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Mar 27, 2013 06:55 AM

MSP's 18 Most Iconic Sandwiches

From the Eater blog comes this list:

I think it's a worthy list, but I was truly surprised by the inclusion of Caffrey's Deli and Subs, which I had never heard about.

Anyone try this place, or have any other's to add to the list?

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  1. There is so much wrong with just the title I can't wrap my head around the fluff article. "Iconic"? That's a Philly Cheesesteak. We have nothing even remotely similar in terms of popularity locally or nationally. I suppose Jucy Lucy's (which took me 30 years of living here to hear about). And including something less than a year old (Fika) is just plain silly. The article should have been called "18 Pretty Decent Sandwiches".

    Taqueria El Ranchito makes my favorite Torta, Pat's Tap my favorite Veggie Burger, Ward 6 my favorite Grilled Cheese.

    14 Replies
    1. re: american_idle

      I gotta agree with A_I here. Calling any sandwich in the Twin Cities as "iconic" seems silly. It's OK that a city doesn't have an "iconic" sandwich. Not every city does.

      The article also takes liberties with what it calls a "sandwich". While a burger certainly has two pieces of bread, I'm not sure that something like a hamburger or a hotdog fits into what most people consider a sandwich to be. Maybe it's an arbitrary concept, and different folks see it different ways.

      In any case, I don't see how a sandwich that's a year old can be "iconic". This is another example of a "best of" list that serves little purpose except to generate ad revenue. It could have been re-titled as "18 old and new sandwiches that Twin Citians should try if they haven't yet", and the author removed the word "iconic", then it would have been fine. But then, that doesn't have the cache of "Iconic sandwiches".

      1. re: foreverhungry

        In the Northeast, a hamburger is referred to as a "hamburger sandwich" by many people. And the original hamburgers were placed between two pieces of bread, not the buns that you see today. Google Louis Lunch in Connecticut and you'll see what I mean.

        I agree with the rest of your post. There isn't an iconic sandwich here like a Philly Cheesesteak, or a Chicago Italian Beef, or a French Dip in LA. It's all knock-offs of things we've seen in other locations. Not there is anything wrong with it, I just wish our imitators where a little closer to the originals.

        1. re: Db Cooper

          My mother is from the midwest, and she will tell me she had a "sandwich", and I will ask her what kind, and she will say, "a hamburger!"

      2. re: american_idle

        And I should point out that the Jucy Lucy was NOT invented in Minneapolis. There is an old (now out-of print) Better Homes and Gardens cookbook written in the early 1950's that had a recipe for a cheese-stuffed burger. In addition, there is a burger joint in Tulsa, OK (Hanks) that sold a double cheeseburger in the 1950's where the cheese was placed in between the two patties and the meat was crimped around the cheese so that the cheese would not melt out and scorch on the griddle. They no longer do that, but they were selling their "Jucy Lucy" long before Matt's Bar even existed.

        Of course, the Jucy Lucy is definitely a Minneapolis icon, but it still irks me when people claim it was invented here.

        1. re: jeff55432

          Just a small point, Matt's Bar opened in 1954, so it seems they could have been making Jucy Lucy's in the same time frame as Hanks. Who knows...

          1. re: justalex

            OK, so maybe I stand corrected. I thought I read somewhere that Matt's opened up in the 70's.

            1. re: jeff55432

              That's alright. I lived in the neighborhood in the late 80's to late 90's. I remember it had the look of being around forever the first time I went to Matt's all those years ago. You made me look it up. :)


            2. re: justalex

              There's compelling fossil evidence, found in the Chinle layer in southern Utah of partially digested Diplodicus meat wrapped around some spoiled Morganucodon milk (ur-cheese). This pre-historic comestible is now known as the Jurassic Lucy.

                1. re: JimGrinsfelder

                  No onions? I imagine raw was the only option without that pesky fire thingy.

            3. re: american_idle

              Do people eat Veggie Burgers because they want to be reminded of eating hamburgers or because they don't like vegetables in their regular form? Its like caffeine free diet coke....I don't get it.

              30 years and not hear about the lucy? umm.....yeah thats kind of a long time to not hear about something that is served at probably 20 restaurants in the metro.

              1. re: brlattim

                People (particularly vegetarians) eat veggie burgers for sustenance. They also taste good.

                Grew up on the East Side. Didn't dine out that often, when I did it was either Sunday breakfast at Perkins (out on 61) or Chinese food from a literal-hole in the wall of Sundance Lanes. When I ate a cheeseburger, it was just that, not some gimmick that makes little sense / difference. Thus it was never on my radar, and by the time I became vegetarian, it no longer mattered.

                Why do people eat boneless wings? Why does this feel like a bad Seinfeld bit?

                Also, Shish makes a pretty good Falafel, and I've always liked Davanni's Veggie Hoagie.

                1. re: brlattim

                  I used to think the same, and then I had a bean burger that was fantastic. I just had to have the right mindset that I'm not eating an imitation hamburger, or substitute hamburger, but rather it's own distinct thing.

                  I still don't get diet coke.

                2. re: american_idle

                  True. Nothing really iconic in the TC besides the juicy, really.

                3. Caffrey's Deli been there done that. Was OK. I have never returned. I was there 3 years ago so it might be better now. A_E you need to loosen up

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ibew292

                    I'm plenty loose. People paid to write should know the definition of the words they use.

                  2. What is with This list seems so random it is like advertising.

                    1. So much is wrong with that list. Where to start?

                      I don't like Dusty's Dago and wouldn't eat another one. It was like a Jimmy Dean sausage patty, dried out and served on a stale bun. Italian-style sandwiches from Broder's or even D'Amico are way better in my book.

                      Mayslack's is a shadow of it's former glory. The last time I was there (5 years ago), it was really bad. Maybe it's gotten better lately? I go to Wally's or Maverick's instead.

                      Kramarczuk's is ok.

                      Haven't tried the Nye's or Monte Carlo sandwiches.

                      Smack Shack's truck, Bewiched and Hola Arepas are good places to get sandwiches, IMO.

                      Holy Land is mediocre. Much better can be had at Filfillah.

                      Matt's, and 5-8 seem like good choices.

                      Clancey's too.

                      Tavern on Grand? Not so much. And the sandwiches at Sea Salt are about the last thing I'd order from their menu.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: JimGrinsfelder

                        Totally agree with many things you wrote here. I tried this Mayslacks a year ago, and it was terrible.

                        I've given up on the 5/8 club jucy----it's just not good.

                        Caffreys is actually a pretty good sub shop.

                        McGoverns open faced turkey sandwich should have been on there.

                        And I know they're new, but Northbound smoked trout wrap or the fried chicken sandwich.......holy cow.

                        1. re: alpa chino

                          Yes and yes on Mayslack's and 5-8. Both are wildly overrated and must have been better in a bygone era.

                          1. re: BigE

                            I think that is true of a lot of restaurants, not just the ones we cite here. I remember when I was young, Red Lobster was considered high-end dining. When we would go there, everyone dining would be dressed up. Now it looks like a glorified McDonald's w/food to match. In Saint Paul, Mancini's was w/o question the best steak in the city. That's no longer the case either.

                            Times change, tastes evolve, techniques get better, fresher better ingredients are available.

                            1. re: Db Cooper

                              DB, that's a really interesting point, and Red Lobster's probably the perfect example. I imagine that Red Lobster today is nearly exactly what it was in 1985. But tastes and expectations have evolved. Red Lobster, being a big chain is systematic and to some degree, consistencty driven.

                              I wonder if that's true in Mayslack's case or 5-8 Club. I think Mayslack's changed when Stan left.

                              1. re: JimGrinsfelder

                                5-8 is definitely a neighborhood joint that people tend to over-romanticize. If you look past that, the beef quality is just not good. The fries coming with it aren't any better.

                                Mayslack's must have changed. By the time I went (5 or so years ago), the beef was just...not good. I normally clean my plate, but this stuff got one bite and no more.

                        2. Anyone else tried Hot Corned Beef on Rye from Jason's Deli? I know it's a chain, but I don't think I've had better in the Twin Cities. Maybe I was particularly hungry when I ate it and that made it seem better than it was? I dunno, but next time I want Corned Beef, I'm going out of my way to get one of their sandwiches.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: JimGrinsfelder

                            You ought to try Ward 6 if corned beef is what you are after