Have You Ever Eaten a Horseshoe?

by AngelaJohnson

What would you think if you saw a Horseshoe Sandwich on a restaurant menu? It's a common item in the Springfield, Illinois area.

The Horseshoe sandwich was created in the late 1920s in Springfield, Illinois. It is made with two pieces of white toast, sliced ham on top, and covered with a large pile of french fries. Right before serving, hot cheese sauce is poured on top.

The original sandwich was served on a hot metal plate, similar to an anvil. The ham was shaped like a horseshoe and the french fries symbolized the nails.

Today there are several other meat choices, although hamburger is the most popular. There are also Horseshoes for breakfast, with choices of biscuits, toast, gravy, sausage, and of course cheese sauce.

Not everyone can finish a Horseshoe, however, so restaurant cooks created the Ponyshoe, which is half the size.

Hamburger Horseshoe from Gabitoni's Restaurant in Springfield, IL.

Photo by EvaK on Wikipedia Commons
A hamburger horseshoe from Gabitoni's Restaurant in Springfield, IL.
A hamburger horseshoe from Gabitoni's Restaurant in Springfield, IL.

Illinois Horseshoe Meal

Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives - Food Network

How to Make a White Cheese Sauce


2 Tablespoons butter

2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/4 Teaspoon salt

1/8 Teaspoon white pepper

1 Cup milk

1 Cup white cheddar cheese, shredded

In a medium saucepan, melt butter and stir in flour to make a roux.  Stir in milk, salt, and pepper.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until sauce thickens.  Add cheese and cook just until melted, stirring occasionally.

The Breakfast Shoe


breakfast shoeOne morning I stopped at a local restaurant in a small town outside Springfield, Illinois, and saw a Breakfast Shoe on the menu.  Of course, I wanted to try it. 

When the waitress took my order, I had a choice of:

~ sausage or ham (I chose sausage)

~ gravy, cheese sauce, or both (I chose both)

~ toast or biscuits (I chose biscuits). 

I chose to have my eggs scrambled and hash browned potatoes were also included. 

I took a photo before I started eating.  As you can see, everything is stacked onto the plate (including the hash browns) and then the gravy and cheese sauce covers everything.  It was a huge breakfast, not nutritional at all, but tasty and filling.  I didn't need lunch that day.

Finding Regional and Local Food Dishes

Country road

When I travel, I love driving through small towns and down country roads. I like to discover restaurants that are not part of a national chain.

Sometimes restaurants are on the main street that goes through a town, but others may be out in the country in a location convenient for local farmers or ranchers. 

I'll often stop at a gas station, town library, or store to ask if there's a good restaurant.  I've always found people friendly and even suggesting what's good on the menu.

If I see something on the menu I've never tried before, I'll order it.  I often carry a small digital camera with me to take a photo of my food (like the one above for the breakfast shoe).  

Besides loving to try new foods, I also love to read cookbooks - yes, I said read cookbooks.  I like to buy local and regional cookbooks, especially if they include  information about the area, and plenty of trivia and photographs.

I've bought several cookbooks at restaurants.  Sometimes the restaurant will produce its own cookbook, but sometimes it might have cookbooks that local organizations put together for fundraisers.


Cooking and Recipes From the Shenandoah Valley

Both a Geographic Valley and Cultural Region
Mrs. Rowe's Restaurant Cookbook: A Li...
$5.13  $16.01
Smokehouse Ham, Spoon Bread, & Scuppe...
$19.94  $29.95
The Foxfire Book of Appalachian Cookery
$37.65  $37.62

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Updated: 04/09/2023, AngelaJohnson
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Marilyn on 08/21/2014

I like all of the ingredients, but not sure I'd like all of the ingredients together.

Mira on 02/11/2013

I didn't know about these regional foods. I, too, enjoy the eating part when I travel. :)

katiem2 on 08/23/2012

Very Nice, I'm originally from Chicago. Love Illinois! I can imagine many people enjoying and even becoming addicted to the amazing horseshoe sandwich. :)K

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