While the hamburger may be the king of diner menus across the country, its cousin the patty melt is another item that was popularized by classic diners. Most experts believe that the patty melt was created by William “Tiny” Naylor sometime in the 1940s or 50s for his chain of coffee shops in Southern California. Nowadays there are endless variations on the sandwich, but the classic patty melt consists of sliced rye bread that is buttered and grilled rather than toasted, Swiss cheese, sautéed onions, and a hamburger patty that is formed to match the shape of the bread. Usually the entire sandwich is assembled and then cooked on the grill in order to melt the cheese and make the bread golden and crispy, much like a panini. Some fans of this sandwich are emphatic in their adherence to the classic ingredients and preparation, believing that any small variation results in something that is NOT a patty melt. However, often you will find patty melts served on sourdough bread with cheddar cheese. Whatever version you may prefer, the patty melt remains a diner classic!

A Patty Melt at Gunther Toody's

A Patty Melt at Gunther Toody’s