If last year was the year of the double patty smash burger, then keep your eyes peeled for a new decadent between-two-buns craving: the fried bologna sandwich.
The original can arguably be traced back to Willensky's Light Lunch of Montreal. They've been serving the sandwich for 80 years.
But it's only over the past few years that cooks and chefs seem to be paying homage to (or pilfering) this admittedly genius and minimalist creation. Nouveau Jewish-style deli Mile End in New York City famously serves a version. You can see everyone from Anthony Bourdain to David Chang geeking out on it.
A brief descriptor of the original "Willensky's Special":
The first time we spotted the sandwich locally was at Saint Dinette. The St. Paul hot spot's is still our favorite, with its signature squishy bun, cheddar cheese sauce, and thin slices of bologna that have been frizzled at the edges. Pickles ride alongside.
We had a version of the sandwich on the Wyn 65 food truck (from the people who brought you Lyn 65) which they've dubbed the "Winnebago Sandwich." Theirs involves house made pepper balogna, pimento cheese, tangy mayo and pickles.
We missed the caramelized edge to the meat a la the Saint Dinette preparation, but it was a standup version nonetheless. Watch for Wyn 65 downtown Minneapolis at lunch hour weekdays.
The new Viking Bar is also getting into the bologna business, but their version suffered a bit with a thick, English Muffin-style bun. The meat was also thicker-cut, but the cheese (this time Meunster), mustard, and pickles were all there.
Look for versions of the sandwich at Tamarack Tap Room with bacon and a fried egg, at Corner Table where the sits open-faced upon a square of delicate and buttery brioche and the mustard is "aioli-fied," and Haute Dish, where a brunch version is smoked and comes on a King's Hawaiian roll.