Sloppy Joe Diaspora

From My-Main-Sandwich-Man-In-NYC, JAF, The Skinny on the Joe.

Read no further before you have clicked on the above link and done your homework on the New Jersey Sloppy Joe!
From New Jersey to New Zealand expat Pamela Jenkins

I grew up in (then tiny) Chatham Township, NJ where Sloppy Joes were a mainstay. It wasn’t until we grew up and all moved away that we found out the rest of the world thought we were eating Hamburger Helper.

The top four contenders for Joe construction are Chatham Deli, Millburn Deli, Short Hills Deli, and Hickory Tree Deli in Chatham Township. Town Hall Deli in South Orange and Towne Deli in Summit are runners up. Local mythology claims the recipe was brought in the ’30’s from Havana by the Mayor of Maplewood. The Joetreigns as iconic food of the century (I vote turkey but would never turn down ham!) in my ratings.

There’s a Facebook group of Chatham Township natives who are now scattered all over the world. Long threads are devoted to of lustings for Sloppy Joes, a sandwich that is not found outside of northern New Jersey.

Pamela, I got word from Cape Cup‘s proprietress, Ellen McAteer, that a NJ Sloppy Joe is featured on the Cape Cup sandwich menu in Orleans, MA.

Cape Cup
54 Main Street, Orleans Ma 2653

Anecdotal Joe lore from Pamela:
A Sloppy Joe fan, media mogul type, had a meeting with a new client and couldn’t close the deal.  At the 11th hour the client mentioned he was from Millburn (a few towns over from Chatham, home of the delightful Millburn Deli, which also is famous for its Joes).  The “media giant”, a man who could secure you the best seats at any Ranger or Yankee game, or the best table at any restaurant in the city, immediately mentioned Sloppy Joes. Both men enthusiastically waxed estatic, and the deal was sealed.  The Millburn man went on to become a major client.  The Power Of The Joe! No need to pull out the big guns.


One response to “Sloppy Joe Diaspora

  1. I started the Hickory Tree Facebook site on a whim and I’m glad to see the word is spreading. The “Power of the Joe” – you’ve gotta love it!

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