Tavern sandwich

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Loose meat)
Jump to: navigation, search
Tavern Sandwich
A tavern sandwich with cheese
Alternative names Loose Meat
Type Sandwich
Course Main
Place of origin United States
Region or state Midwestern United States
Serving temperature Hot
Main ingredients Bun, ground beef, onions
Cookbook: Tavern Sandwich  Media: Tavern Sandwich

A tavern sandwich (also called a loose meat sandwich) is a sandwich consisting of unseasoned ground beef on a bun, mixed with sauteed onions, and sometimes topped with pickles, ketchup, mustard, and cheese.

The tavern sandwich is unlike a hamburger, because a tavern's meat is cooked loose rather than formed into a compact patty. It more closely resembles a sloppy joe, without the tomato sauce.[1] [2]


The sandwich was created first as a "steamed hamburger" in 1920 by Carroll Dietz of Missoula, Montana, and imitated in 1934 by Abraham Kaled at Ye Olde Tavern in Sioux City, Iowa.[3] It is the latter location that gave the sandwich its name.[3][4] In Illinois, this sandwich is also known as a "loose hamburger sandwich".[5]

Maid-Rite, an American casual dining franchise restaurant chain, began selling their version of the sandwich in 1926 under the name "loose meat," predating the name "tavern sandwich".[6]

The sandwich is well known throughout the Midwestern United States, and is served not only in small, local establishments but also in franchise locations such as Dairy Queen and Maid-Rite. The Wichita, Kansas-based chain Nu Way Cafe serves a version of the tavern/loose meat sandwich called a "Nu Way".[7]

Cultural references[edit]

In later seasons of the American sitcom Roseanne, Roseanne Conner (Roseanne Barr) co-owns a restaurant called the "Lanford Lunch Box" in the fictional town of Lanford, Illinois, which specializes in loose meat sandwiches.[8] The inspiration for Lunch Box was a real-life restaurant called Canteen Lunch in the Alley in Ottumwa, Iowa.[9] In 1993, Roseanne and then-husband Tom Arnold opened Roseanne and Tom's Big Food Diner (based on the fictional Lanford Lunchbox) in Eldon, Iowa (less than 20 miles southeast of Ottumwa's Canteen Lunch), also specializing in loose meat sandwiches.[citation needed]

Iowa's loose meat sandwich figures in The Good Wife, season 7, episode 11, in which a presidential candidate completing the Full Grassley is forced to eat a loose meat sandwich at each stop.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Peterson, p. 137.
  2. ^ Grant and Ferrara, p. 235.
  3. ^ a b Mariani, p. 297.
  4. ^ Grant and Ferrara, p. 235.
  5. ^ Dondanville, p. 215.
  6. ^ Mercuri, Becky (2004). "American sandwich: great eats from all 50 states". Gibbs Smith. 
  7. ^ Smith, p. 87-88.
  8. ^ Metcalf, p. 116.
  9. ^ "TV ACRES:Restaurants, Bars & Nightclubs > Lanford Lunch Box (ROSEANNE/ABC/1988-97)". www.tvacres.com. Retrieved 6 July 2012. 
  10. ^ "'The Good Wife' Recap: Enjoy Every Sandwich". www.tvline.com. Retrieved 11 January 2016. 


  • Dondanville, Ruth. Nobody Cooks Like Ruth: Menus From Cherotree (Haverford, PA: Infinity Publishing), 2003. ISBN 0-7414-1418-X
  • Grant, Tina & Miranda H. Ferrara. International Directory of Company Histories (Chicago: St. James Press), 2004. ISBN 1-55862-504-6
  • Mariani, John F. The Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink (New York: Lebhar-Friedman), 1999. ISBN 0-86730-784-6
  • Metcalf, Allan A. How We Talk: American Regional English Today (Boston: Houghton Mifflin), 2000. ISBN 0-618-04362-4
  • Peterson, Eric. Ramble: A Field Guide to the U.S.A. (Denver, CO: Speck Press), 2006. ISBN 1-933108-08-8
  • Smith, Vernon L. Discovery: A Memoir (Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse), 2008. ISBN 1-4343-8431-4