Simply Homemade: Taverns

Honesty time: I seriously didn’t realize no one knew what taverns were was outside of our little northeast Nebraska corner of the world until I met my husband. He hails from the city of Omaha and had never heard of this sandwich until I made it for him. After realizing this, I knew it was my duty to share this recipe with any of you who are also unfamiliar with this dish. Prepare yourselves!!!

Don’t you dare call this a sloppy joe! It is sloppy to eat but it’s a no-go on the joe 😉 This right here is tavern meat, folks! I’ll admit, my version varies from the traditional recipe I grew up eating but the only real differences are that I swap the measurements for ketchup and mustard because my kiddo isn’t a huge mustard flavor fan (yet!). I do also sometimes opt for the onion powder option as a substitute for chopped onions; don’t judge me! It saves me a little crying while chopping, speeds up the cooking time a few minutes, and save us an hour at dinner time from my kiddo picking out each minuscule onion piece she finds. I love how simple this dish is and so easy to adjust with adding your own favorite seasonings towards the end. I personally like the addition of a sprinkle of steak seasoning and chipotle roasted garlic seasoning for a little more zip but that’s just my preference.

Pro tip: turn oven onto high broil setting and place buns in for a minute or two while meat mixture finishes cooking. Toasted buns make for the best sandwiches in my humble opinion! It’s funny really, as a kid I had soo many issues with textures. I can’t decide if this signals a step in the right direction that I’m adding another crunchy texture to this dish OR if I’m just avoiding the possibility of the soggy texture bun. Either way, I love taverns with toasted buns and have a feeling you will too!

Deliciously seasoned and flavorful meat mixture, check! Toasted buns, check! Time for toppings? Oh yeah! Chips on top to add a little crunch factor + added salt and a sliced pickle for some snap…mmm, mmm, mmmmm! Next time you’re wanting a taste of small town Nebraska that reminds you of your days as a carefree kiddo eating a messy sandwich off a flimsy paper plate while wearing a white t-shirt (without a care in the world), give this recipe a whirl!


  • Servings: Approximately 8-10 sandwiches
  • Print

Flavor packed loose meat sandwich that will take your taste buds back to childhood!


-2 pounds hamburger meat

-1 can tomato soup

-1/2 onion, chopped or 1 tablespoon onion powder

-2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

-1 teaspoon chili powder

-2 tablespoons mustard

-4 tablespoons ketchup

-1/2 teaspoon salt

-1/2 teaspoon pepper

-Package of hamburger buns (optional: sliced pickles and potato chips) to serve with


1) In large skillet, brown and drain hamburger meat over medium heat.

2) Add chopped onion and sauté another 3 minutes until soft (if you have picky eaters you can substitute out this step).

3) Add all remaining ingredients and stir well then continue to cook over medium low for an additional 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4) Serve in hamburger buns with additional mustard, ketchup, potato chips, and pickles as optional toppings!

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