Back in 2010, season two of Doug Marrone's career as a college football head coach, Syracuse fans first became aware of the sacred "bologna and cheese sandwich (with four Gatorades)" meal on Marrone's post-game, at-home menu. Since then, countless variations on the classic bologna and cheese have been devoured in celebration of the man who carries the aspirations of the Orange gridiron faithful on his broad shoulders (and tree-trunk thighs).
In building the Ultimate Marrone Sandwich, the challenge is to ensure that every ingredient originates from a local Syracuse-area source in order to construct the Cuse-iest bologna and cheese sandwich possible. It can be hot off the grill or frying pan, or fresh out of the fridge. This presents not only an opportunity to pimp your favorite Salt City-area bakeries, cheese makers, bologna artisans and condiment masters, but also to create a mouth-watering recipe that is Syracuse-centric enough to earn the title 'Ultimate Marrone'.
There are five main ingredients in each sandwich. A short, incomplete list of Syracuse-based companies that produce each particular ingredient is included below, so feel free to add your own recommendations on sourcing the ingredients to build the Ultimate Marrone.
Bread is the foundation of every sandwich so one must choose wisely...but what type of bread makes the cut for the Ultimate Marrone? Italian, wheat, rye, french, white, pumpernickel or otherwise? Are we talking sliced bread or sandwich rolls?
Green Hills Farms market on Salina Street has been baking and selling bread in-house for more than 42 years. Green Hills market itself has been in existence for more than three quarters of a century, and is well-known for its wide range of products from local farms and businesses.
New York Bakery on Lakeside is celebrating 55 years of slingin' dough for over three generations in the capable hands of the Christou family. Last summer, air travelers passing through Hancock International Airport began buying New York Bakery breads and rolls at the new Gateway Cafe'.
Columbus Baking Company has been pumping out old school Italian bread from the same Pearl Street bakery for over one hundred and fifteen years. Do yourself a favor and check out "A Neighborhood Staple," a warm-hearted 2:17 video profile of the Columbus Baking Company from the talented Andrew Hida.
Americans eat 800 million pounds of bologna each year, prompting many experts to conclude that bologna is delicious. It is a delicacy known by many names, including bologna, boloney, baloney, polony (in the UK), and in the Pittsburgh area, jumbo (although it's unclear if Steel City natives also describe a dishonest person as being 'full of jumbo").
Liehs & Steigerwald has called Grant Boulevard on the North side home for 75 years. The shop has a tradition in which kids enjoy a free chunk of bologna while their parents peruse the more than 35 types of sausages that are made in-house, including their German bologna, available sliced or in rings.
In 1861, the American Civil War began, and German butcher Frank W. Hofmann opened a meat market in his new hometown of Syracuse. 150 years later, Hofmann Sausage has become a Syracuse icon, and they offer their German bologna in both 1 pound and 7 pound chunks, as well as in the classic bologna ring style.
Central New York is Dairy Country, which means that within a short afternoon drive in almost any direction out of Syracuse, you'll see cows. Fresh Cuse-y cheese is a required adornment of any Marrone sandwich.
The name "Byrne Dairy" is deeply ingrained in the hearts, minds and DNA of Syracuse and CNY residents, and has been for decades. Founded in 1933, Byrne's product line includes both sharp and extra sharp cheddar, as well as pepper jack and Monterrey jack cheeses, thanks to their roster of local dairy farms.
At the CNY Regional Market in Syracuse, cheese products from a number of area cheese-makers are available. Open year round on Saturdays (and Thursdays from May to November), cheese geeks can get their fix at the Farmers' Market on Park Street.
What's a bologna and cheese sandwich without the condiments? An incomplete bologna and cheese sandwich, that's what. Are there locally produced condiments that can be used in building the Ultimate Marrone? You bet your sweet Orange fanny there are.
If you plan to barbeque your bologna on the grill (and why wouldn't you?), you might look to Cuse's legendary Dinosaur Bar-B-Que for a hand. Dino offers a slew of barbeque sauces and rubs that have made their original Syracuse restaurant (as well as their other locations) a household name in barbeque goodness.
Another local bologna-maker, Liehs & Steigerwald, is in the condiment business, too. They offer horseradish mustard along with their own barbeque sauces and rubs.
Granted, you'd be hard-pressed to find locally-grown bottles of Gatorade in the 'Cuse, although the famous sports drink might be bottled at Pepsi Bottling Group off of Carrier Circle. Additionally, there's no way to infuse even a large sandwich with four 12-ounce thirst-quenching Gatorades. Still, this sacred nectar of fully hydrated Orange greatness can be lightly and ceremonially sprinkled (not unlike a sugary, electrolyte-charged, neon-hued holy water) into said sandwich, either via a few drops applied to the bread, or a smidge mixed into locally-sourced condiments.
Naturally, orange Gatorade should be the top choice. And certainly, it should be purchased at your favorite convenience store or market in all of Syracuse, whether it's the SU-themed Tops Market or elsewhere.
"We gotta EAT...NOW!"
After deciding upon a recipe, it's time to gather ingredients, create and consume your Ultimate Marrone.
Better yet, if you are inspired to prepare and serve your Ultimate Marrone at an actual SU Football tailgate, you will go down in history as one of the great culinary minds in all of Orange Nation.
"This is OUR state, OUR town, OUR team, OUR bologna, OUR cheese, and we gotta EAT...NOW!"