Indiana's tourism agency is spotlighting 46 regionally popular sandwiches — including several that feature tenderloin, a Hoosier favorite, and a cheeseburger slathered in peanut butter — for a competition tied to the Super Bowl that aims to find the state's tastiest sandwich. The Super 46 Sandwiches competition aims to highlight dining options across Indiana that could appeal to Super Bowl fans looking for local specialties.
The Indiana Office of Tourism Development produced a limited-edition guide of the 46 sandwiches in partnership with Indianapolis's Super Bowl host committee and Indianapolis Monthly magazine.
"This is a unique opportunity to showcase some of the many local businesses that serve up great food and trademark Hoosier hospitality," said Amy Vaughan, the tourism office's director. Indiana residents and visitors can vote online at Super46.com for their favorites among the sandwiches. The field will be narrowed each week as sandwiches go head-to-head based on public input.
The winning sandwich will be announced in early February before the big game on Feb. 5. The sandwich guide identifies each sandwich, restaurant, price point and distance from Lucas Oil Stadium, the Super Bowl venue. Different symbols indicate whether a restaurant is 21 and over, has a kids menu, uses local ingredients or has been featured on national television.
Five of the sandwiches have found fame on shows like "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives," ''Man vs. Food" or "The Best Thing I Ever Ate." The 46 candidates include Indiana favorites such as the Reuben at Shapiro's Delicatessen in Indianapolis, the Bratwurst at the Schnitzelbank in Jasper and the Tom Crean & Crimson Burger at Opie Taylor's in Bloomington. There's also a who's who of tenderloins — a Hoosier classic — including the Schweinefilet sandwich served up at the Gerst Bavarian Haus in Evansville.
Gerst Haus manager Cindy Reitz said the honored dish is "pretty much just a pork tenderloin sandwich," but quickly noted it's also her personal favorite. Though diners can choose a grilled version of the Schweinefilet, it's meant to be fried, Reitz said.
"This is the west side of Evansville," she said. "You've got to get it fried."
The list also includes a hamburger named after a 1930s Purdue University football player — the Duane Purvis. It's a quarter-pound ground sirloin cheeseburger served on a toasted sesame seed bun with a thick dollop of peanut butter. Legend has it Purvis suggested the peanut butter schmear during a visit to the West Lafayette restaurant.
Greg Ehresman, who owns the 83-year-old Triple XXX Family Restaurant with his wife, Carrie, said they're delighted to be part of the competition.
"We feel honored and absolutely flattered to even be thought of," Ehresman told the Journal & Courier. "To even be part of all the Super Bowl stuff is a once-in-a-lifetime shot. We're happy as can be."