What is Beef Manhattan? A Comforting Roast Beef Sandwich Smothered in Gravy

Beef Manhattan is a warm, hearty sandwich loaded with tender roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy. This open-faced sandwich is also known as a hot roast beef sandwich or roast beef Manhattan. While versions differ around the country, the basic components of bread, meat and gravy remain the same. Here’s a closer look at this cozy, crave-worthy regional specialty.

A Brief History of Beef Manhattan

The beef Manhattan likely originated in the Midwestern United States as a way to use up Sunday roast leftovers. It became popular diner and local restaurant fare, especially in Indiana, Ohio and parts of Pennsylvania.

The name itself comes from New York City’s Manhattan cocktail, made with whiskey, sweet vermouth and bitters. Like the drink, the sandwich layers strong flavors in harmony.

Traditionally, beef Manhattan consists of:

  • Bread – White bread or potato rolls work well. Can be open-faced or a sandwich.

  • Roast beef – Leftover pot roast, chuck roast or other braised roast beef. Freshly sliced while still warm.

  • Mashed potatoes – Often leftover as well, adding comforting starch and soaking up the gravy.

  • Gravy – A simple brown gravy, beef gravy or jus adds moisture and ties everything together.

  • Optional extras – Some versions add sauteed onions, mushrooms or peppers for more flavor and texture. Cheese can also be added.

While roast beef is standard, the sandwich can also be made with roast pork, chicken or turkey.

How to Make Beef Manhattan at Home

Making beef Manhattan at home captures all the flavors of the diner favorite. Follow these tips:

  • Cook extra roast beef – Roast an extra pot roast or chuck roast. Refrigerate leftovers and slice meat while still warm before assembling the sandwiches.

  • Make mashed potatoes – Prepare mashed potatoes from scratch or use refrigerated leftovers. Place a scoop in the sandwich.

  • Simmer the gravy – Whip up a simple brown gravy, beef gravy or au jus to ladle generously over the sandwich components.

  • Layer it up – Build the open-faced or closed sandwiches on bread, toast or rolls. Meat, potatoes and gravy combine in perfect proportions.

  • Customize it – Add sauteed veggies, cheese, crispy onions or other favorite flavors to make it your own.

When you’re craving the hearty flavors of a diner classic without leaving home, beef Manhattan delivers. This sandwich turns humble leftovers into the ultimate comfort food.

Beef Manhattan Recipe Ideas

These beef Manhattan recipes highlight the versatility of this sandwich:

Classic Roast Beef Manhattan

  • Toasted white bread
  • Warm, sliced chuck roast
  • Mashed russet potatoes
  • Traditional brown gravy

French Onion Beef Manhattan

  • Baguette slices
  • Roast beef au jus
  • Caramelized onions
  • Gruyere cheese
  • Beef jus

Philly Cheesesteak-Style Manhattan

  • Hoagie rolls
  • Shaved ribeye
  • Sauteed peppers and onions
  • Provolone cheese
  • Beef broth gravy

BBQ Beef Manhattan

  • Potato rolls
  • Chopped brisket
  • Smoky cheddar mashed potatoes
  • BBQ sauce

Mexican Beef Manhattan

  • Telera rolls
  • Shredded barbacoa beef
  • Refried beans
  • Queso fresco
  • Chile gravy

With endless variations, beef Manhattan offers custom comfort. Try this regional favorite to savor piled-high flavors in every bite.

MANHATTAN HOTSHOT Open Faced Roast Beef Sandwich


Why is it called Beef Manhattan?

The dish was named by Naval Ordnance Plant, Indianapolis (NOPI) workers who were trained on a fabrication of the Norden bombsight in Manhattan during World War II. They enjoyed the open-faced sandwich they had in Manhattan and brought it back to their cafeteria as the “Beef Manhattan”.

What is another name for a Manhattan roast?

The Manhattan roast is cut from the longissimus dorsi muscle located within the loin primal. This lengthy muscle starts in the rib primal and extends to the round primal. The Manhattan roast is also called a top loin roast or New York Strip Roast.

What is the origin of the hot beef commercial?

The most likely origin story is that the hearty comfort-food sandwiches were traditionally made with low-quality or “commercial” grade beef. Braised slow and low like pot roast, and doused in gravy, the tougher-cut meat was rendered tender and delicious.

What is hot beef commercial?

A hot beef commercial: a piece of toast, piled high with mashed potatoes, beef and gravy, is one of my favorite childhood recipes.

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