Why is a club sandwich called a club sandwich?

With today being the 27th day of the National Blog Posting Month, I found myself seriously lacking when it came to ideas for content. This is actually also my 100th post! Yay!

I logged onto Facebook and read a message I received from a friend asking where my blog post was for today. Unh! I didn't have one.

“I don’t know what I'm going to write about,” I confessed.

“Hmmm, I just ate a roast beef club... perhaps you can do something on why these things are called club sandwiches... I surely did not sign up for anything to be able to eat one. There's gotta be something behind that,” he said.


Good question, and something I never even thought about. Why in the world is a club sandwich called a club sandwich? Thank you, Mike!

So, after doing some light research on club sandwiches, I found a few explanations as to the origin of the sandwich.

Wikipedia says that a club sandwich, also called a clubhouse sandwich or double-decker, is a sandwich with two layers of fillings between 3 slices of toasted bread. It is often cut into quarters and held together by hors d'Ĺ“uvre sticks, which are those long toothpicks with colorful thingies on the tops.

Basically, a traditional club sandwich includes turkey on the bottom layer, and baconlettuce, and tomato on the top, sometimes specifically named a turkey club. Other common club sandwiches generally vary the bottom layer, for example a "chicken club" or a "roast beef club". Variations might include ham (instead of bacon), egg and/or additional cheese slices. 

As with a BLT sandwich, the club sandwich is usually served on toasted bread. Mayonnaise and mustard and sometimes honey mustard are common condiments.

As for sides, the sandwich is commonly served with a small portion of either coleslaw, or potato salad, and often accompanied by a pickle. The coleslaw or potato salad is often reduced to a "garnish" portion, when the primary side item is an order of French fries.

But back to the name, why a CLUB? One popular theory is that the sandwich first appeared in 1894 at the famous Saratoga Club-House (an exclusive gentlemen only gambling house in upstate Saratoga Springs, New York) where the potato chip was born. Originally called Morrissey's Club House, where neither women nor locals were permitted in the gambling rooms.

Sounds like you had to be a fancy member of this club to eat this sandwich.

WAIT, there's more! I came across another legend says that a man came home late and hungry from his club one night, raided the ice box and made himself a super-sandwich which he dubbed "club." Another says that the chef of some club made himself a reputation by devising this special type of sammich. Anyway, who cares, and what difference does it make? 

Whatever the origin, it's clear that the club sandwich is here to stay. Why? Because it is a meal in itself, and a meal which may have highly diversified component parts, as long as the principal specifications of toast, meat and salad ingredients are there. 

Originally it was constructed on the toppling tower plan, but in any other shape it tastes as good and convenience now dictates a more open formation which may be readily attacked. The club sandwich may consist of anywhere from one to five stories. The foundation is always toast, but the superstructure depends on the maker's fancy--and the materials at hand. 

I also came across a website that highlighted an Ultimate Clubhouse Sandwich Contest, which was held at the Sacramento Scottish Rite Temple and Mausoleum October 29, 2011, in Sacramento, California. The event chose winners for traditional, non-traditional and people's choice club sandwiches as well as an overall winner. Proceeds of the event benefited the Sacramento Scottish Rite Childhood Language Center.

An example of one of the non-traditional clubs was one that contains juniper-berry-brined turkey breast, braised pork belly with prune ketchup, raspberry red cabbage and honey mustard on dark rye bread.


What would be on your favorite club sandwich? 

This month, I was motivated to participate in #NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) where the challenge is presented to bloggers to write a post for each and every day during the month of November. Today is Day 27.

(Sources: Wikipedia, www.scabee.com, Seven Hundred Sandwiches,
Florenece A. Cowles [1929],
What's Cooking America)


  1. Congrats on your 100th post. I hit mine yesterday!

    I love club sandwiches-- preferably turkey on whole wheat, light on the mayo. I never, ever stopped to consider that they must have an origin somewhere. Interesting story about them.

    Now if I could find more restaurants that still serve a basic club sandwich I'd be happy. Very few places around here bother with them anymore.

  2. Never thought about it until your post, but I don't think I've ever had a club sandwich that wasn't delivered via room service or served as a "something to please everybody" meal for a lunch meeting. Love the history briefing, and congrats on post #100!


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