The Sloppy Joe: An American Classic With Roots in — Cuba?

Whether cooked up by Mom, ordered at a diner or served in a grade-school cafeteria, few dishes are more quintessential to American childhood than the Sloppy Joe. But the messy sandwich's roots may actually be in a place that is, as they say, downright un-American: Cuba. The story — or at least one story — of how the Sloppy Joe became an American staple begins with a rowdy bar, Havana nights and none other than Ernest Hemingway. Back in 1917, a Spaniard by the name of José Abeal y Otero opened a bar on the corner of Agramonte and Animas streets in Havana, according to brochures at a recently re-launched version of his establishment here in the Cuban capital. Hemingway visited the bar, eventually becoming a common presence there and one of its many celebrity regulars. It's the famous author who is the sandwich's apparent link from Cuba to the United States.