Forty years before the invention of the clubhouse sandwich, Saratoga Springs, NY, was the birthplace of the potato chip. In 1853, George Crum, a Native American cook at Moon’s Lake House, was trying to please an unhappy customer, sliced some potatoes thin, fried them, dusted them with salt, and an American icon was born. For several decades after that auspicious beginning, the salty snack was known across the land as “Saratoga Chips”.
John Morrissey, a gambler, bare-knuckled prize fighter, and eventually casino owner and US congressman, started several concerns the Saratoga Springs area in the late 1800s, including gambling houses that were playgrounds of the rich and famous. His most renowned bout was against heavyweight champ Yankee Sullivan, which went 37 rounds, with both pugilists being beat to a pulp. Sullivan left the ring thinking he had won, but was disqualified.
As with many great inventions, the sandwich was created by accident; a late night diner at one of Morrisey’s clubs knew he wanted toast, but didn’t know what he wanted to accompany it. The chef put together some odds and ends that were remaining in the kitchen, mayo, ham, cold bacon, some chicken, and tomato, and created the three layer delicacy we know and love today.
The recipe ‘generally’ calls for three pieces of toast, and some combination/layers of cooked poultry, ham/bacon, lettuce, tomato, and mayo. The oldest known recipe for the sandwich appears in a cookbook put out by Good Housekeeping in 1903. The following year, the sandwich grew in fame after being served in four different restaurants at the St. Louis World’s Fair.
Today, you can find club sandwiches on many menus, but it takes a dedicated restaurant to make a great one, and having enjoyed this sandwich all over the world, I can say Around the Clock‘s in Crystal Lake is one of the best.
For nearly four decades, Around the Clock has been serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, from very early to very late in the day, and pumping out great pastries and pies from its in-house bakery as well.
Service is prompt and cordial. I ordered my clubhouse “deluxe”, which is a $1.99 add-on that affords you a cup of soup, and choice of sides which include fries, onion rings, or a fruit cup. On it’s own, the sandwich is served with a crispy dill spear.
Around the Clock follows a very traditional recipe, using three layers of white toast, lettuce, tomato, mayo, bacon, ham, and roasted turkey. While I have been known to choke down a club made with “pressed, chopped, and formed” turkey slices if forced, such is not the case at Around the Clock, where the fresh-roasted turkey slices are thick, moist, and can take you to Thanksgiving with every bite. Vegetables were fresh and crisp, and the sandwich is pleasingly plated.
My soup choice, was French Onion, and again, the restaurant follows a very traditional recipe with croutons bubbling in the dark rich broth, which is topped by a thick cap of broiled cheese. An exceptional soup.
Prices provide a great value no matter which meal of the day you chose. The breakfast menu provides for some very over-sized options, perfect to get you started on wintry Iillinois mornings.
If you don’t feel like a full meal, Around the Clock is a great place to stop for a coffee (their’s is really good) and a piece of pie. Or order a pie to pick up and take home, you can do that online, and choose from over a dozen varieties.
Menus are online.
Around the Clock Reviews