A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from November 06, 2015
Sailor Sandwich

The “sailor sandwich” began in 1943 at the New York Deli in Richmond, Virginia, where it was served to the many sailors who were customers during World War II. According to the New York Deli website, “The Sailor” is “pastrami and swiss topped with knockwurst, on grilled, marbled rye with spicy brown mustard.” An ad in the Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch in February 1950 was for the “HOT SAILOR SANDWICH—Pastromi-Cheese-Knack Wurst on Rye-Kosher Pickles.”

A sailor sandwich of “Knockwurst—Corned Beef—Pastromi—Swiss Cheese—Pickle—Served on a seeded bun” by Walton’s Cafeteria was advertised in the Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch in March 1963, but corned beef is usually not an ingredient. A sailor sandwich of “1/4 lb. Pastrami, Knockwurst, Imperial Swiss Cheese, Kraut, and 1000 Island Dressing, served on Rye” was advertised in the Fredericksburg (VA) Free Lance-Star in 1981.


Wikipedia: Sailor sandwich
A sailor sandwich is a hot meat and cheese sandwich popular in Richmond, Virginia area restaurants. Its core ingredients are hot pastrami, grilled knackwurst, melted Swiss cheese and hot mustard on rye bread.

Origins
The New York Deli, founded in 1929, claims to be the originator of the sailor sandwich. The eatery moved to its current location in Carytown in 1934. According to local legend, during World War II, Navy seamen from the University of Richmond Navy V-12 program would frequent the New York Deli and order this then-nameless sandwich. It eventually became known as a sailor sandwich, although it is uncertain who officially named the sandwich.

New York Deli (Richmond, VA)
Opening in 1929 and in its present location since 1934, the New York Deli is Richmond’s oldest restaurant.
We specialize in gourmet sandwiches, served in a neighborhood bar setting. We have a diverse lineup of classic deli sandwiches and rotating roster of bottled beer & drafts.  We are the birthplace of the Sailor and feature perhaps the best Reuben on the planet.
Menu—Specialty Sandwiches
The Sailor 9.95
Created here in 1943.
pastrami and swiss topped with knockwurst, on grilled, marbled rye with spicy brown mustard.

24 February 1950, Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch, pg. 4, col. 2 ad:
HOT SAILOR SANDWICH—Pastromi-Cheese-Knack Wurst on Rye-Kosher Pickles...45c
NEW YORK DELICATESSEN
2920 WEST CARY STREET

8 March 1950, Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch, pg. 5, col. 5 ad:
HOT PASTRAMI, SAILOR, SUBMARINE and 100 More SELECTED SANDWICHES
NEW YORK DELICATESSEN
2920 WEST CARY STREET

12 May 1961, Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch, pg. 20, col. 1:
Try our famous Sailor Sandwich, hot pastrami, knackwurst, cheese on rye with new dill pickle. 60c
NEW YORK DELICATESSEN
2920 W. CARY ST.

6 March 1963, Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch, pg. 23, col. 6 ad:
WALTON’S CAFETERIA
SAILOR SANDWICH
Knockwurst—Corned Beef—Pastromi—Swiss Cheese—Pickle—Served on a seeded bun, hot. 55c
3110 W. Leigh St.

1 April 1964, Bluefield (WV) Daily Telegraph, pg. 11, col. 2:
TRY OUR — Sailor Sandwich. Knock-wurst Koeher paxtromi and swiss cheese on Pumpernickel. Simon’s Delicatessen Restaurant.

10 February 1968, Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch, pg. B-4, col. 2:
WHAT IS A SAILOR SANDWICH?
It is an invention of New York Delicatessen often copied but never equalled.

Contains hot pastrami, imported switzer cheese and all-meat, kosher-style knockwurst and a kosher dill pickle.
80c
It is a must for everyone to try because you have never had such a fabulous sandwich.
NEW YORK DELICATESSEN
2920 West Cary Street

Google News Archive
21 May 1981, The Free lance-Star (Fredericksburg, VA), pg. 11, col. 3 ad:
Holley’s Deli
216 WILLIAM STREET
SATURDAY SPECIAL
“Sailor Sandwich”
1/4 lb. Pastrami, Knockwurst, Imperial Swiss Cheese, Kraut, and 1000 Island Dressing, served on Rye. Regular $3.65. $3.30

10 November 1983, Greensboro (NC) Record, pg. 67(?), col. 1 ad:
Harry’s Sailor Sandwich—knockwurst, bacon, and melted American cheese on white bread… 3.40
HARRY’S SHRIMP & OYSTER BAR

7 August 2005, The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, IA), “Foodie subculture moves to front burner in U.S.” by Brad Foss (AP), pg. 2D, col. 3:
When Jay Garner of Richmond, Va., prepared what has become one of his family’s signature meals –- the sailor sandwich, a grilled combination of pastrami, knockwurst and Swiss cheese on mustard-laden rye bread –- he could, at best, could two, at once, in a frying pan.

Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch
Richmond’s Very Own Sandwich
Posted: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 1:00 am
Anika Imajo, Richmond.com
(...)
Owner Demetrios Tsiptsis, who boasts a 1940s-era New York Deli menu on which the sailor appears, proposes the following: “If anyone doubts that we’re the creator, I challenge them to produce an older menu with (the sailor sandwich) on it.”

Documented evidence aside, Tsiptsis offers a compelling story to back up the claim: The University of Richmond hosted a Navy V-12 program, a course of training for officers, between 1943 and 1945. According to Tsiptsis, the deli was a popular eatery for the trainees, who would fill its booths when they got their paychecks on the 1st and 15th of each month.

Around 1943, someone at the New York Deli (Tsiptsis explained that no individual has ever taken credit for the innovation.) created the sailor sandwich to satisfy the appetites of the aspiring Navy officers. When presented with requests for the novel dish, the owner’s wife would alert the kitchen by shouting an order for “another sandwich for the sailors!” (The sandwich, according to Tsiptsis, was never officially named.)

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RiverBay Roadhouse Inc.
October 16, 2015 at 11:37am ·
Come check out our great lunch specials today!! Seafood Sliders or a Grilled Sailor sandwich..Pastrami, Knockwurst and Sauerkraut on grilled rye bread with Swiss cheese and brown mustard!!

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Friday, November 06, 2015 • Permalink