What Is a Club Sandwich and When Was It Invented?

Here's what you need to know.

<p>imagedepotpro/Getty Images</p>

imagedepotpro/Getty Images

What’s better than sitting down to a big, overstuffed sandwich for lunch? A diner and deli counter classic, the club sandwich has been one of America’s favorite sandwiches for over a century. It gained popularity after being served at the World’s Fair in 1904. Even the famous chef James Beard wrote about his love for club sandwiches. And what’s not to love? At its core, a club is the ideal combo of bread, meat, and veggies—the perfect recipe for a sandwich that has kept its spot on menus across the country for over 130 years.

What Is a Club Sandwich?

There may be as many versions of a club sandwich as there are restaurants that serve clubs. But generally, if you order a club, you’ll likely get a stacked sandwich with three slices of bread, two or three types of meat, and an array of classic sandwich veggies and condiments. What most people consider the cornerstone of a club sandwich is its double-decker appearance: The third slice of bread in the middle gives the illusion of two sandwiches stacked on top of each other.

However, if you find yourself in New Zealand, ordering a club sandwich will yield something more similar to an egg salad sandwich with lettuce and tomato. Similarly, a club sandwich in Hong Kong also contains eggs, though it’s paired with Spam, American cheese, lettuce, and tomato.

What’s In a Club Sandwich?

Many restaurants have their own take on a club, but a loose blueprint is toasted white sandwich bread, turkey or chicken, bacon, ham, lettuce, tomato, and mayo. Some people swear a club needs avocado to be a proper club, while others are adamant that deli turkey has no place on a club; only shredded chicken breast will do.

Though not traditional, gooey, melted cheese isn’t uncommon on a club, and neither are a few slices of juicy pickles. No matter the slight variations, a club is always stacked high and includes a third slice of bread in the middle. Due to their height, most clubs are sliced into triangles and secured with frilly toothpicks, something most people associate with a club. You might notice that the ingredients in a club are awfully similar to those in a classic BLT. It seems that club sandwiches were invented first, though, as the earliest recorded recipe for a club predates the first recorded recipe for a BLT.


Club Sandwich History

Like many classic sandwiches, the invention of the club sandwich is hotly contested. Some New Yorkers will tell you that the club was invented at the Union Club in New York City in the late 1880s. A few hours north, folks in Saratoga Springs have also claimed the club, insisting it was invented at the Saratoga Club in the 1890s. In recent years, some corners of the internet have claimed that “club” is actually an acronym for “chicken and lettuce under bacon,” but there’s little evidence to support this. Whether invented at the Union Club or the Saratoga Club, the club was invented in New York. It’s likely that club sandwiches simply got their name from the social clubs, making them their signature sandwiches. Similar to the phrase “house wine,” club sandwiches are most likely named after where they were initially served.

Club Sandwich Recipes

If all this talk of crispy bacon, juicy turkey, and fresh veggies makes you hungry for lunch, then you’re in luck! Club sandwiches are super easy to make at home since they don’t require much cooking and use ingredients most of us already have on hand. Though a club sandwich is delicious year-round, you'll be in for a real treat if you can get your hands on some ripe, juicy summer tomatoes. Since clubs are such simple sandwiches with just a few ingredients, making them your own with different bread or even a totally different approach to sandwich construction is easy.

Read the original article on All Recipes.