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Patty Melt: A Lunch Counter Favorite


Patty Melt

Patty Melt

Copyright 2010 Kevin D Weeks
Recently (as I write this) I read an ode to the patty melt. You know the sandwich: hamburger patty, grilled rye bread, Swiss cheese, and (often) 1000 Island dressing. When done well it's crisp and juicy, sweet and slightly salty, rich and savory. It's the sort of sandwich I could order as a kid at Woolworth's or the drug store's lunch counter. But I probably haven't seen it on a menu more than once or twice since then and it had dropped from my mind. However, after reading Janet Zimmerman's praise of this sandwich/burger hybrid I had to make one – or two. (Larger image.) Makes 2.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes


  • 2/3 lb. ground beef
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 slices rye bread
  • Butter; softened
  • 6 slices Swiss cheese
  • 1000 Island dressing


1. Divide the beef in half and form into 2 patties slightly larger than a slice of the rye bread. Season generously with salt and pepper.

2. Spread one side of each slice of rye bread with butter and place, buttered side down, on a griddle (compare prices, I have both the Calphalon double non-stick griddle and a Lodge combination grill pan and griddle)over low heat.

3. Divide cheese among all slices and cook until bread is lightly browned and cheese is well-softened.

4. Set bread aside on a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

5. Increase heat to medium, and grill patties until well-done (ideally 160 internal temperature) about 10 minutes on one side and 7 – 9 minutes on the other depending on thickness.

6. Place the patties on a slice of grilled bread, cover patty generously with 1000 Island and top with other slice.

7. Reduce heat to low, drain fat from griddle and place sandwiches back on griddle.

8. Cook on each side until bread is well-browned. Serve immediately.

Note 1: If you don't make your own 1000 Island using my recipe, I suggest adding one or two thin slices of red onion to the sandwiches.

Note 2: You can grill the bread and burgers at the same time if you griddle is large enough to cover two burners, keep the burner under the bread at low and the burner under the patties at medium. They won't quite finish at the same time, but close.

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