I came across a public service announcement that mentioned serving Sloppy Joes and was wondering where the idea for Sloppy Joes came from. The first theory is was a restaurant in Iowa that served a loose ground beef sandwich with ketchup or tomato sauce and spices on two slices of bread in the 1920s.

Another theory is that during World War II, as food and supplies began to be rationed, homemakers had to look for creative ways to stretch their food supplies. One of them was mixing ground beef with various sauces to make the supply last longer.

Then in the late 1960s Hunt Foods introduced Manwich Sloppy Joe Sauce with onions, garlic, oregano, red and green peppers all in a can. All you had to do was add the meat. The Sloppy Joe really took off especially in homes where both parents were working.


You already know why it’s called sloppy, but why a Joe? Apparently it was the name of the cook in the Iowa restaurant who came up with the idea. And just maybe it was named after a Key West, Florida restaurant named Sloppy Joe’s where that sandwich was their best seller. Sloppy Joe’s opened in 1933 and is still open. It was Ernest Hemingway’s favorite place to eat and drink.