The bologna sandwich is to the Midwest what the Cuban sandwich is to South Florida — a regional specialty. Across the Heartland, the sausage is less boring deli meat and more a source of pride, the bologna (not boloney) often smoked and prepared by local markets, and served on sandwiches at lunch counters or small family establishments from Minnesota to Missouri.
While most of us grew up eating ham and cheese or peanut butter and jelly, Knucklehead Burger's Michal Amedia says she grew up eating one of her father's signature dishes, the fried bologna sandwich. The most common method of preparation in their Ohio home: a red eye, made by combining thick slabs of fried bologna jammed between toasted and buttered bread with melted American cheese and a fried egg.
Today, Amedia's home state is often considered the epicenter for the such fried bologna sandwiches, and restaurants across the state serve up versions often consisting of a single, puck-sized cut of bologna that's griddled until crispy around the edges, layered with cheese, raw onion, and sweet pickle slices.
Here, in South Florida, Frank Amedia — Michal's father as well as the concept creator behind Knucklehead Burgers in Davie — has put his own specialty on the menu. At Knucklehead, the Mahoney's Baloney sandwich (so named for the county in Ohio from which the Amedia family hails) is one of several served at the fast-casual restaurant specializing in Midwestern-style comfort fare including hot chips, hot dogs, and burgers.
For its sandwich, the restaurant serves only premium Boar's Head bologna, sliced thick and seared on a flattop, the salty-sweet sausage's fine-textured grain frying up red and splotchy. Locally-baked Texas Toast is buttered and toasted before adding the finishing touches — a perfectly fried egg smothered in cheese.
"It's the type of food we missed eating at home," says Michel. "It's our family's version of nostalgic, comfort food at its best."
Nicole Danna is a food writer covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on the New Times Food & Drink Instagram.