Boo-Hiss Award — Denny’s “Midwestern Meat & Potatoes Sandwich”

by Katy on July 11, 2012 · 31 comments

It’s been awhile since I’ve presented any Boo-Hiss Awards, but Denny’s obscene new Midwestern Meat & Potatoes Sandwich from their Tour of America Menu has brought me out of retirement.


It turns out that “Grilled prime rib and wavy-cut French fries smothered in brown gravy topped with melted Swiss and American cheeses and mayo. Served on a Cheddar bun with a side of mashed potatoes and gravy” weighs in at 1030 calories and 51 grams of fat.

Because when you serve fatty meat with french fries, two types of cheese, mayonnaise and gravy on a cheese-crusted white bread bun, the calories and fat tend to add up. And the mashed potatoes and gravy on the side aren’t exactly balancing the meal out.

As the daughter of a midwestern Nebraskan, I’m kind of offended. We Americans are trying to fight the stereotype that our diets consist of this kind of over the top and ridiculous heart-attack-on-a-bun cuisine. It’s no surprise that this kind of food is on the Denny’s menu, but that this found its way onto their new “Tour of America” is what gets under my skin.

So Boo-Hiss to you, Denny’s!

Am I the only one suddenly craving a fresh veggie salad?

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Jan July 12, 2012 at 2:36 am

Yuck! Really! This doesn’t sound appetizing in any way! American, my foot!


Heather July 12, 2012 at 3:07 am

What cracks me up is the side of mashed potatoes and gravy. Can you say food coma? As a fellow Nebraska daughter, I too crave a bit of green after looking at that.


Lori from Michigan July 12, 2012 at 3:21 am

Blech… that looks absolutely repulsive.


Laure from Illinois July 12, 2012 at 5:02 am

Yuck! There’s nothing classic Midwestern about that, and I think the name is insulting to the whole Midwest! There’s plenty of great food — and much more imaginative than that — that comes out of the Midwest.


ArdenLynn July 12, 2012 at 5:27 am

They offer it, you don’t buy it. Problem solved. I would much rather have it that way than have to go to another state to buy a Big Gulp.


Laure from Illinois July 13, 2012 at 4:28 am

I agree with this wholeheartedly, and don’t find it in conflict with my previous post. I love that they have the freedom to offer it, and I have the freedom to say “yuck”. Also, I love that any pressure on them comes from us (potential customers) saying yuck, rather than government regulation.


Angela July 12, 2012 at 6:21 am

Well, I’m definitely not into policing what people eat. While it doesn’t look appetizing to me, if I did order it, it would most likely be the only thing I would eat that day because it’s huge! So what’s 1,030 calories a day when the average person consumes between 2,000-2,500 calories a day. When I eat out I consider it a treat, so I’ll order things I don’t typically indulge in. It’s nobody’s business what I eat and nobody pays my doctor bills but me.


Jennifer Nash July 12, 2012 at 6:39 am

Blech! I would call that a heart attack on a bun. Admittedly, my Philly Cheesesteak-loving husband would drool all over it. You know, Denny’s wouldn’t make it if people wouldn’t order it. I agree with Angela, people should take personal responsibility for what the put in their own bodies. But they couldn’t have added a side of broccoli? Because french fries AND mashed potatoes is a bit redundant.


Pollyanna July 13, 2012 at 9:31 am

Totally agree!!


Elle July 12, 2012 at 6:51 am

Angela- I care what you eat. Because if you require more medical care, yes, your insurance will cover it, but then MY premiums go up because the insurance company has to cover your doctor bills somehow. That’s the premise of insurance – spread the risk, spread the costs.
But honestly, if everyone only OCCASIONALLY ate out and DIDN’T typically indulge in this type of food it wouldn’t matter, because occasional treats are perfectly fine. In reality though, I think many people eat crap like this way too often. I wish society made healthier decisions. *sigh

Does anyone in the Midwest actually eat a sandwich like this? I’ve lived in the Midwest my entire life and have never seen a “sandwich” like this in anyone’s home.


Angela July 12, 2012 at 9:24 am

Um, ok. Except we pay cash for our medical. Yes, CASH.


Elle July 12, 2012 at 9:42 am

That’s awesome, not many people pay straight cash. Sorry about that insurance assumption.


Kristen | The Frugal Girl July 12, 2012 at 12:27 pm

I’m in the occasional group, so when I eat out, I don’t worry a whole lot about the nutrition of what I’m eating. If I feel like a greasy burger, I eat a greasy burger. If I feel like sushi, I eat sushi.

But that works for me because the majority of the time, I eat mostly-from-scratch meals that I cook at home.

If I ate out all the time, I’d think a lot harder about the nutrition of what I order.


Yankeegal July 12, 2012 at 10:30 am

I think it is gross as well, but agree that I want the option to buy it or not.


Sharon July 12, 2012 at 10:51 am

Holy crap! It’s like a car accident. You don’t want to look but you can’t make yourself turn away! It’s amazing what passes for food in some restaurants these days. The scarey part is I bet it’s disgustingly delicious!! Don’t worry…it’s not just Americans who serve up “heart attack” cuisine. As a Canadian I’m still trying to understand why someone thought “poutine” was a good idea?! French fries smoothered in gravy and melted cheese. There’s a restaurant in Montreal that makes 25 different varieties of poutine. …How we love to torture ourselves!!


Robin July 12, 2012 at 3:49 pm

I think poutine is DELICIOUS! Not every day but as an occasional treat….


Katy July 12, 2012 at 10:17 pm

I’ve tried it, and the sogginess is not palatable.



Lindsey July 12, 2012 at 11:10 am

I’d rather eat the equivalent in chocolate.


Renee CA July 12, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Or ice cream.


Kristen | The Frugal Girl July 12, 2012 at 12:28 pm

Or something that’s a combo of fat, sugar, and flour…like a nice, chewy homemade bar. That’s where I’d like to spend my calories if I’m going to splurge!


Trish July 12, 2012 at 1:25 pm

It kinda does look like something I might be tempted by after a day working outside in cold weather. But I really like to stick to my healthy eating habits

It does kinda scream all American tho. I live in small town Illinois and there’s a restaurant in town that literally doesn’t serve anything healthy – an iceberg lettuce salad is as close as they come. and springfield, our state’s capital, has some kind of sandwich called the horseshoe that is something like that one. I have found it very difficult to get healthy food in my area. oh, how I long to live in the Tuscan or Provoncel countryside, possibly with George Clooney as my neighbor!


Kate in NY July 12, 2012 at 3:06 pm

I live outside NYC, where Mayor Bloomberg’s nutritionist zeal has ruffled a few feathers – – – I don’t mind the mayor generally, but really – please do not tell me I “cannot” buy a big soda (not that I even drink soda, but that new law gives me the urge to drink vats and vats!) ON THE OTHER HAND . . . we have a pretty “enormous” problem here in America, and it’s growing. This flagrantly unhealthy Denny’s sandwich just about sums it all up. As long as we Americans practically take PRIDE in our ginormous servings, and as long as we get all snarky at efforts to get Americans to eat healthily – as if they somehow violate our civil rights – as if they are anti-American and even somewhat FRENCH (God forbid) – then sadly, we are just going to keep growing. (I think that was the longest sentence ever!) It might be our right to eat this kind of sandwich, but how depressing.


AnnW July 12, 2012 at 3:35 pm

I can’t believe some people believe it is all right to eat stuff like that. 51 grams of fat at 9 calories a gram is 459 calories worth of fat. Almost 50 % fat. But that’s okay, because you just have to limp along until Medicare then the rest of us will pay for your heart disease. After shepherding two parents through Medicare I am amazed it is still solvent. My mother had bad arthritis in her hands. Dip them in a wax bath, call it Occupational Therapy and bill $120. Shameful. The cheapest of all was bedside visits by a podiatrist. Trimming toe nails was $48. If they made an appointment with the visiting podiatrist at the nursing home “headquarters” on the same campus, charge Medicare $125. The suppliers are making fortunes.


Laure from Illinois July 13, 2012 at 4:34 am

I thought about commenting about the “horseshoe” that Trish mentioned. A horseshoe is a combination of a burger (no top bun) and cheese fries. It’s a bottom bun (or piece of bread), a burger, fries on top of that, and cheese on top of that. So I guess it could be seen as a combo of a cheeseburger and a fries, just presented differently. A smaller version is called a “ponyshoe”. This Denny’s concoction seems twice as big and twice as many calories (2 cheeses? mayo? top bun? extra potatoes). A horseshoe is eaten with a knife and fork.


Trish July 13, 2012 at 2:38 pm

yeah, wouldn’t it be great if our famous regional food concoctions were caprese salad, or pesto, or tapenade, all healthy and delicious. But no, we get something kinda gross that will shorten your life!


Trisha July 13, 2012 at 6:12 am

Mmm… salad!


AnnDenee July 13, 2012 at 7:58 am

There is an eye-opening book called “The Unsatiable American Diet” or something very close to that which talks about foods like this. Restaurants have learned if they want to increase the desirability of a dish, add bacon…. or cheese… or BOTH!

The marketed american diet is a balance of salt, fat and sugar. This dish is full of all 3!!


Trish July 13, 2012 at 2:46 pm

a family member, who I truly adore, made a dip that was comprised entirely of things coming out of cans or packets. It was incredibly addictive, and had that balance you mentioned of salt and fat, probably sugar in there somewhere. I do wonder sometimes how the American diet got so bad. How did we get so hooked on unhealthy food? Maybe it has something to do with the difficulty and stress in our lives, and the food that makes up the american diet does tend to offer lots of instant gratification.

My husband grew up on a farm in Indiana, and they ate relatively healthy, although his mom did fry a lot of things. But the majority of his family now have a really unhealthy diet -the food at the last family get together was pretty unhealthy. I had the lone veg offering, and it was ignored.


Kate in NY July 13, 2012 at 3:15 pm

How did the American diet get so bad? There is a great book by David Kessler that addresses this – it’s called “The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite” – I wonder if this is the book the poster above is writing about. Here’s the blurb from Amazon:

“Dr. David A. Kessler, the dynamic and controversial former FDA commissioner known for his crusade against the tobacco industry, is taking on another business that’s making Americans sick: the food industry. In The End of Overeating, Dr. Kessler shows us how our brain chemistry has been hijacked by the foods we most love to eat: those that contain stimulating combinations of fat, sugar, and salt.

Drawn from the latest brain science as well as interviews with top physicians and food industry insiders, The End of Overeating exposes the food industry’s aggressive marketing tactics and reveals shocking facts about how we lost control over food—and what we can do to get it back. ”

I wonder, too, if the current problem in the US also has something to do with the dismal economy. People feel (and are) poorer – so the allure of eating a BIG meal for relatively little money might be particularly strong right now. Although I’m not sure this is how they are dealing with the wretched economy in Spain, Greece and France. Cheap wine, maybe?


Valerie Heck Esmont July 14, 2012 at 11:05 am

The sandwich doesn’t appeal to me at all. I always thought instead of nutrition labels they should put a mirror on the wrapper of the sandwich. That way you truly realize you are what you eat. That would turn me off. Me and my crazy ideas!


Kris-ND July 20, 2012 at 3:30 pm

I admit, sitting here waiting for dinner to finish, I looked at that and thought……………Must. Have. It 😉

I am trying to figure out how many days of my weight watchers points I would use to eat


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