tough chicken flesh, so anyone could make creamed chicken and serve it on rolls or biscuits.
Runza is a sandwich consisting of yeast dough bread filled with beef, cabbage, scallions, and various seasonings that is a specialty of Nebraska. It can be prepared in a variety of configurations, including squares, triangles, and half-moons, although the traditional Nebraskan version is almost always rectangular.
It is believed that the original runza sandwich has German and Russian origins dating back to the 18th century and that the recipe ultimately found its way to the Midwestern region of the United States, where it was originally served for lunch to field workers.
Jibarito is a unique Puerto Rican sandwich consisting of pureed, fried plantains in place of bread. Typically, the sandwich contains garlic mayonnaise, meat, lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese. Some claim that the jibarito sandwich was established by Juan Figueroa in 1996 at the Borinquen Restaurant in Chicago, whereas others assert that the sandwich originated in Puerto Rico.
Most likely, the sandwich was created by Coqu Feliciano and Jorge Muoz at the Plátano Loco restaurant in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, and Figueroa read about it, which inspired him to create a variation in Chicago.
6. Italian Beef
Italian beef is a popular Chicagoan sandwich composed of thinly sliced, seasoned layers of roast beef in a dense and chewy Italian-style pastry, crowned with pickled giardiniera relish or roasted green bell peppers. Typically, the sandwich is dunked in jus – either on one end, both ends or entirely – to add flavor.
Depending on individual preference, mozzarella or cheddar cheese can be added to the panini. Three prevalent hypotheses exist regarding the origin of the Italian beef sandwich. One source claims that Al Ferreri (the proprietor of Al’s Beef restaurant) and his family devised it at the beginning of World War II.
7. Pork Tenderloin Sandwich
The pork tenderloin sandwich is typically comprised of a breaded and fried pork cutlet served on a hamburger baguette. French fries and onion rings are typical side dishes, while the condiments of choice are typically mustard, lettuce, pickles, and mayonnaise.
Popular throughout the Midwest, particularly in Indiana and Iowa, is the sandwich. According to estimates, at least fifty percent of Indiana restaurants serve the sandwich. The most prevalent theory holds that the pork tenderloin sandwich originated in Huntington, Indiana, in 1908, when Nicholas Feinstein opened Nick’s Kitchen.
8. Maxwell Street Polish
The Maxwell Street Polish sandwich is said to have been established in 1943 by Jimmy Stefanovic, a Macedonian immigrant who managed a hot dog stand – now known as Jim’s Original – in Chicago’s old Maxwell Street market district.
Polish sausage served on a roll is garnished with caramelized onions, yellow mustard, and optional pickled green sports peppers. Soon after its creation, the Maxwell Street Polish became one of Chicago’s most popular local foods and remains a fixture of the city’s hot dog vendors.
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