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Tops Drive-Inn Sir Loiner

From: Jack 
Sent: Monday, May 12, 2014 10:41 AM
Subject: tops sir loiner


Back in the 60’s in Bethesda Maryland there was a tops restaurant. It had a 2 decker hamburger called a sir loiner. 
The sauce was the best. I actually think it was better than the hot shoppes mighty mo

Any chance you can find this recipe, it would be great.

Thanks, Jack

Hi Jack,

Sorry, I had no success. There is lots of nostalgia for Tops Drive-Inn, which was a popular East Coast chain, particularly in Maryland and Virginia. They merged with “Gino’s” in the late 1960s. See these sites for the menu and photographs:


Open Durham

Fairfax Underground

The “Sir Loiner” is described like this on the menu:

A double deck of freshly ground sirloin of beef – grilled to perfection. Served on our special, toasted sesame seeded Sir Loiner bun, with shredded lettuce, special Tops secret sauce, tangy melted cheese and topped with a pickle slice. A treat you’ll never forget!

There are lots of requests for the secret sauce recipe on various message boards, but no one has had any success finding the recipe.

I’ll post this on my site. You can never tell when a former employee of Tops or one of founder Captain James J. “Jim” Matthews’ relatives might see the request and help us out.


Timm in Oregon found this on a message board:

"The secret sauce for the Topp's Sirloiner was commercial thousand island dressing from Kraft. The breading on the onion rings was crushed saltine crackers. My good friend in high school was the son of the owner and he worked a lot in the kitchen at the Rt50 and Lee Highway locations."


From: Brian 
Sent: Friday, May 16, 2014 8:46 AM
Subject: name origin

Dear Uncle Phaedrus,
  My question isn't food related, but it has me stumped.  Last week, I heard an elderly lady refer to her brother, 
whom she called "Mutt". I had a dear great aunt who affectionately called her husband Mutt, and there was another 
relative on a different side of my family who went by Mutt.  What is the origin of this name, is it short for something, 
or was there a movie character named "Mutt", or just where did it originate?  
Thanks so much, Brian 

Hello Brian,

According to my “Oxford Dictionary of Modern Slang,” “mutt” is a term used for a dog of uncertain lineage, or for “An ignorant, stupid, or blundering person.” This latter usage is short for “mutton-head,” meaning “a dull, stupid person.” It appears that “mutt” in this sense has been used in print since 1901, “mutton-head” since 1803, and “mutton-headed”, meaning “dull or stupid”, since 1768.

There was a popular comic strip for years called “Mutt and Jeff”, which was about two rather stupid characters, one short and one tall. As a result, “Mutt and Jeff” is often used comically to refer to a seemingly clueless pair of people of which one is short and the other is tall.

Although the term “mutt” is derogatory, it sometimes used in an affectionate way rather than an insulting one.


Soft Sub Rolls

From: Joe 
Sent: Monday, May 12, 2014 7:36 AM

Hi there, first of all thanks for all your hard work. I’ve tried to find the recipe got soft bread, 
like those of subway, Quizo’s etc. can you assist?



Hi Joe,

Been a while since I heard from you. Hope you’re well.

I had this request previously and responded here: 03-13-2006

I looked a bit again today, and the below recipe was suggested as being like Quizno’s sub rolls.


Sub Rolls

1 1/4 cups warm milk 
1 egg, beaten 
2 tablespoons butter, softened 
1/4 cup honey 
3/4 teaspoon salt 
2 3/4 cups bread flour 
1 cup wheat flour 
1 1/4 teaspoons bread machine yeast 
2 tablespoons butter, melted 

Place ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select dough cycle; press start. 
When dough cycle has finished, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out 3/4 inch thick. Cut out rolls with a 
3 to 4 inch diameter biscuit cutter. Place on lightly greased cookie sheets; cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. 
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes. 
When rolls are finished baking, brush with melted butter.

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