© Clayton Hauck
Carey Jones
Updated August 13, 2015

If there's one sandwich whose very name resists being fancied up, it's the Sloppy Joe. If it's inherently sloppy, can it ever be high-end? Can anything named "Sloppy" on a menu be taken seriously? Is the very notion of a refined Sloppy Joe impossible? (These are the questions we spend way too much of our time thinking about.) 

But against all odds, the Sloppy Joe has made a comeback on modern menus across the country—sometimes in more recognizable forms than others. 

The filling: Stewed-up ground meat is the central feature here; from there on out, it's the chef's choice. 

The bread: Any bun substantial enough to contain the sloppiness. (Or at least pretend to.) 

Where to get it: 

Longman & Eagle, Chicago. Beef need not be the only meat for a good Sloppy Joe, as evidenced by this wild boar version—topped with crispy sage, onion and pickled jalapeño, served on a housemade sesame bun with beef fat fries. 

Jack Allen's Kitchen, Austin. The "Sloppy Jack" starts with ground short rib and gets topped with dill pickles and a jalapeño mayonnaise—served with buttermilk-fried onion rings for good measure. 

Bazaar Meat by José Andrés, Las Vegas. Going a bit rogue, José Andrés's take on the Sloppy is served in a hot dog bun—with beef bolognese and fried straw potatoes layered in there. Perhaps unorthodox, but bun and ground beef qualify it as a proper Sloppy in our book. 

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Why We're Obsessed with High-End Tortas 
Sandwiches Across America

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